How Land Surveying Influenced One of America’s Favorite Poet & Essayists

by

A stamp with Henry David Thoreau

Many prominent people have gotten their start or dabbled in the art of land surveying. As we’ve covered in previous posts, well-known American figures have connected with the land through the art of land surveying. The work is ideal for those who see the beauty of the natural world. During the mid 19th century, America produced many memorable poets and writers that were essential in articulating and refining the American ethos and the philosophies of the New World. One name that is synonymous with harmonious living in the natural world — particularly as technology and cities began to grow— was Henry David Thoreau, known as an American environmental writer and essayist. When he wasn’t philosophizing and thinking profoundly about man’s relationship to nature, Thoreau was working as a land surveyor. 

The Mark of Land Surveying on the Life of a Profound Thinker

Classical education in American history will likely come across the likes of Massachusetts native Henry David Thoreau and his work. With such well-composed life advice and profound thinking, Thoreau was known for his thoughts on capitalism, nature, and the individual. The son of a pencil factory owner, Thoreau became an apprentice to Ralph Walde Emerson—another big name in American literature. This meant that young Thoreau would be heavily steeped in the Transcendental tradition of his mentor. For the Transcendentalist, the way to a meaningful life was in the ability to hold oneself or maintain one’s separation from the material world and material wealth. This was an American delineation of the British Romantics, who saw the natural world as the arbiter towards spiritual transcendence and peace.  Emerson wrote, “Mind is the only reality, of which all other natures are better or worse reflectors. Nature, literature, history, are only subjective phenomena.” This type of transcendentalist thinking was to inform much of Thoreau’s work, although he would depart from heavily discounting the power of nature on individual development. On the contrary, Thoreau put a lot more significance on nature and its presence in our lives. 

Perhaps a little less known fact about the famous writer was that he was also a strong-minded abolitionist who participated in the Underground Railroad and railed heavily against slavery. During this time as a conductor at the Underground Railroad, he helped several slaves escape to Canada. 

A Young Land Surveyor Uses Surveying to Inform His Work 

As Thoreau worked parceling land that would be sold off to loggers. He used land surveying as his day job and dedicated himself to writing on his time off. He became Concord’s head surveyor in 1851. A close look at land surveying of the 19th century reveals that there were no licensing requirements to do the work. So land surveyors relied heavily on recommendations and their past work to vouch for them. Thorough was a man known in the surveying community as a man of integrity and this fared well for his ability to continue getting work. 

The US Coast Survey formed in 1807 was important for the young land surveyor. The survey was conducted under the public spotlight and brought questions to the forefront about the role of science in democracy. These early surveys often had a significant impact on the shaping of society and people’s understanding of private property in the early days of the nation. 

Land Surveying in the Mid 19th Century

The century has many important people working as land surveyors, but the work itself — done across the country — would help shape so much of America today. One of the most famous texts was the 18th-century treatise called “The Complete Surveyor or the Whole Art of Surveying Land.” This book was influential for other early surveyors including George Washington and Henry David Thoreau. The process of land surveying looked a little like this:

  • The selling or distribution of the land to a prospective owner 
  • A prospective landowner would obtain a warrant 
  • A surveyor would go out to the location with the prospective owner 
  • They would mark out and demarcate the property line
  • The surveyor would prepare a plat or special map of the boundaries 
  • The surveyor would include a textual description
  • This document would serve as the deed to the land 

The Long Tradition of Land Surveying in America 

These figures have included the first president of the United States, George Washington, and founding father Thomas Jefferson. We have also covered the Lewis and Clarke expedition that gave way to a better understanding of the American Western frontier. The Lewis and Clarke expedition helped the American expansion efforts. In Europe at this time, land surveying would use a lot of transits, theodolites, and star charts, early surveying in the colonies used a different method that involved a long Gunter’s Chain to measure and demarcate the property. Most of the land surveyed east of the Ohio River was done using this method.

Land Surveying You Can Trust in the El Paso Area 

Here at Land-Mark, we continue the great tradition of land surveying. The great predecessors of the industry have left behind great lessons of land surveying and much of their history. 

As one of the Southwest’s most dependable land surveying firms, we are ready to help you survey your land with accuracy and reliability. Call us today and find out more about what we do.

The Amazing Story of Lewis & Clark: America’s Most Famous Land Surveyors (Part I) 

by

two male surveyors working at mining site

You are given a hand compass and told to go off into this unknown territory and come back with a map and detailed drawings of the land. No GPS. No smartphone. No calls to mom. No helicopter to rescue you. It would be quite the feat! Many people today are used to the convenience and accuracy of GPS for navigation. If you drive into a new city, you likely use navigation tools to find the nearest burger place, hotel, or shopping center. 

It wasn’t always like that. In fact, going into the unknown was part of this country’s early history. Somebody had to do it. That person (among others, of course) was Meriwether Lewis and William Clark when they set off West to map the unknown lands beyond the Mississippi River. This incredible history shows just how vast and expansive the United States was and is an inspiring real story of the American spirit on a tumultuous journey. 

In past posts, we’ve explored the incredible technology that is changing and enhancing the work of land surveyors across the world. From drones to GPS to smart technology, mapping our world has improved through the implementation of these tools. We thought we’d go back in time to a story that had none of those technologies and surveyed over 8,000 miles with not much more than a pen, paper, and a whole lot of grit. 

It Begins With the Son of a Surveyor and a Notable Name in American History 

For most people, Thomas Jefferson is the name behind the Declaration of Independence and the third president of the United States of America.  He is known as one of the most notable founding fathers who wrote and spoke eloquently about the role of government, led the revolutionary cause, and worked for the republic moving forward. A little unknown fact about Jefferson is that he was a son of a land surveyor and a land surveyor himself.  He was exposed to the world of mapping and charting as a young boy and for a time considered pursuing this as his profession. Because of his exposure to the line of work, Jefferson understood the importance and necessity of having accurate maps and surveys of one’s country. He knew that a new nation attempting to build itself could not do without the knowledge of its own lands. 

As president, Jefferson emphasized the importance of the landowner and the central role they played in building the country. All of this fueled his ambitions for discovery and exploration, as well as an understanding of what lay beyond the recent territories the country had just acquired. 

The Louisiana Purchase obtained after a negotiation had added 827,000 square miles to the United States. This was a lot of unexplored territories. Jefferson was already calling for it to be surveyed. He appointed his secretary, Meriwether Lewis, a known surveyor as well, to lead the expedition. Lewis would choose his friend William Clark and together they would put together a team that would change American history and set an example for pioneers everywhere. 

The Two Men That Would Spearhead the Corps of Discovery 

Like many early pioneers, William Clark and Meriwether Lewis were men of their era: smart, with a drive for adventure, and a relentless spirit. Lewis went to college in his home state of Virginia and graduated in 1793, no small feat at the time. He joined the Virginia state militia and took part in putting a stop to the Whiskey Rebellion. He would go on to become captain of the U.S Army, and at the ripe age of 27, he became a personal secretary to the President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson. 

William Clark joined the state militia of Kentucky when he was nineteen and would go on to serve in the regular Army. He served with his future partner Lewis and would be commanded by George Washington himself as a lieutenant of infantry. 

Survey Instruments Used For the Treacherous Expedition

It might be interesting to note that Thomas Jefferson taught Lewis the basic principles of determining latitude by observing altitudes of the sun or a star with an octant. Both Lewis and Clark understood that this was not a journey to take lightly. Both prepared adequately for the journey Jefferson also sent him for formal education and once appointed to head the expedition, Lewis began studying medicine, botany, astronomy, and zoology. He would study and analyze existing maps and journals. Some of the surveying tools they had at the time included:

  • Compass
  • Quadrants
  • Telescopes
  • Sextants
  • Chronometer
  • Tape measure
  • Thermometers 
  • Plotting instruments

Soon, this dynamic duo would set out for the unexplored wildlands of the West. In Part II, we’ll explore their journey, what they ran into, and what they found after miles and miles of exploration, map-making, surveying, and endless adventure. 

Here at Land-Mark professional surveying, we have slightly more sophisticated equipment than Lewis and Clark, but we see every job as an adventure. For a professional land survey, contact Land-Mark today. 

A Land Surveyor’s Tool Kit: What We Use in The Field

by

A young surveyor takes measurements on the road while the sun rises in the morning

As land surveyors, we have to carry around a great deal of equipment. We’re often mistaken for photographers because of our tripods, but the rest of our gear quickly dispels that thought. We deal with precise measurements, so it’s crucial to have the right tools on hand. Here we’d like to teach more about our equipment, so you can see us and not mistake us for dedicated Instagram photographers.

  1. Theodolite –  A theodolite is a surveying instrument with a telescope for measuring horizontal and vertical angles. Some land surveying crews use transits and total stations as well, which are used for the same purpose. These can be very pricey; they can range from $200 to over $50,000 in retail price!
  2. Surveying Tripod – Be sure not to spend all your money on the theodolite, because it needs a place to sit as well. The survey tripod is a sturdy tripod that is designed to move as little as possible for accurate measurements.
  3. Hand Tools – Besides the main equipment, a surveyor will need a host of other equipment to do the job well. Rope and measuring tape are great for rough measurements and marking, while items like picks and saws help clear debris to properly survey. 
  4. Clipboard – All the data needs to go somewhere, right? A clipboard and pencil are necessary to take measurements or notes down onto paper, or a good PDA would suffice as well.

Land Surveying Done Right

If you’re in need of a land survey, Land-Mark Professional Surveying is the best in the southwest. We work in Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona, and provide quality land surveying for all of our clients. Contact us to see what we can do for you! 

Land Surveying: The Best First Step You Can Take

by
Land Surveying: The Best First Step You Can Take

Land surveyors measuring with tacheometer speaking through transmitterFor many people, owning land is a lifelong dream. If you’ve achieved this dream, you need to look into land surveying services before you break ground and start construction. This way, you won’t face any nasty legal battles in the future. You see, avoiding surveying your land can cause adjacent landowners to seek legal ramifications against you, which can quickly turn your dream of being a landowner into a nightmare.

The Best First Step

When buying land, most people have a somewhat vague understanding of where their land’s borders are. The land seller might’ve said that the land is a few acres across, but how are you to know exactly where your land ends and your neighbor’s beings? This is where we come into play. By using state-of-the-art technology, Land-Mark Professional Land Surveying is able to provide the most accurate information so your dream can proceed without a single hitch. Our services are reliable. In fact, countless individuals and companies alike rely on us for all their land surveying needs.

It’s Time To Get Started!

So, if you’re ready to get started on the right foot, give us a call! We always strive to offer top-notch service to our clients. In fact, we also love talking about our services and processes so you can be as enlightened in the art of land surveying as us! Nothing should stand in your way when it comes to achieving your dreams. Contact Land-Mark Professional Land Surveying today.

The Path Forward: Understanding the Importance of Land Surveying

by

mount rushmore with a beautiful blue sky as a backdropHere’s a fun fact for you, did you know that three of the four presidents immortalized on Mount Rushmore were land surveyors? It’s true. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln were all proud of land surveyors. It’s a beautiful thought; these men who basically build the America we know and love today also played their part in literally surveying America’s own land. The importance of land surveyors goes as far back as history immemorial. If you’re looking for land surveying assistance in the Southwest region, give Land-Mark Professional Land Surveyors a call!

What Goes Into Land Surveying

Although there have been many advancements in modern technology that have made land surveying as accurate as possible, the basic tenets of land surveying are the same as they were in Washington’s day. The measuring of properties and land in order to determine boundaries is as important in this day and age as it was back when the Louisiana Purchase first went through. Let’s say you purchased some land and you plan to develop said land. Before doing so, you must have it surveyed by a professional land surveyor. Avoiding this can lead to many issues in the future.

The Right First Step

Just imagine, you buy land, develop it, and build a shopping center over it. Then, a few years later, you find out the person who owns the plot of land adjacent to yours wants to develop it as well and a land surveyor determines you built on the neighboring land. This will undoubtedly lead to litigation and other legal issues you’d rather avoid. So, before breaking ground, hire a land surveyor. With their findings, you’ll be able to take the first steps towards building whatever you may have in mind. Even if you’re not currently planning on developing your land, it’s still a good idea to have it surveyed. This information will be incredibly useful, no matter what you plan to do with your land.

Putting Your Best Foot Forward

If you’re ready to partake in the century-long tradition of land surveying, then contact Land-Mark Land Surveying! We are the area’s foremost land surveying team which means our work is second to none. When it comes to land surveying, it’s in your best interest to not cut corners; the end result may be more harmful than good and you’ll have to face the negative ramifications further on down the road. Let our team survey your land so you can move ahead with your dreams, whatever they may be.

What Can I Do If My Neighbor Builds on My Property?

by
What Can I Do If My Neighbor Builds on My Property?

Imagine this: you’ve finally found that white-picket fence, American dream of a house that you’ve always wanted and dreamed about, and then…your neighbor starts building on your property. Whether it’s a fence that cuts into your yard or you find your neighbor pruning what doesn’t belong to him, property disputes with neighbors are actually quite common, especially when there aren’t clear barriers or lines denoting whose property is whose. Here are a few things you can do if you find yourself dealing with a property dispute.

#1: Start With a Civil Discussion

Many times, when property disputes happen, simply talking to your neighbor about it can oftentimes resolve the problem. But we know that isn’t always the case, especially when the borders dividing your yards aren’t so cut and dry. If a civil discussion doesn’t cut it, don’t fret because there are other options for you.

#2: Bring it Up With a Property Manager

If you’re renting your property, your property manager may be able to help you resolve the dispute, especially if they are renting out your neighbor’s property as well, as is the case for many neighborhoods in El Paso. However, we’ve seen that many property disputes happen between two people who own the home they live in. If that’s the case, obviously this step is one you can skip.

#3: Contact a Land Surveyor to Help

A land surveyor’s job involves surveying land to identify property lines, among other things. So, if there is a dispute between you and your neighbor, a land surveyor can help you identify where your property lines fall so you and your neighbor can build and install to your heart’s’ content without worrying about building on each other’s property.

#4: Talk to a Lawyer as a Last Resort

If all else fails, a lawyer can help you dispute the barriers as well using the information the land surveyor gathers about your property lines. It’s a worst case scenario but sometimes it has to be done.

The Importance of Land Surveying and Property Lines

Land surveying is important for all sorts of functions in life, from architecture and homebuilding to economics and landscaping. Land surveying can identify property lines, help people build and expand thoughtfully, and can help with things like habitat preservation. At Land-Mark Professional Surveying, Inc., we can help people dispute property boundary issues civilly. Call us today to learn more!

Are You Dealing With a Property Dispute? Land Surveying Can Help

by

land surveyor

While there is typically a fence or barrier that tells commercial property owners where their land begins and ends, when a conflict coming from their neighbor arises, it can be complicated or downright impossible to settle the dispute. Many times these invisible borders aren’t enough to determine where one property owner’s land begins and where the neighboring property begins.  This is where land surveying comes in.

Common Property Disputes

It’s often assumed that when you purchase a piece of land there exists a boundary set in stone. Although this is often the case, in some cases, such as with a change of ownership, the new owner can come in and request to place a wall or fence along his property. It’s common courtesy to speak to the neighbor prior to making any changes but it’s not required. If the neighbor sees an issue with the new fence or wall, he or she can argue that it’s obstructing or interfering with his or her piece of land. They can say that it’s interfering with their view or preventing others from seeing their property, creating a blockade if you will. Moreover, land disputes often come about when property owners decide to make additions to their building such as spreading out the parking lot, adding a front entrance, or extending their offices.  

Requesting a Land Survey

Bringing in an unbiased, independent party will help meddle the constant bickering. Who wants to live this way, anyway? A land surveyor will conduct a physical lot line assessment and mark the boundaries that are in accordance with the local, state, and national guidelines. Although many times the land survey provides answers from a legal standpoint, if the issues get out of hand, the land survey can be court-ordered. The goal is to provide answers and have them solidified from a legal stand-point.  

Why It Matters

Owning a piece of land is a huge investment. As the owner, it’s important that you do your part to protect your land. A land survey is the best way to provide answers and set the record straight. Even if your neighbor has already put up a fence, you still have the right to dispute the area it currently occupies. Lot line conflicts are quite common, which is why land surveyors are ready to settle the arguments.

Contact Land-Mark Professional Surveying

For professional service, contact Land-Mark. We’re licensed in Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. As experienced land surveyors, we’ll provide the tangible and legal answers you need to keep your property protected. Connect with us today to learn more!

Copyright © 2016 Land-Mark Professional Surveying, Inc. All rights reserved.
Privacy Policy

Email Us

Your message was successfully sent. Thank You!