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DIY surveyors transit

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by RustyShackleford, Mar 9, 2011.

  1. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    Is this verifiable by data, or is the "error" like a scatter along the actual line, as readings are taken along the "line.," some readings on one side and some on the other, and maybe some actually on the line.

    I usually can get reliably 8' +/-, sometimes a little better. I've staked the reading points and then "sight-averaged" between the various stakes to get what I thought might be quite close to the actual line.

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  2. WhitePine

    WhitePine Feeling the Heat

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    I don't remember how many it saw and there are no leaves at the moment to check. I do remember it typically could find a

    waypoint within 10 to 15 feet of its actual location. Here's a link to the model I have.

    http://www.amazon.com/Garmin-GPSMAP...2?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1299778725&sr=1-2
  3. RustyShackleford

    RustyShackleford Minister of Fire

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    Maybe I don't exactly understand you, but ... What's on the ground is the irons I have found and intend to clear and flag a line in-between. As far as "what is thought", the main thing I have is the neighbor's deed. The line in question is my southern line and his northern. The piece logged in (likely) error is a pie-shaped slice, 900ft long (the length of our common line), zero feet wide at my SW corner, and 60ft wide at my SE corner (which is his NE corner). I'm pretty sure this was due to the loggers finding a well-marked iron that is 60ft north of my SE corner, along my eastern property line; it marks the junction of two lots to the east of us. This is not surprising, as I only located my true SE corner recently, and it was not flagged at all and pretty much flush with the ground. The reason I'm pretty sure it's right is that it is the correct distance (60ft) from the iron they apparently used, as it is shown on my plat. More importantly, I located my neighbors SE iron, and measured (fairly carefully, with a cloth tape, so I'd venture to say only a few feet error) the distance from his SE corner to what I believe is my true SE corner; it agreed very closely to the length of his eastern line as shown on his deed. If anyone thought that the other iron (the one 60ft north of what I call my true SE corner) was his, then the distance I measured would have been 60ft less than what is shown on his deed; it was not. Make sense ?

    Again, I think I'm past the statute of limitations, so I imagine this is pointless. I DID check the deed for the timber easement, and it says nothing about the owner being responsible for the boundaries.

    All ths GPS discussion is interesting, but sounds like a lot of trouble and expense. I am getting fairly interested in the idea of using a helium balloon though. THis outfit:

    http://www.dealersupplyshop.com/55-Cloudbuster-Chloroprene-Balloon_p_350.html

    ... has a 5+ foot diameter balloon. I calculate about 4lb buoyancy. Should be plenty to lift 100-150ft of mason's twine (should be strong enough and the 12oz weight of the balloon). Gotta see if I can get it inflated locally. The total cost should be only $50 or so and it sounds like a barrel of fun, and I get to keep the balloon ...
  4. RustyShackleford

    RustyShackleford Minister of Fire

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    What is a metal T post ?
  5. midwestcoast

    midwestcoast Minister of Fire

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    Nope, that's for handheld units. Trimble GeoXH is one I've used and got consistant sub-foot accuracy: http://www.trimble.com/mappingGIS/geoxh6000.aspx?dtID=applications&
    Technology sure is evolving fast. Even with just handhelds if you have post-processing software you can get down near or under an inch I think, but not real-time. RTK set-ups with base stations tied in to a USGS monument can get you down to fractions of an inch real time and are way too complicated to just rent & start using. I've only used them once and spent several hours on the phone with tech support working through problems in rental units. We were working on a cool project to develop the ability to detect, map and catagorize unexploded ordinance using aerial equipment so a few inches here or there was pretty imortant to the guys out there with shovels :)

    All that said trees still affect precision and I agree GPS is not the best option here. The baloon looks like way more fun. And easier.
  6. WhitePine

    WhitePine Feeling the Heat

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    My suggestion was related to future logging activities, not past events. You indicated the main reason for your efforts was to keep the loggers off of your property in the future.

    "This is to help the loggers who have the timber easement on the neighboring property to not trespass on my property again - but that’s a whole ‘nother story"

    Finding out what their legal responsibilities are regarding logging near a boundary line, if any, would be an important step. NC rules in that regard probably would not appear in the easement.
  7. WhitePine

    WhitePine Feeling the Heat

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    Those are the metal posts that are commonly used with barbed wire and some other wire fences. They are T shaped in section, hence the name.
  8. RustyShackleford

    RustyShackleford Minister of Fire

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    Gotcha. Thanks. The easement DOES state that logging shall be done in accordance with North Carolina Forestry Service Best Practices Guidelines for Water Quality; I can't find it online, except for the Table of Contents, but it doesn't appear to address this issue. I suppose if there WERE such a restriction, it might apply to my line-clearing activities, but it's hard to believe a surveyor doesn't have the right to clear line.
  9. RustyShackleford

    RustyShackleford Minister of Fire

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    Yeah, and cheaper even than I indicated in my last mention of this. Calling places to inflate that big balloon, turns out I can buy a 3-ft diameter balloon, filled, for $10, about a 10min drive from my place. My ciphering says the thing will have about a pound of buoyancy (not counting the balloon's weight). I've got a new roll of mason's line that weighs less that 4oz and is 325-ft long and is plenty strong. So I figure since I only need 100-150 feet of elevation, I'm under 2oz for the tether, so probably good to go. If not, I go buy a second balloon. I guess I'm ok with aviation stuff; I know aircraft are generally required to fly a minimum of 500 feet AGL (above ground level) except near airports (duh).
  10. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    Seems like it would have to be dead calm for this to work well. What are the chances of that happening at the same time you're able to and willing to go out and survey?
  11. RustyShackleford

    RustyShackleford Minister of Fire

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    Well, not DEAD calm, I should be able to eyeball, from the angle of the twine, how far the thing has drifted.
    But you're right, it needs to be pretty damn calm. I'm not working right now, so I can pretty much cherry-pick
    when to do it, and with wunderground.com's detailed forecasts I can be pretty confident that it'll be calm for the
    next two hours if they say it will be ... Or get up at the crack of dawn the next day, winds are almost always
    calm then, barring a front coming through.
  12. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    Let us know how it goes. I need to define our property boundaries too and I have some big trees to work around.
  13. peakbagger

    peakbagger Minister of Fire

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    Its great that you are going to give the ballon a try. If you know how high it is (length of masons twine) and can determine the angle of the string (a couple of peices of wood and a protractor or an angle finder) when the wind is drifitng it, you can do some elementary math and figure out how to compensate for the drift. Of course if the wind is drifting it at an angle to the property line other than 90 degrees it requires a bit more calculating.

    I dont have access to the old survey notes anymore so I dont know how they got around the wind but they did survey several miles of right of way in hardwoods using this method to get the initial clearing done.

    Sounds like a fun experiment no matter what the outcome.
  14. RustyShackleford

    RustyShackleford Minister of Fire

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    The property line is due E/W, which is close to the prevailing wind direction, so maybe the N-S component of the wind vector will be minimal. Of course, the string might very well be curved, if the wind velocity is not constant along its height, which is pretty likely.
    No doubt !
  15. RustyShackleford

    RustyShackleford Minister of Fire

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    Update (I know folks are just dying to hear :) ) today I cleared enough that there's now a tree, about halfway along the 900 foot line, that I can see from both corners. Tomorrow I'll take the home-made transit out there and see if I get the same bearing (modulo-180 degrees) to the tree from both corners. If I do, and since I think the transit is better than 1-degree of precision, for 400-500ft (the distance from each corner to the tree), that means the tree is within 8ft or so of the line.

    P.S. In case anyone was wondering how I got 8ft, it's helpful to think of angles in terms of "radians"; there are 2*pi radians in a circle. So a radian is about 57 degrees. So a 1-degree error gives an error of about 8 feet at 400-500ft away (dividing 450 by 57).
  16. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    Surveys are just opinions and opinions can change. New surveys often vary from the old one. My property is a half mile long, 300 foot wide strip taken from a quarter section. The original quarter section survey line was where the fence was put but the most recent (25 year old) survey put the fence in the wrong spot. When I bought the property the survey line had grown in but I was able to locate the "stubble" and blaze marks and opened back up enough of it to satisfy the building inspector that my house was being built with the required clearances. At first the bank was insisting on a new survey. I asked the reason and they cited that they wanted assurance the house was not encroaching throwing the value in jeopardy. I argued that I satisfied the building inspector and they accepted it.

    I managed to locate two steel pegs on the West side but both pegs had been knocked out of place by ditch dredging and so could not rely on them for DIY surveying. THey were close enough however to locate the old survey. Following the stubble on one line a half mile back, I located a third undisturbed steel peg. The fourth should be easy to find and those two could be used for a DIY survey.

    I am concerned that some day the adjacent land will be logged. My plan is to make a trade with the logger cut me a wide berth near my house and take the equivalent from the back half.
  17. RustyShackleford

    RustyShackleford Minister of Fire

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    Winds 2mph Thurs afternoon, and more or less parallel to the lot-line. We could have a "go" on the balloon, Houston !
  18. pyper

    pyper New Member

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    On occasion I have left the laptop running in the car while I leave the car parked for a long time. When I get back, I notice that the GPS has left a trail of loops. Most of the loops are fairly small, and centered on one point, but a few of the loops are pretty large.

    Since what I do doesn't depend on the GPS to be more accurate than determining what block I'm on, I've never bothered to try to determine the size of the loops.

    So I guess over a short period of time it would probably be pretty accurate for relative measurements, but those occasional long loops would definitely want to make me do a few passes to see if I go the same answer.

    One time I had in mind using GPS to do a poor man's topo, but when I took the thing out in the field and started watching the elevation, it never stopped moving up and down!
  19. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    If you can find one good corner, that along with your metes & bounds property description, Google Earth, and a higher quality handheld GPS, might get you quite close to your boundaries. If you use Google Earth, check the date of the photos, because I believe the newer ones are more accurate than the older ones. My area has 2009 photos. A corner of our property has a quarter corner "plugged" into the pavement of the highway on the section line. I took the GPS coordinates at that point, entered those into Google Earth, and Google Earth located the corner as close as the eye could see to its actual physical location. From that known point and some surveys which located other lines, I was able to accurately map our entire property.
  20. RustyShackleford

    RustyShackleford Minister of Fire

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    You must not have read the whole thread (NOT that I blame you). But I know exactly where all my corners are, as I have located all the irons (or "monuments"). My problem is simply clearing and flagging a line between two of them. Unfortunately, it is the longest line on my property, at just under 900ft, and since my jerkwad neighbor logged into my property years ago, it is overgrown with lots of saplings, honey suckle, and briars. Oh well, at least no poison ivy to speak of, count my blessings ...
  21. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    When I mentioned a "good corner," I didn't necessarily mean your monuments or irons. If you didn't have a jerkwad neighbor, everything could be a lot easier. One very good thing to do in a rural area is to agree with the neighbors on the boundary lines, hopefully as found by your parcel monuments, and then clear and maintain the line sufficiently so that no one, intentionally or not, can alter the boundary lines in the future.

    This might vary at different places around the country, but in our area a survey does not start with the parcel monuments, instead that's where it ends. What I meant by a "good corner" is that the survey starts from an established section corner monument or other government placed monument (in either case other identifying criteria also need to be met before even that monument is accepted as valid), and then the surveyor does (perhaps repeats) the survey work to locate (re-locate) the corners of the parcel in question. If all works well, this survey work will show "found monuments," including hopefully your corners, where they are supposed to be, and "placed monuments," those newly placed by the surveyor. The survey also will show where monuments were supposed to be but cannot be found, maybe those intentionally moved by someone or disturbed unknowingly. MN law requires surveyors to file their surveys with the county surveyor so that they are available to the public. Our county also is actively locating or relocating section corners throughout the county, which is expensive and therefore a slow process. Those section corners are invaluable for a variety of purposes.

    Near where I live there are two quarter section monuments under the pavement of a state highway, and the pavement is bored through to mark where these monuments are. We also have one other marker of some sort located in a field near the highway which I think is used by satellites as a calibrating or reference point. I used those quarter section monuments under the pavement to locate the corners of our property, which included verifying the location of found parcel corner monuments identified by other surveys I had access to. Fortunately, part of our property fronts on the state highway, so that boundary is pretty clear.
  22. RustyShackleford

    RustyShackleford Minister of Fire

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    Thanks Jim. I should be clear on one thing. My issue with my neighbor is not that he disagrees with me on the location of our boundary. It's simply that he granted an easement that allowed the logging company to **** his land, and the loggers crossed up to 60 feet over the boundary line (what I think to be the boundary line) into my land. The neighbor's attitude is simply that it's the logging company's fault, not his, and that sounds like it might be correct. I can see how the logging company made the the error, because I only found my SE iron recently, and after having searched for it a number of times over the past 15 years with no luck; I only found it because I used GPS readings (from an inaccurate handheld device) and some curve-fitting (to my metes and bounds) to estimate the GPS coordinates of the lost iron. And there it was, pretty much flush with the ground, and not flagged at all. I did two measurements which confirm to me that this iron is my correct SE corner. First, it is 60ft north to another iron along my eastern line; this is shown as such on the plat of my land, and is a corner between two lots in the subdivision immediately east of mine (and the logged lot). It seems pretty clear that this is the iron that the loggers incorrectly assumed to be my SE corner (and thus the NE corner of the area to which they were granted a timber easement). Second, I located what seems to be the SE corner of the neighbor's lot. I measured the distance from this iron, along my neighbor's eastern boundary, to the iron I recently located, that I believe to be my true SE corner. I used a 100ft cloth tape, and the distance agreed, within a few feet, to the length of his eastern line as shown in his deed. So even though this was far from a full survey, it gives me a pretty strong indication that there is no real disagreement that the iron I found indicates the eastern end of the true boundary line between me and my neighbor (my SE corner and his NE corner). My goal now is to, as you say, maintain that line clearly. Make sense ?
  23. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    Yes, and I understand your situation. You may want to talk to a consulting forester and, if too much time has not gone by, consider making a claim against the logger, if there is enough value to pursue this. If as you say this was the logger's fault, then it is the responsibility of the logger to locate the boundary lines and pay damages (treble?) for trees taken on someone else's property. The consulting forester should be able to give good advice on this.
  24. RustyShackleford

    RustyShackleford Minister of Fire

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    Certainly I thought about making a claim. But I've heard informally, that the timber was probably worth about $1000 an acre, and it was about 0.6 acres, so $600, treble would be about $2000. I would likely exceed that for surveyor and legal fees. I guess, in theory, the neighbor would have to pay those if I won the suit. Also, it's apparently "trespass", and a lawyer informally told me that he was pretty sure the statute of limitations was something like 3 years - and it's been about 8 years.

    Another neighbor (friendly one who actually lives near me), suggested writing the timber company a letter, and maybe they're lawyer-phobic enough that they might just write a $600 check and be glad.
  25. RustyShackleford

    RustyShackleford Minister of Fire

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    Oh well. Got a dozen helium balloons today for $10 (similar lift to one 3 footer, but more "survivability"). Too much "drift". Even with a buddy on cellphone contact, so he could tell me when the balloon drifted above the property line, it was no-go. The balloon just kept getting blown down into nearby trees. Today was the most windless day (4mph) for the next week or so, and soon trees will be leafing out.

    I think I'll just mark what I've cleared, adjusting a little bit for the "kink" that goes into the neighbor's property; by that, I mean that it is clear that the tree that's near the midpoint and visible from both corners, is a little to the south (toward the neighbor's property) from the actual line, maybe 6-12 feet. (I say that for two reasons. One, I did briefly get what seemed to be a good bearing off the balloon, when I has walked 3/4 of the way to the other iron. Two, I measured the bearing to the tree from both corners, using my homemade transit, and got 269 and 91. Since the line is supposed to be due E/W, this suggest the tree is one degree south of the line, which at about 400-500ft, is about 8 feet).

    Since the neighbor doesn't really seem to care, and seldom if ever walks the land (he's a "neighbor" only in the sense of owning the adjoining land, he actually lives 20-30 miles away), I don't think there's any harm if the marked line "bulges" into his land a little. What's the worse than can happen ? And for ANYTHING to happen, he'd have to pay to have a survey done. If I were going to build something there other than possibly an inexpensive fence, then of course it'd be different.

    Or maybe I should quit being a dope and hire a surveyor to mark the line. Can't be too expensive, since I've found both corners and pretty much cleared the line ...

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