Land surveying includes surveys for locating and monumenting the boundaries of a property; preparation of a legal description of the limits of a property and of the area included; preparation of a property map; resurveys to recover and remonument property corners; and surveys to subdivide property. It is sometimes necessary to retrace surveys of property lines, to reestablish lost or obliterated corners, and to make ties to property lines and corners; for example, a retracement survey of property lines may be required to assure that the military operation of quarry excavation does not encroach on adjacent property where excavation rights have not been obtained. Similarly, an access road from a public highway to the quarry site, if it crosses privately owned property, should be tied to the property lines that are crossed so that correctly executed easements can be obtained to cross the tracts of private property.
EAs may be required to accomplish property surveys at naval activities outside the continental limits of the United States for the construction of naval bases and the restoration of such properties to property owners. The essentials of land surveying as practiced in various countries are similar in principle. Although the principles pertaining to the surveys of public and private lands within the United States are not necessarily directly applicable to foreign countries, a knowledge of these principles will enable the EA to conduct the survey in a manner required by the property laws of the nation concerned.
In the United States, land surveying is a survey conducted for the purpose of ascertaining the correct boundaries of real estate property for legal purposes. In accordance with federal and states laws, the right and/or title to landed property in the United States can be transferred from one person to another only by means of a written document, commonly called a deed. To constitute a valid transfer, a deed must meet a considerable number of legal requirements, some of which vary in different states. In all the states, however, a deed must contain an accurate description of the boundaries of the property.
A right in real property need not be complete, outright ownership (called fee simple). There are numerous lesser rights, such as leasehold (right to occupancy and use for a specified term) or easement (right to make certain specified use of property belonging to someone else). But in any case, a valid transfer of any type of right in real property usually involves an accurate description of the boundaries of the property.
As mentioned previously, the EA may be required to perform various land surveys. As a survey team or crew leader, you should have a knowledge of the principles of land surveys in order to plan your work accordingly.