The Role of Property Surveyors in Resolving Boundary Disputes

The Role of Property Surveyors in Resolving Boundary Disputes

If you own a home or land, it’s important to know where your property begins and ends to avoid land disputes between you and people with properties around you. When there’s a land dispute involving you and someone who owns property near you, it can be a stressful and unpleasant time. Regardless of who is involved in a boundary dispute, it’s important to resolve the issue as quickly as possible. While there are several entities that may get involved in resolving the dispute, none of them will be as important as the property surveyor

If you are in a boundary dispute in El Paso, Land-Mark Survey can help determine where your land ends and begins. To learn more about our services, contact us online or call (915) 598-1300 today.

Steps For Conflict Resolution 


Hire a Property Surveyor

Resolving a dispute around a boundary or property infraction is a tall order. Tensions are often high, and tempers are boiling, which makes mediation and resolution extremely difficult. That’s why it’s a good idea to get a property surveyor involved immediately. Property surveyors are unbiased professionals who’s only goal is to determine the exact location of your property boundaries, as well as those of your neighbor. 

Discuss the Issue 

Once you hire a property surveyor, it’s vital to discuss the property issue with them so that they have all the information. Land disputes happen for various reasons, and your property surveyor needs to know exactly what they’re looking for. Here are some of the most common reasons for a property dispute. 

  • Water or mineral rights 
  • A fence infraction 
  • Landscape or tree issues 
  • Rights to other natural resources 
  • Zoning restrictions 
  • Land use rights 

Regardless of what the issue is, a land surveyor will help get it resolved as quickly as possible.

Gather All the Necessary Documents 

As part of the resolution process, the individuals involved in the dispute will need to gather a wide range of legal documents, including the following. 

  • Deeds 
  • Land titles 
  • Sketch plans 
  • Property description documents
  • Any previous land surveys 

The Property Surveyors’ Role  

Once the property surveyor has all the necessary documentation and paperwork, they will begin the surveying process. Land surveying is an exact science that can only get performed by qualified, certified, and licensed professionals. It’s a complicated process that will include the following steps. 

  • Plotting and locating property lines 
  • Measuring boundary lines 
  • Locating underground utilities and resources to determine whether or not you have the right to them 
  • Measuring and plotting any bodies of water on your land or running through it 
  • Plotting and measuring things in the air above your property, such as outstretched tree branches 

Property surveyors will then document and report their findings to all the parties involved in the dispute and the authorities if necessary. To ensure they have taken accurate measurements and have properly determined the boundary lines, they will use the following tactics. 

  • Aerial photography and photogrammetry through the use of drones, planes, or choppers. 
  • GPS to ensure accurate latitude, longitude, and positioning. 
  • Land and geographic information systems 
  • Sub-surface engineering equipment when underground utilities, resources, and elements are involved. 

If the conditions between the disputing parties are too hostile, property surveyors can also act as mediators in the negotiations. They will have all the evidence and proof necessary to bring the dispute to a speedy end. 

Contact Land-Mark Survey to Resolve Boundary Disputes in El Paso 

If you or someone you know is involved in a boundary dispute in El Paso, Land-Mark Survey is here to assist. We have the equipment and expertise necessary to resolve any boundary dispute, regardless of its scope or nature. Contact us online or call (915) 598-1300 today!

Why Land Surveying is Essential in El Paso Land Development

Why Land Surveying is Essential in El Paso Land Development

Land surveying is the process by which land is surveyed, measured, and plotted out. However, it involves much more than merely “surveying” the land. Land surveyors use a wide range of equipment and technology to take accurate measurements and coordinates of a plot of land. As such, it’s an extremely important aspect of land development in El Paso. 

If you require land surveying services in El Paso, Land-Mark Professional Surveying can help. Contact us online or call (915) 598-1300 to learn more about our services.

Why is Land Surveying So Important For Land Development? 

Land surveying is a complicated, comprehensive process that can only be performed by trained, experienced professionals. It’s useful for conducting land surveys, getting property measurements, developing site and construction plans, and more. It’s also an important part of any land development process because of how comprehensive it is, and here’s why. 

You Won’t Encroach on Someone Else’s Property 

The main reason that land surveying is important for land development is because it will keep you off of other people’s land. It’s possible that surveys performed in the past were incorrect and didn’t accurately lay out the property lines. Being off by so much as a foot could result in an expensive legal case and having to move fences and utilities. Therefore, it’s essential to know the exact boundaries of your land before you start developing it. 

You’ll Get a Good Idea of the Topography and Soil 

In addition to looking at things above the ground, a land survey will also assess the underlying soil and topography. That way, you’ll know what type of soil you’re dealing with so that you can take special steps or measures if necessary. Additionally, you’ll also find out if your land development project is in a flood zone or at risk for other hazards. 

Speeds Up Construction 

By getting all the information and measurements you need upfront, your land development project will go much smoother. This is especially true if you’re building roads, houses, businesses, or other structures on the land in question. 

Necessary for Future Subdividing 

Subdivisions and developing small neighborhoods are more popular than ever. As a result, if you own a large plot of land and want to divide it into smaller subsections, a land survey is the best way to get it done. Land surveying will help you parcel out each section of land into equal increments to ensure everyone’s getting their money’s worth. Surveying will also ensure that each section of land adheres to local zoning and code requirements. 

Helps You Remain City Compliant 

In many instances, including subdivisions, the city has a ton of say over code and zoning regulations. As such, it’s necessary to comply with these standards if you want to avoid construction delays and fines. A land survey will help you remain compliant so that you can develop concrete construction plans. A survey will also help you know if your land development is happening on nature reserves or protected areas requiring special permits. 

An Understanding of Available Utilities

Finally, a land survey will be necessary if you’re planning to add utilities such as plumbing, sewage, gas, or electrical to a property. This applies to current land development projects as well as future ones. 

Who to Contact

If a land survey will help your land development project go smoother and faster, contact us online or call (915) 598-1300. We’re one of the top land surveying companies in the El Paso area and utilize a number of surveying methods and options.

What is Aerial Surveying and What Is It Used For?

What is Aerial Surveying and What Is It Used For?

Land surveying has come a long way. Old-time land surveyors used to rely on outdated equipment and methods that often resulted in inaccurate readings. Today, however, the equipment and methods used in land surveying are modern, highly accurate, and comprehensive. There are methods utilized today that were impossible for original land surveyors. One of these many methods that are even more advanced than the rest is aerial surveying. If you’re curious and want to know more about aerial surveying, what it is, and how it’s done, you’ve come to the right place. 

Do you require land surveying in El Paso, Land-Mark Survey can help. Contact us online or call (915) 598-1300 to set up an appointment today.

The Basics of Aerial Surveying 

As the name indicates, aerial surveying is when you conduct land surveying services from above the ground. Aerial surveying is growing in popularity because it provides a comprehensive overhead view of the property being surveyed. In most cases, aerial surveying is done using a drone, but it can include other methods, such as planes and helicopters. Contact us to learn more about the Landmark aerial surveying process or to schedule an appointment. 

Advantages of Aerial Surveying 

Aerial surveying is a great option for land surveyors offering several advantages as opposed to other types of surveying. 


  • Cheaper 


Traditionally, aerial surveying was only possible if you had access to a plane or helicopter. This proved expensive, time-consuming, and inefficient, but it was sometimes necessary to complete a property survey. Nowadays, however, most aerial surveying is performed using drones, which makes aerial surveying very affordable, quick, and efficient. 


  • Better Overview 


An overhead shot will almost always provide a property survey’s best overview and angle. You’ll be able to see things from the air that you simply can’t see from the ground or a high vantage point. It’s also the best way to see the property in question as a whole rather than in individual parts. 


  • Increased Access 


Aerial surveying also offers access to certain areas that you simply can’t survey from the ground. This includes old buildings that are inaccessible, cliffs, mountains, and other rugged terrains inaccessible by car or foot. 

What is Aerial Surveying Used For? 

While you can use aerial surveying for any type of property survey, it’s best for surveying wide swaths of land. Aerial surveying can be performed in a single swoop or trip, whereas traditional surveying would take several trips and lots of manhours to perform, depending on the size of the property in question. 

Aerial surveying is also a good option in high-traffic areas with lots of pedestrians, vehicles, and other obstacles. This includes properties near freeways, roads, highways, and cities. Here’s a quick breakdown of the industries and instances where aerial surveying is utilized the most. 

  • Construction and infrastructure projects covering a lot of land
  • Surveys performed near busy highways and populated cities 
  • Monitoring construction site progress 
  • Property surveys of farms and ranches 
  • Property surveys located near mountains, rivers, lakes, and other inaccessible areas 

Different Types of Aerial Surveying

As we said before, there are several different types of aerial surveying depending on what you need. 


  • Airplane and Helicopter Surveys 


Airplane and helicopter aerial surveying offers the land surveyor a firsthand view of the property they’re surveying. However, these types of surveys are quite expensive and may require several passes. 


  • Drone Surveys 


Drone aerial surveying is the most common type of aerial survey used in the land and property survey industry. Drones can capture overhead photos of the property in question, which are then uploaded and comprehensively viewed for surveying purposes. This is the cheapest, fastest, and easiest form of aerial surveying. 

Who to Contact for Aerial Surveying in El Paso

If you’re looking for aerial surveying services in El Paso, look no further than Land-Mark Survey. We’re one of the top property survey companies in the area and can perform various types of land surveying in addition to aerial surveying. Contact us online or call (915) 598-1300 for a full list of services or to schedule an appointment. 

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The Latest Trends in Land Surveying

The Latest Trends in Land Surveying

If you’re an El Paso land surveyor, it’s paramount that you stay up to date on the latest trends. Like all businesses, land surveying and land development constantly change and develop with time. New tools and tricks of the trade are expected to come out in 2023, and it’s up to you to be up to date on what they are. 

If you require land surveying services for your El Paso home or business, the professionals at Land Mark Survey can help. Contact us online or call (915) 598-1300 to learn more about our services.

4 Land Surveying Trends to Watch Out for in 2023 

The Use of Drones and UAVs 

Drones and UAVs were first introduced to the land development industry several years ago. However, while they were once thought of as an option or backup plan, drones and UAVs are quickly becoming the future of land surveying. Drones and UAVs can cover massive areas, gain access to areas previously thought impossible, and provide in-depth information for surveying purposes. 

Drones are now also capable of:


  • 3D mapping 
  • photogrammetry
  • topographic surveying
  • Geospatial Surveying
  • Mapping and scanning
  • Environmental monitoring
  • Many other things


These added features make drones and unmanned aerial vehicles even more prolific. Additionally, working with drones is safe and easy and can lead to increased productivity. If you’re serious about land surveying, you will do well to jump aboard the drone train. Or, if you want to avoid making the investment, you can contact us at LandMark Survey, and we’ll perform drone-related surveys for you. 

Cloud Data Storage 

Unless you’re familiar with all the data that goes with land development, you likely don’t realize how big of a trend cloud data storage is going to be. The files and documents that go along with land surveying are massive, which means that cloud storage is a huge improvement. This trend is being helped along with the increased popularity and availability of 5G networks. 

Increased use of cloud storage for land development will also make collaborating and sharing with others easier. Surveyors, developers, and everyone else involved in the land development process are sure to gain from the cloud data storage trend. 

Mobile Mapping 

Mobile mapping is perhaps the most revolutionary land development trend to be aware of. With mobile mapping, land development would be faster, easier, and more convenient than ever. It would allow a device that fits into a backpack to do most of the work for you. An added bonus of 3D mobile mapping is the fact that scans would be quicker and easier to share than ever. 

Continued Accessibility and Integration 

The final trend to be on the lookout for in 2023 is the fact that land surveyors will have access to more areas than ever before. Thanks to all of the new and updated technology hitting the market, accessibility and integration are expected to be better than ever. Drones, mobile mapping, and the Cloud alone are making this possible. 

However, even the hands-on tools and training that surveyors use are improving. When you combine these tools and continue learning with new technology, the sky’s the limit for land surveying. 

What is the Future of Land Surveying?

The future of land surveying is bright as long as you can keep up with the coming trends. Surveyors that stay in the past and don’t acclimate to advancements in training and technology are doomed to get left behind. Therefore, you should stay up to date on all the latest land development trends. 

Which El Paso Company to Contact for All Your Land Surveying Needs

If you’re looking for a land surveying team that can keep up with the latest trends, look no further than Landmark Survey. Whether it’s drones, UAVs, mobile mapping, cloud storage, or anything else, we’re up to the challenge. Contact us online or call (915) 598-1300 today for a complete list of services and to learn more about our process. 

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How Do Land Surveyors Establish Boundary Lines?

How Do Land Surveyors Establish Boundary Lines?

If you own an El Paso home or business, there’s a good chance that you have a rough idea of where your property boundary lines are. However, most people are surprised that they own more or less land than they thought. While it might only be a matter of several feet or even inches, hiring land surveyors to know your exact boundary lines is important. 

Land surveys can protect you from building something unknowingly on your neighbors’ property and having to tear it down at a later date. If you’re curious about how land surveyors establish boundary lines, this blog will have the answers. We’ll also look at who to contact when you need a land survey to establish the boundary lines on your property. 

If you need a land surveyor in El Paso, you have come to the right place. Contact us or call (915) 598-1300 today.

How Land Surveyors Establish Boundary Lines 

The process of getting the exact coordinates of your property lines can only be done by professional land surveyors. They have specialized equipment, experience, and knowledge that gives them the ability to make accurate boundary lines. Here’s how the process works. 

  1. A boundary survey was performed to establish the boundaries when your home was initially built. 
  2. During this process, markers and stakes were placed around the perimeter of your property. 
  3. During construction, however, these boundaries were either removed or pounded into the ground. 
  4. Land surveyors can easily acquire the initial survey from when your property was first established from your county municipality. 
  5. Using special equipment, land surveyors can pinpoint the exact location of your property line’s original stakes and markers. 
  6. They do this by taking meticulous measurements of your property with any adjoining ones. 
  7. They will then use their markers, stakes, and spray paint to mark the exact location of your boundary lines. 
  8. Land surveyors then have the authority to sign and file the survey with your updated boundary lines. It will become binding for any future acquisitions or sales. 
  9. These types of surveys are known as boundary surveys and are the most accurate type of survey you can do. 

Because of the precision and high-tech equipment necessary to perform boundary surveys, only professional land surveyors can perform them. 

When is It Necessary to Hire a Land Surveyor?

While you can optionally hire a land surveyor to learn the exact location of your boundary lines, there are instances when you’ll legally need a land survey. Here are some of these instances.

For a Mortgage Application 

Because the size of your property will partially determine your mortgage rate, many banks require a land survey when you’re applying for a mortgage. Typically, they will also require an appraisal. 

To Settle Disputes 

If you and a neighbor have boundary line disputes, you’ll need to get a land survey. Only land surveys can pinpoint the exact location of your boundary lines and resolve your conflict. Land surveys will also help you prove that you’re not breaking zoning violations for your county. 

Renovating Your Property

One of the main reasons to get land surveys or boundary surveys is to ensure that you’re building on your own property. For example, if you plan to build a fence, shop, or barn on your property, you’ll want to get a land survey. Failing to do so could mean that you’ll accidentally build part of your fence or building on your neighbor’s property. Even if it’s only several inches, your neighbor can get their own land survey and force you to demolish or renovate your construction to get off their land. 

Who to Contact for Your El Paso Land Surveying Needs

If you’re in any of the above situations in El Paso, you should reach out to Land Mark Survey for an official land survey. Enlisting our services could save you thousands of dollars in repairs and legal fees if you accidentally encroach on your neighbor’s property. No matter what type of survey you need, we’re the team for the job. Contact us or call (915) 598-1300 today.

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Modern Advancements in El Paso Land Surveying

Modern Advancements in El Paso Land Surveying

Land surveying is a detailed study or examination that involves the gathering of information through field measurements, questionnaires, or the analysis of legal documents. It also utilizes analytical techniques to aid in the planning, designing, and setting of property borders. Using mathematics, sophisticated software, and cutting-edge technology, land surveyors help measure and map the environment around us.

Surveyors are needed by businesses in a variety of sectors to assess huge land parcels and provide them with precise mapping and measurements. But one problem with conventional surveying techniques is the amount of time it typically takes to produce accurate maps of a land area. 

However, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones are changing the narrative and enhancing surveyors’ operations. Land-Mark Professional Surveying, Inc. is one of the companies leading the charge toward improving land surveying techniques in today’s modern world. Using cutting-edge drone technology, our experienced staff have delivered several land surveying projects across El Paso and the entire Southwest region. 

Do you have a project that needs to be delivered with speed and utmost accuracy? If so, contact us online or call (800) 246-1681 today.   

Drone Surveying

As mentioned earlier, surveying is the process of mapping the environment using various equipment and techniques. Drone surveying is essentially the same thing, but instead of using conventional tools to do the survey, we make use of a drone.

Surveying a piece of land with a UAV is also known as drone mapping. Hundreds of photos are taken while the drone is flown over a piece of land by its operator. The photos are then stitched and layered together using computer software to produce a representation of the location.

Why use a Drone to Survey?

You might be wondering whether using a drone is better than utilizing conventional techniques. Well, the simple answer to that is yes. Drones are more advantageous in numerous ways.

Using unmanned aerial vehicles for surveying and mapping has a number of benefits, some of which are listed below:  


  • Cuts Back on Fieldwork and Survey Expenses.


Up to this day, one of the most time-consuming parts of many projects has been gathering land data using conventional surveying techniques. Topographic data can be collected by a drone up to five times more quickly and with less labor than using land-based techniques. Drone technology is transforming the nature of the land surveyor’s job, effectively enabling them to complete more work in less time. In the end, this makes it possible for surveyors to produce survey data more quickly and inexpensively.


  • Gives Precise and Thorough Information


Drones have a high degree of accuracy. Drone surveys are frequently expected to be within two centimeters of the actual location. Most drones even offer more accurate measurements than that. 


  • Quickly and Safely Survey Areas


Surveyors are now able to deploy quickly and map virtually anywhere thanks to unmanned aerial vehicles. Drones allow surveyors to access regions that were previously out of reach, dangerously steep, or inhospitable to traditional measurement equipment.

By using this technique, surveyors’ exposure to environmental hazards when mapping out uncharted territory is reduced.


  • Land Development and Management


Drone aerial imagery makes topographic surveys for land development and planning easier. It makes site selection, allotment planning, design, and the actual development of roads, structures, and utilities easier.

Work with the Best Land Surveying Firm in El Paso

We are a professional land surveying firm that can help you work on your El Paso land surveying projects using drone technology to deliver accurate results without wasting time. You can contact us online to learn more or give us a call at (800) 246-1681.

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The Mapmakers of History: How Charting our World Became Essential for Civilization

The Mapmakers of History: How Charting our World Became Essential for Civilization

Is a perfect map possible? For those of us who frequently use our smartphones to find our way around with no wrong turns, the answer might seem like a resounding yes. And yet, map makers and experts contend that there is no such thing as a perfect map. One expert claims that all maps are—to some degree—subjective and that all civilizations in the past have heralded their maps as the correct one when really each one depicts a subjective view. And yet, companies like Google have set on a quest to develop “the perfect map,” using every available tool to approach this much-romanticized perfection. Through satellite imaging, drone images, hikers, and more, Google is attempting to create the perfect picture of our world. 

Over the centuries, human beings have engaged with the environment in an effort to better understand it and advance their societies. So here is the story of a few maps that changed the world. 

The Early Days of Maps and How It Altered Human History 

You may have heard someone say, “so-and-so has a good sense of direction.” Perhaps we recognize that some people are more apt in finding their way around than others. What is this about? Since the 1940s, some scientists have argued that humans have a kind of internal map or “black box” in the nervous system. While this may be true to some extent—we know how to get around our neighborhoods or familiar towns—drop someone in unknown territory and things can go south very quickly. 

Yet, humans used this intuition to begin interacting with the world and trying to document it. One of the oldest surviving maps was a clay tablet created around 700 to 500 B.C. in Mesopotamia. This early map was small and primordial, as it was more about giving people a sense of the surrounding worlds by placing Mesopotamia at the center. 

Early maps, in fact, were not overly concerned with accuracy. These early representations were more of a form of artistic expression or representing one’s fiefdom or kingdom. Some experts point to the early Roman maps, which seem to be more of a statement or showcase of their great empire than a document meant for navigation or understanding the land. 

The First Attempt at Accurate Mapping 

The first step towards accurate map-making was due to one man seeking to craft accurate horoscopes. One of the most often cited early maps was from Claudius Ptolemy, an astrologer and astronomer, who was preoccupied with horoscopes and somewhat inadvertently invented geography. 

Ptolemy did the leg work to collect documentation that detailed locations of towns and used stories from travelers to embellish his maps. He slowly developed what became a system of lines—latitude and longitude—and drew out almost 10,000 locations. He also knew that it was necessary to have a 2-dimensional map even knowing that the world was round.

Other Notable Maps of the Ancient World 

After Ptolemy’s creation of geography, other societies also attempted to depict the world around them in a way that made it possible to understand and engage with. Some of the early maps that changed civilization are detailed below. 

A world map in 1154

This early Arabic-language geography guide drew on Jewish, Greek, Christian, and Islamic traditions. According to the Atlantic, early Muslim mapmakers had a tradition to put the south on top. This early map depicted blue seas surrounding the globe and was more concerned with accuracy without embellishments, monsters, or overly artistic additions. 

A Christian representation 1300

Another early map shows how Christians in medieval Europe saw the world. This map used biblical time as the main running theme, with a depiction of Christ looking over the entire globe. In the map, towns and cities are depicted while also showcasing biblical moments and places such as the Garden of Eden, Pillar of Hercules, a crucifix, Jerusalem in the center, and a representation of Africa, embellished with monsters. 

Early navigation map

Many experts say that this map, created by Gerardus Mercator, is one of the treasures of early maps. He attempted to mimic the curvature of the earth’s surface on a 2-dimensional representation. The image of this map shows that it was created for European navigators. Experts discuss the artistry of this map, as it represents some political conflicts from a distance—as if to suggest the minuscule nature of man compared to the incredible vastness of the world around us. It was this type of subjective representation that makes early maps a majestic historical document that speaks volumes about society at that moment in time. 

Mercator map for early navigation in 1569
Notable Cartographers the Helped to Build the Mapping Tradition 

Early mapmakers had limited tools at their disposal but they managed with their early understanding of the cosmos, compasses, and zenith telescopes. Early cartographers then depend a lot on their imagination and their limited knowledge. 

Fra Mauro

Mauro was a 15th-century Camaldolese monk who had a cartography studio in Venice around 1450 AD. His map is often considered one of the most well-known and beautiful pieces of medieval cartography. 

Gerardus Mercator

Mercator’s map was mentioned above. In fact, Mercator may be a recognizable name to many. The Mercator map projection is named after this map maker. This was created as a navigational tool in the 1500s. It was Mercator’s attempt to accurately depict the Earth’s curvature and taking that into consideration for navigation that put his name on the historical roles of map-makers. 

Land Surveyors, The Modern Map-Makers Working to Map Our World 

The above is only scratching the surface of the amazing history of map-making and cartography. Today, we have amazing technology helping improve the process. Of course, maps and our interaction with them have changed considerably today. As Google attempts to find the “perfect map” land surveyors across the globe continue to do their job of measuring landmasses and establishing property lines, boundaries, etc. 

Do you need property demarcation or a land survey of your property? Want to learn more about what we do? Connect with us at Land-Mark Land Surveying today. 

The Search for Shackleton’s Ship: The Man, The Myth, & the Land Surveying Legend

The Search for Shackleton’s Ship: The Man, The Myth, & the Land Surveying Legend

The early days of exploration are filled with eccentric historical characters that took incredible risks to venture forth into the unknown. The drive to be part of geographical and scientific discovery led many to treacherous lands. Explorers from Marco Polo (who traveled along the Silk Road) to Christopher Columbus (credited with discovering the new world’) and Ferdinand Magellan (the first European to cross the Pacific Ocean), the age of exploration was one of the exciting discoveries that would change the course of history and people’s understanding of the earth, its landmasses, its oceans, and its natural landscapes. 

Through it all, these explorers took on the role of land surveyor, as they all made notes and observations of the lands and used early land surveying instruments to navigate and orient themselves. 

This month, we go back in time to explore the story of Ernest Schakelton, a somewhat controversial and misunderstood historical figure.

The Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration and the Men That Searched for Answers 

During the late 19th century and early 20th century, Antarctica was (and continues to be to some extent) a mysterious muse that calls enticingly to the hearts of those with a dangerous proclivity for adventure and the unknown. During that time, Antarctica was a great mystery, one that promised a level of adventure to fulfill the innate drive of any curious explorer. The exploration of the “Tiera Incognita” was largely limited. 

In 1895, a Congress meeting in London declared the exploration of the Antarctic continent as “the greatest piece of geographical exploration still to be undertaken.” 

Ernest Shackleton, the Man 

Like many discovery expedition leaders of the time, Shackleton has accrued a certain amount of ‘street cred’ in the long list of fearless explorers. Before he set sail for the unknown, however, Shackleton was the son of a doctor born in Ireland. In his early teens, his family moved to London. Already harboring an innate call for adventure, young Shackleton would defy his father’s wishes of following in his footsteps and going to medical school for a chance to join the Royal Navy. He was only 16 when he joined and qualified as a master mariner in 1898. He traveled extensively with the Navy but had a secret love for the promise of exploring the Arctic, which was all the rage at the time. 

Ernest Shackleton, the Legend in the Making 

In 1901, young Ernest Shackleton got his first taste of polar exploration when he was chosen to go on the Arctic expedition led by the famous Robert Falcon Scott. They set sail on the ship ‘Discovery’ towards the South Pole and got closer than any other expedition had before. The ship traveled in harsh conditions and met severe resistance, but Shackleton became gravely ill and had to return home. 

About eight years after his first polar expedition, Shackleton returned to treacherous seas onboard the ship ‘Nimrod.’ On this voyage, his crew met some extraordinary circumstances, made some important discoveries, and climbed Mount Erebus. Upon his return to England, he was knighted. 

The Endurance Sets Sail 

In 1911, an expedition led by Roald Amundsen was the first to reach the South Pole. About a year later, another expedition led by Robert Falcon Scott also reached the South Pole, although without the knowledge that they had in fact been beaten by Amundsen’s party. Sadly, Falcon’s expedition perished on the return home. Amundsen’s expeditions, however, would bring back land survey data that would be useful to the scientific world including data that documented a great chain of mountains from Alaska to Patagonia. This ice barrier was believed to be a big obstacle to further Antarctic exploration. 

The Endurance Expedition was tasked with crossing the Antarctic continent from one end to the other through the South Pole. Despite the widespread news of Robert Falcon Scott’s tragic end in his expedition, volunteers jumped at the idea of sailing to those treacherous lands. The expedition was set to set sail as World War I was breaking out. Shackleton himself offered up his ship for the war cause but was told to proceed with the expedition. 

Once the Endurance set sail from a short stay in South Georgia where they collected provisions, the ship battled her way through thousands of miles of pack ice. 

A Ship Stuck in the Ice 

Then, the ice closed in around the ship. The ice around the ship gripped it tight and dragged it, drifting them further away from their intended course. The ship would be frozen in for the winter and one of two scenarios were likely to occur: 

  • The ice around the ship would melt in the Spring and set them free
  • The ice would continue to put pressure on the ship and crush it

Meanwhile on board, the crew played hockey and sports games on the ice, trying to make the best out of a dire situation. Eventually, the situation led Shackleton to conclude that the ship was lost and they must abandon it. This meant the crew was floating on ice with no hope of being rescued. 

The crew had to split up and Shackleton led a few men on a lifeboat to try and seek help at the nearest whaling station hundreds of miles away in South Georgia. It was a treacherous journey but the only hope. The men fought giant waves, cold weather, overcast skies (which hindered navigation) but they carried on. They managed. Once they made it to South Georgia, they had to cross mountains to reach the whaling station, another treacherous journey. They finally reached it and made their plea to go back and rescue the others. Shackleton did not give up on the remaining men and managed to get boats and help to go back and rescue half of his crew left behind. Not a single man of Shackleton’s 28-man crew was lost. 

The Adventurous Spirit and The Advancement of Land Surveying and Navigation

The spirit of discovery and understanding our planet is still very much part of land surveying all over the world. In Feb 2022, an expedition led by advanced technological land surveying and navigating equipment will attempt to locate and find Shackleton’s lost ship.
And while we’re not out exploring the South Pole, Land-Mark Land Surveyors continue the tradition of land surveying here in the Southwest. We survey land before it is used for residential or commercial purposes. Call us to learn more!

Land Surveying in Harsh Environments: Helping Map the Mysteries of Antarctica 

Land Surveying in Harsh Environments: Helping Map the Mysteries of Antarctica 

Human beings have done a lot of exploring since modern civilizations began and ships, automobiles, and airplanes allowed for the traversal across oceans and vast landmasses. There are still places out there, however, that remain to be fully understood.

Antarctica, the fifth-largest continent, with 5.4 million square miles, storage of the planet’s fresh water supply, and a variety of penguins, polar bears, and other animal life is still largely a mystery. Land surveyors, among others, are part of the group of people that have helped understand this amazing landmass little by little. 

How do land surveyors work in such harsh environments? What is their role in the slow uncovering of Antarctica’s secrets? 

Let’s survey some of the details.

Land Surveyors as Outdoor Explorers — How We Map Harsh Terrain 

While many jobs adjusted to the covid pandemic and switched to remote or work-from-home models, land surveyors were doing anything but. Their job cannot be done remotely, nor can it be neglected or left to chance. Precision is everything in land surveying, as it contributes to the mapping and understanding of the landscape while being essential to the building of infrastructure. The United States Antarctic Program (USAP) is a government-sponsored program that represents the country in the region. The program strives to encourage international cooperation, maintain a presence in the region, and conduct quality science research there. 

Well-known land surveyor Jeffrey Scannielo is part of a team that works in the Antarctic region. McMurdo Station is the U.S. station in Antarctica and is at the tip of Ross Island about 2, 415 miles south of Christchurch, New Zealand. Most of the field research and activities go through this station. Scannielo— a licensed surveyor in the state of Colorado— was working doing land surveying to help build runways for McMurdo. The runways are essential for planes landing and scientists, biologists, and other researchers to come in.

Scannielo explains part of his mission was monitoring the sea ice conditions for aircraft/vehicle safety. He had to do this in temperatures that raked below -62 F with wind chill. That’s a brisk day at the office! He explains how modern technology has helped land surveyors in dealing with the job in harsh environments such as this. Current GPS receivers, for example, have increased field productivity.  The equipment today is efficient, stable, and resilient, which helps when you’re dealing with icy conditions. 

Land Surveyors in Antarctica — Just Another Day at the Office

When land surveyors work in the United States, there are a series of tools that allow them to predict the conditions on the ground. That is, accurate weather reports and forecasts can tell a surveyor a lot about the kind of landscape they’re going into. That’s not the case in Antarctica. Land surveyor David Scott realized this when working in the region. He recounts how doing work down there always has some uncertainty, as you never know what kind of conditions you will run into. 

Part of his job was also to survey the land to help airplanes land in the area. The issue is the runways in Antarctica are always shifting because of winds and weather conditions. Every year, surveyors have to measure longitudes and latitudes in extreme weather including high winds and low temperatures. Land surveyors have a great responsibility on their shoulders to maintain their equipment and avoid losing precision.

Runways and airfields are important in the Arctic region because harsh weather makes landing difficult. So airplanes have to use instruments to know where the runway is in order to land safely, and to do that, they need accurate measurements of latitude and longitude. 

Survey Instruments in Harsh Weather

Land surveying is not only difficult on the land surveyor but also on the equipment needed to make accurate measurements. In early expeditions to extreme weather, telescopes and compasses were covered in leather to protect them. The knobs on the early theodolites were also wrapped in leather to shield them from the cold. Thanks to advancements in this field, the equipment built today are far more durable and withstands a lot more harsh weather, helping the crew get the job done. Data collection has also become easier thanks to some of the instruments, which ensures that no data is lost. 

Land Surveyors in the El Paso and Southwest Regions

While we haven’t made our way to Antarctica quite yet, we are here to serve the Southwest region in providing accurate land surveying services. Whether you’re looking to build something on your property, working with government contractors on infrastructure, or building a commercial facility, we have the team, the expertise, and the equipment to do the job.  

Want to learn more about our land surveying services? Contact us today

The Artillery Surveyor: The Amazing Role of Land Surveying in World War II


Squad of soldiers on historical reconstruction of the Second World War.

The conflict that tore through the mid 20th century happened on all multiple fronts, involving dozens of nations, territories, armies, and affecting millions of people across the world. The casualties of the war do not begin to tell the story of its effects. And yet, it was during the war efforts that nations like the United States rose to the occasion and produced great technological achievements while deploying high-level skill, craft, and expertise. The war was not just about the soldiers on the frontlines. It was about using all skills to win the war. 

So what does this have to do with land surveyors? These guys played an important role in very specific frontline maneuvers. 

Land Surveyors in the War Effort

An example of one of these battalions was the 16th  Field  Artillery Observation  (FAOB) Battalion. These units were not exactly making the headlines or making the front page of the newspaper, but they were quietly playing a very important role. 

Their mission was a technical one.

They were to determine the range of sound and flash in order to produce adequate counter-battery fire. These were also termed observation battalions, as most of their jobs consisted of observing and notating, then putting that information to work. There was a survey officer, which was the center of the surveying expertise of the battalion. 

Where Did These Units Come From? 

The officers of these units were experts in their field. The surveying experience was drawn from the Coast and Geodetic Survey, which were detailed for this task for the duration of the war during World War II. The C&GS was composed of military engineers and civilians with varying degrees of expertise in surveying, seafloor and airways charting, mapping coastlines, oceanography, and geophysics.  These were expert surveyors with plenty of experience, although not necessarily in the frontline of the battle.

Most of the men in the C&GS were hardened military engineers that were used to years out in field missions attached to survey vessels. Their lifestyle was characterized by going out on a mission of mapping or surveying land that lasted for days to months to years. As the war broke out, these guys were transferred to the Navy, Army, or the Marine Corps. 

What Was the Mission? 

So what were these guys responsible for? To put it simply, identifying and mapping enemy fire. As these teams located the enemy fire points, they could direct counterfire. 

As the American Surveyor chronicles, the ultimate goal was to tie all artillery weapons and observation systems onto a common grid to direct the “putting iron on target.” This process was highly technical and skilled in an endeavor termed Time on Target (ToT) and was grounded on the survey work performed by the surveyors. 

American artillery efforts were a major force in the advancement of the infantry in all theaters of war. The ability to identify and target enemy fire was a factor in American supremacy as they advanced in both the European and Pacific theaters. 

The Central Requirements for Successful Survey of Enemy Fire

The three basic requirements needed to accomplish this intricate game of precision:

  • The precise location of the home team’s gun placements 
  • The precise identification of the target’s (enemy fire) location
  • The ability to determine the azimuth of the target

This was the realm of the artillery surveyor. The azimuth in land surveying is at the center of surveying methods. It is a horizontal angle of the line when the zero is at astronomic north. The angles are measured clockwise and provide the precision needed to identify a location and strike with efficiency.

Artillery Surveyor Showing Bravery Under Fire

So while we don’t often hear of these missions that played a pivotal role in the advancement of artillery and the success in the frontlines, their accomplishments have been well recorded in the history books. One of the most famous of these surveyors was an officer called David Whipp. He was awarded the Silver Star, Legion of Merit, and the French Croix de Guerre. 

While assisting the infantry in the African theater, Whipp led the survey control of artillery attack across dangerous terrain and in ‘disregard for his own safety.’ He accomplished survey control of the area quickly and despite being under heavy enemy fire. 

His mission was to identify and establish survey control of an observation post. Whipp set up the surveying instruments and equipment while under fire. During this, he observed enemy fire and although not trained in artillery himself, was able to call in the points to Corps Artillery fire direction center by radio and direct fire to the enemy battery. 

Whipps’ unit saw plenty of frontline action. It was recorded that the First Field Artillery Observation Battalion saw more combat than almost any other unit in the War. This meant over 900 days on the lines. Whipp went on to fight in Sicily and some of his letters home are recorded in the historical record. His letters reveal a man of profound intelligence and a soldier at heart. Some of his letters provide great insight into the role of the artillery surveyor and how they were the first ones out on the land when preparing for an attack.

A soldier and a surveyor, fighting with heart, grit, and love of the land. 

Land Surveying as an Essential Tool Then and Now

The need for precise land surveying is needed just as much today. 

Here at home, Land-Mark Land Surveying is part of the team that works on numerous projects and we take our responsibility very seriously. Lucky for us, we’re not under fire that often!

Want to learn more about what we do and how we could get your project off the ground? Call Land-Mark today. 

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