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DIY surveyors transit

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

  1. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    Rusty,
    I think you've hit on the solution, mark the boundary conservatively so that where there is uncertainty you make sure your property is protected. Its not like what you're doing is a legal survey. That puts the onus on the neighbor to survey the land if they dispute the boundaries. After all its their actions not yours that have resulted in your losses (time, money, property damage).

    Edit: It if was me I'd only hire a surveyor if the neighbor agreed to pay or share the cost.

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  2. RustyShackleford

    RustyShackleford Minister of Fire

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    I can't let this go ... I thought of one more way to mark the line. Get a bright 12v spotlight (maybe wheelbarrow a car battery out there if need be). Shine it straight up into the air from one property corner - kinda like when a car dealership has a searchlight set up for a "grand opening". Guess it'd have to be pretty dark, but not too dark to somehow mark a point that's along the line (I just need one, near the "midway tree" that I've mentioned before and I'm done); probably just have girlfriend, with a flashlight, to define the line. Also, if the air is too clear, I guess the beam won't be visible; need a foggy evening ...
    semipro likes this.
  3. DavidWiebe

    DavidWiebe New Member

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    I know this thread is over 3 years dead... but I came across it when Google searching for DIY transit info and after reading it and getting lots of good ideas, I thought that I could add this solution to the problem of sighting a line through the bush:
    I thought the balloon idea was neat, but on a string that long, I figured the drift would be far too bad (and was confirmed by your experience). However, if you tied a 2nd line to the balloon with fishing line (very light weight "stabilizer" string) and ran it back at an angle against the wind direction, you could pull the balloon back into a position that would be directly vertical to the point you're trying to mark. Once you confirm it's position directly above the ground point, (using a 4 ft carpenter's level at your point on the ground) you could tie it down to hold it in that position and have a reliable marker. (You could really go nuts and steady it even more with 2 stabilizer strings running against wind in a "V" from the balloon.)

    Also I thought of a very cheap and easy idea for a "spotting scope" based on some ideas here... a long (maybe 4 feet) piece of rigid 2-inch ABS or PVC pipe with thread or string pulled across both ends in a cross-hairs configuration and the string is held onto the pipe by tape. Line up both cross-hairs and the target and you're good to go! Or you could make a mini version using 1/2-inch by 1 or 2 feet long PVC pipe and some black sewing thread. I'm not sure if white or black pipe would work better.
  4. RustyShackleford

    RustyShackleford Minister of Fire

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    Haha, I haven't thought about this in YEARS, though I do go by every year or so and Roundup the stump sprouts that are coming up where I cleared. Also, I have "encouraged" (by blocking other paths) some of the people who walk around the woods to use at least part of the cleared line as a path, so that is helping to establish it. Thinking I may sell the land anyhow, as the notion was to have a place to build a new larger house, but I'm starting to doubt I really want to do that.

    But it's still fun to imagine how to mark this line well. The balloon experience was so unsatisfactory that I am loathe to try it again, despite your most clever idea; there's simply too many trees. I think the notion of using a vertical beam of light (like the WTC memorial) to mark one corner, and then try to sight a mid-point (a helper with a smaller light), might work well. If I can just establish one point near the center (of the 900ft property line), I'm good to go, as I can easily mark the two smaller line segments. I think this idea is a lot more feasible with these new ultra-bright LED flashlites (I've got one that's probably as bright as a car headlite and is the size of my thumb), so I won't need to cart a car battery out there. Another notion I had is to use google-earth; if I could place markers that would show up in the imagery at either end of the line and at a putative near-center point, then I could tell how far off the center point is. But it'd be helpful to know when they intend to acquire new imagery, and I'm not even sure they know or will tell you.
  5. TradEddie

    TradEddie Minister of Fire

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    Coming to this thread late, I've used a laser pointer at dusk to figure out my property line, and in the process, found my missing peg. On a foggy night, a vertical beam would be visible from a long way out. Not sure how you'd get it perfectly vertical though, but it'd be better than a balloon in the wind. If your major stumps are gone now, you could use it horizontally.

    TE
  6. RustyShackleford

    RustyShackleford Minister of Fire

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    Did you use laser pointer to establish a vertical beam, or horizontally ? Not all that worried about perfectly vertical, I imagine I can eyeball it close enough, certainly with a carpenter's level held next to the beam (lets's say beam is within 1" of parallel to the 4ft level, so if I'm sighting it 50ft off the ground, it's within 1ft of being over the property iron, and the center point I'm trying to establish is within 6").
  7. ewdudley

    ewdudley Minister of Fire

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    With my luck the laser would be an invitation for the local swat team to try out all their cool hardware in an off-road setting, threat to aviation doncha know.
  8. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Post deleted Rusty. You know why.
    RustyShackleford likes this.
  9. TradEddie

    TradEddie Minister of Fire

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    I tried it both ways, but was successful when I used it horizontally, I "calibrated" my hiking compass by taking a bearing along the property line I knew (I wasn't sure if survey was magnetic or true north), then pointed the laser along the bearing specified on my deed. Sure, brush got in the way, but I just shook the branches to follow the beam and luckily no trees were along the line. It was only about 270ft, but as I followed the beam to the end I found the peg just a few feet away, so then it was simply a matter of moving the laser and getting my kid to tell me when I was over the peg. All I needed to do was see how close my gutter discharge was to the property line, but it helps now that I know where the property line is, even if just to decide who gets the storm fallen firewood.

    TE
  10. RustyShackleford

    RustyShackleford Minister of Fire

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    I was confused about this, especially since lines on different versions of the platte for our sub-division have bearings that differ by VERY small fractions of a degree. But by adjusting the declination on my sighting compass to the correct value (10 degrees west or so) I quickly decided they are true bearings (since it ain't that tough to get a bearing much closer than 10 degrees). So why different numbers on different surveys ? I guess surveyors have to put what they measure, so this discrepancy just reflects their margin of error. Dunno if its true (instead of magnetic) on surveys everywhere, or not.
  11. Lockpicker

    Lockpicker New Member

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    Go ahead and stake your line. Just make sure if you are off that it is encroachment onto your neighbors side. Not saying to go way over but just a little. Just enough that it might compel the neighbor to pay for a survey. Problem solved
    RustyShackleford likes this.
  12. TradEddie

    TradEddie Minister of Fire

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    I don't remember which it was for me, but magnetic north drifts significantly over time, adding another error to human error.

    TE
  13. RustyShackleford

    RustyShackleford Minister of Fire

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    Doesn't have to be, as the site that gives declination (linked earlier in this thread) also gives it's change rate over time going forward. But, yeah, I think it's likely that many surveyors don't make that computation or check the declination every day before they go out in the field, so you're probably right.
  14. TradEddie

    TradEddie Minister of Fire

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    I wanted to say exactly that, but couldn't figure out how to say it so clearly! I bet they sometimes just use the declination written on their maps, or use the number they figured out the first day in a new job.

    TE
  15. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    In my area magnetic declination has changed from 7E to now 1E in a 50 year period. In a few more years it will be 0E and magnetic and true north will be the same.
  16. NE WOOD BURNER

    NE WOOD BURNER Minister of Fire

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    One 30" piece of rebar = $ 5 knowing where to place it! Priceless!!!
    TradEddie likes this.

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