Mapping with property lines

Discussion in 'Mapping' started by GCTerpfan, Sep 18, 2017.

  1. GCTerpfan

    GCTerpfan Member

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    I was listening to a Randy Newberg podcast last week in which he had representatives from OnX maps on his show. The people from Onx were touting the property information that is available with their software. They were actually saying in the podcast that they cross posted property lines and fences because their software says the property line is somewhere else.

    I am a licensed land surveyor who has worked in several states. I use mapping software and public parcel information all of the time in my profession. What I can tell you without a doubt is that the property lines that are provided in any available software including OnX maps is based on the publicly available tax assessment records and mapping. This 'property' information is good enough for the purpose that it serves, which is to facilitate the maintaining of a roll for levying taxes based on property values. However, while the information is useful to many people including hunters, it is not binding in a court of law when it comes to ownership. What maters is the description contained within the deed and it's location ON THE GROUND. I have seen property boundaries in assessment records be wildly inaccurate.

    PLEASE DO NOT cross posted property lines because some mapping software tells you the line should be somewhere else. It floored me that the people from OnX were not only doing this but telling other people they could as well. OnX (or atleast these reps) are apparently completely ignorant of how their information is obtained and are going to end up getting some hunter in serious trouble for trespassing.

    I will climb down off of my soapbox now. I would just hate to see hunters start getting a bad name for trespassing because these companies have no land surveying experience and are leading people to believe their information is more accurate than it truly is.
     
  2. drew13

    drew13 Active Member

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    Great info, Terp Fan. Thanks!

    I love OnX for sure - great app. But I would never trust it over what I see on the ground!...


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  3. d_rek

    d_rek Well-Known Member

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    Interesting. I only trust the OnX chips to show me 'generally' where a property line should be. I try to give myself margin of error and not cross it by 20+ meters.

    That OnX would suggest someone knowingly trespass is poor marketing.

    I will say the tools that a hunter can use to correlate property lines to maps when they have boots on the ground are limited. A legal description is not something most of us will ever be able to understand without training (even if it is what holds up in a court of law), and is useless in the field.

    Plat maps vary wildly in both quality and availability county-by-county here in Michigan. In the county I live in we have GIS plat maps available to view digitally, though the aerial photos can be on the magnitude of months or even years out of date.

    What would you suggest for anyone wanting to verify the accuracy of their maps - whether it be OnX or local plat data - without undergoing extensive surveyor training? Or should we just give property lines on digital maps 'wide berth' to prevent trespassing?
     
  4. redsquirrel

    redsquirrel Administrator
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    Thanks for sharing that info. I think onx is a great tool, but like everything else it is only a tool. I have found a couple of spots where it clearly did not match up to the boundaries posted in the state's maps posted for hunters. In these cases I'm going with the state's maps...
     
  5. GCTerpfan

    GCTerpfan Member

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    I would approach it just like you are. Even if you can understand the legal description putting it on the ground isn't always easy, it usually requires the collection of lots of legal and historical evidence, especially on old tracts that were created hundreds of years ago.

    The main thing is just to remember that the property line is on the ground. It's not some mythical line that exists in a program. There are many cases where the mapping software will be very close to the true boundary line location but, if you come across anything on the ground that appears to be a property line, posted signs, painted lines, fences; you should always heed the evidence on the ground over what the software is telling you.
     
  6. Swampfox

    Swampfox Active Member

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    I normally just take those section corner stones and move them about 100' over. Scribe a X in the nearest tree and then set my stand on the other side of that old barb wire fence. That way it lines up with the GPS.



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  7. swampsnyper

    swampsnyper Well-Known Member

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    The times I used it looking for property corners when I was shopping for land, it got me pretty close. Found many corner survey pipes this way.
     
  8. BenG

    BenG Member

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    I can see two sides here. I've seen parcel data be incorrect before but I also know sometimes people "extend" their posted boundary by posting neighboring land. I've also never seen an interactive parcel map without a disclaimer.
     
  9. Swampfox

    Swampfox Active Member

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    Without all the best available evidence a found monument is simply just a pipe or rod in the ground (or whatever material it may be). Often times many monuments are set in an area to represent one single corner, this is due to differences of opinions between surveyors(although it's not proper procedure in most states it does still happen). Thus if there is more than one pipe how do you know you found the correct one? Just this very morning I had to explain to a hostile landowner why two pipes had been set to witness one corner, and one pipe she had no knowledge of it being there and she's been living on the property since 1985. These pipes were less than 4 feet apart, which is beyond the accuracy of a handheld GPS.

    Now I'm not trying to discourage you from trying to figure out the general bounds of your property, everyone should know their property's bounds. However, I highly recommend you not build or make any improvements (fences) based on such practice. Besides the science side of measuring property there is a legal aspect which must be accounted for in the determination of ones boundary.



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  10. Sipsey

    Sipsey Member

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    How many are aware that Google maps shows property lines? It has no property information other than boundary lines. If you have a good signal I've found it to be extremely accurate on freshly staked survey corners and marked lines. I'm talking within 6" or less. Not saying it's accuracy is universal but it's free. Just hit transit layer and zoom till you see the property lines.
     
  11. swampsnyper

    swampsnyper Well-Known Member

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    I was just getting a general lay of the land. Anything critical, I'd get surveyed.
     
  12. GCTerpfan

    GCTerpfan Member

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    I see I am not the only surveyor on the site.
     
  13. Swampfox

    Swampfox Active Member

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    I'm just living the dream. However that dream is sometimes a nightmare.

    What state(s) you practice in?


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  14. GCTerpfan

    GCTerpfan Member

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    I am licensed in Maryland and trying to find the time to take the exam in WV. The owner of my company is licensed in WV, PA, and VA also; so we do work in all of those states.
     
  15. Stykbow1

    Stykbow1 Active Member

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    I have been using GPS and mapping software for years but never would consider going onto any property without doing my homework first. I agree that it is irresponsible for a software representative to suggest to users to potentially break the law by trespassing. Sometimes it takes several sources to accurately find the property lines.

    Roger,
     

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