Surveying and map-making began as a treacherous and rather dangerous enterprise. It wasn’t for the faint of heart. Lewis and Clark were one of history’s most important land surveyors. They and their crew would be responsible for changing the course and expansion of America. In our last post, we explored the background of Lewis and Clark and some of the surveying tools that they would take on their journey. Today we continue our remembrance of this historic expedition and the surveying marvels that were born from this trek across unknown lands.
Two Surveyors, a Guide, & Thousands of Miles
In addition to their early surveyor tools like compasses, quadrants, telescopes, and chronometers, Lewis and Clark also gathered other necessary equipment. Some of these included weapons and ammunition, medical supplies and medicines, books on botany, geography, and astronomy, maps, as well as gifts to present to Native Americans they knew they’d run into including beads, face paint, ivory combs, and more.
The duo recruited 45 brave souls to join them on their way westward. Among these were 27 unmarried men, a French-Indian interpreter, a boat crew, and Clark’s slave known as York. One other unique characteristic about the Corps was the fact that it was a rather eclectic and diverse bunch. In addition to the Southern roots of Lewis and Clark, there was his slave, a one-eyed-part-French-part-Omaha-Indian fiddler player, a German named John Potts, and the famous Sacagawea, a Shoshone Indian.
Both Lewis and Clark knew the journey would require incredible tenacity and discipline and so they ran a tight ship.’ Historical accounts describe how the corps was led with an iron fist, including harsh punishments like bareback lashing and hard labor for dissidents or uncooperative members of the team. It is the ultimate adventure story, only one person of the crew would die during the journey—a 22-year-old who died of an abdominal infection.
The team headed northwest along the Missouri River. Thomas Jefferson tasked them with several missions and goals for the expedition. These included finding and mapping a route across the continent, making detailed observations and notes regarding the natural geography, landscapes, and natural resources out West. At the same time, the team was meant to establish good relationships with native peoples along the way to interrupt the British dominance of the fur trade in the areas.
By mid-October, the expedition had reached the Mandan villages on the Missouri River. This important trading place allowed them to make some connections and talk to others about possible routes westward. The team had moved to South Dakota, North Dakota, and Montana. From the Mandan Villages, the crew was now facing the Rocky Mountains, the highest mountain range. One famous story was of Merriweather Lewis falling 20 feet into a cavern, was poisoned, and then shot in the thigh.
The now-famous Sacajawea, the wife of one of the Frenchmen in the expedition, proved to be invaluable for the success of the journey, as her language skills and knowledge of the territory proved essential. By the winter of 1805, they had reached the Columbia River and made a transcontinental crossing north of Mexico.
By the end, the expedition has traveled about 8,000 miles while pushing, pulling, and hauling ‘the boat’, the famous keelboat of the Corps, facing harsh storms, weather, hunger, thirst, and one or two run-ins with bears, friendly and not-so-friendly Indians, exhaustion, sleeplessness, mosquitoes, venereal disease, dysentery, boils, ticks, injuries, and God knows what else. The crew also found themselves face-to-face with some elk, buffalo, and deer, which they kindly turned into campfire dinners.
Throughout the trek, many of the men kept detailed journals, which would serve them well, as many of the maps and drawings they tried to send back to Jefferson during their journey never made it through. Finally, the crew made it to the West Coast, moving through northern Montana, Oregon, and present-day Washington onto Ft. Clatsop.
The Land Surveyors Return Home to a Hero’s Welcome
When Merriweather Lewis and William Clark returned to St. Louis with their crew, they were celebrated as pioneers and heroes of the time. The crew arrived back in St. Louis in September. The Corps of Discovery go their own way, but Lewis is named governor of the Louisiana Territory, while Clark becomes an Indian agent for the West. Most of the intended goals of the journey were met. This included establishing diplomatic relationships with Native Americans. The crew held councils with Indians and participated in events with them. Upon his return, Lewis had identified 178 plants including bitterroot, prairie sagebrush, Douglas fir, and ponderosa pine. They had also identified 122 animals such as grizzly bears, prairie dogs, and pronghorn antelope.
A Tradition of Land Surveying Continues With Unprecedented Precision
Lewis and Clark’s journey is seen differently among historians. For many, the journey was one of the first tales of American exceptionalism and would spearhead a movement of westward expansion and discovery. Others focus on the tragedies that plagued the journey. In the end, the expedition’s contributions to early maps of American territory are indisputable. The flourishing country understood its terrain and natural resources much more in-depth than it did before 1804.
As land surveyors, we can only admire the skill and technical understanding of Lewis and Clark in their creation of maps. Their understanding of geography, astronomy, and climate, allowed them to make extraordinary conclusions that turned out to be quite accurate.
While the process is much different today, here at Land-Mark Land Surveying, we move forward with creating detailed and accurate land surveys for construction, government contracts, and more. Connect with us to find out more!
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:
- Tape measure
- 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.
Much of the world hit the pause button in the middle of March up to May and even continuing on into the summer of 2020. It has been a strange year for everyone worldwide but despite the many changes and shifts, land surveyors have continued to do their jobs in mapping out our world. As it turns out, surveying land is a pretty essential endeavor and one that we may not realize impacts our lives pretty significantly. The last few decades have had a considerable effect on land surveying, as technologies have improved and embedded themselves in the process. We thought we’d take a look at some of the changes in the industry in the past couple of years and how we have coped with the changes of the virus.
The Close Call — Keeping Land Surveyors Working Through the Pandemic
Across the country, governors made moves to protect their populations by shutting down what they considered ‘non-essential’ businesses. This led to a lot of other businesses to question the metric of ‘essential.’ Who, after all, decides what is essential and what is not in American life. Surveyors across the country began to make a case for their services as quite essential.
President Trump issued two national emergency declarations under the Stafford Act and the National Emergencies Act. Several players petitioned to keep surveying operations open and exempt from the governor’s orders. The letter making this case was shared with other parties including the National Society of Professional Surveyors, which encouraged surveyors all across the country to send to their governors preemptively to prevent shutdowns of surveying operations. While some governors exempted surveyors by name, others did not consider our work particularly necessary. Many appealed this by showing how surveyors are actually critical to the economic well-being of the state. The reason being that many government construction or private construction, building permits, or other infrastructure cannot proceed without a survey.
According to many surveyors across the country, some private-sector jobs have been put on hold by the pandemic but many public sector jobs have increased. This might be because localities and other entities are taking advantage of the reduced traffic and crowds to work on important city projects.
At the same time, land surveyors are not exactly working amidst large crowds. Our profession is pretty isolated and doesn’t require large teams or working in highly trafficked areas. All of our work can easily be done with social distancing and by taking precautions. Here at Land-Mark, we continue to do our important work while ensuring that all of our workers and any member of the public we might come across, is protected.
Another aspect of our industry that has changed considerably has been the use of new technologies. These, of course, have been in the works for many years at this point. We’ve written about how GPS technology specifically has altered our industry, but technology has impacted us in several ways:
Accuracy: Modern instruments allow land surveyors to have an accuracy of measurements. Compared to the tools in use even a decade ago, the accuracy has improved exponentially.
Speed: Today, the speed of the surveying process has also greatly been improved by technology. Accurate results can be presented in a few hours, allowing for projects and infrastructure to get rolling. With the use of drones, for example, areas can be surveyed without exceeding human effort.
Improved possibilities: Development really begins with the land surveys and thanks to the improvement of technology, we are able to create surveys that create even more building possibilities. A lot of cities that are approaching development in a smarter, high-tech way, is a result of improved results in the land surveying arena.
As cities grow, there might be limited space available and large metropolitan areas have to get creative about the way they develop some of these areas. Cities often have to perform complex planning in small and complicated areas. Land surveying is imperative when looking to make the most out of space.
As we look to the uncertain future, we know that land surveying will continue to improve as technology improves. Automation and artificial intelligence will surely trickle into the industry, as they have already begun to do so. The use of drones, for example, has become useful in surveying difficult terrain. Other features like cloud-based storage and instant data seem to be right on the horizon.
Get Accurate Land Surveys for Your Project
Whether you are involved in a private contract, government contract, or public sector infrastructure project, Land-Mark Land Surveying is here to provide the quality land survey you need. Get the right view of the land and proceed with confidence.
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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
For 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.
Land surveying may seem like a simple, easily explainable task but it provides much-needed information for a variety of instances. By making these precise measurements, surveyors are able to determine property boundaries, thus avoiding any legal disputes over who owns which part of the land. Land surveyors are mostly used prior to land development. They’re basically the cartographers who draw a map upon which architects will be able to build the dreams of the land owner. Surveyors, along with their handy theodolites, are able to determine boundaries, but they can also do so much more. Keep reading to learn more about the various types of land surveyors out there.
Not all surveyors measure land to determine boundaries. Forensic surveyors, for example, use their skills to survey and record scenes of accidents. This is done in order to determine potential landscape effects.
Ever wonder how maps like Google Earth come to be? Well, geodetic surveyors play a major role in these aspects. By using highly advanced technology, geodetic surveyors are able to measure large areas of Earth. Satellite and aerial observations give the surveyor an astronaut’s point of view, thus giving them the ability to measure Earth itself.
From space, we now go into the ocean itself. Hydrographic surveyors (also known as marine surveyors) use their surveying skills to study harbors and other bodies of water. This is done in order to determine shorelines. Hydrographic surveyors also determine the topography of the ocean floor and water depth, among many other features.
The title speaks for itself but mine surveyors use their surveying abilities to map the tunnels that make up mines underground. They can also survey surface mines in order to determine how many materials have been mined.
Land Surveyors for Your Needs
The wide world of land surveying is incredibly exciting. And, thanks to advancements in technology, land surveyors are now able to survey more efficiently than ever before. It’s necessary to point out that the most common of land surveyors partake in the art of determining boundaries, and they take great pride in helping landowners avoid legal disputes. Our team, at Land-Mark Land Surveying, holds the importance of land surveying close to our hearts. Let us guide the way and shine a light with our theodolites. Contact Land-Mark Land Surveying today to learn more about what we can do for you.
Here’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.
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!
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!
Let’s transport ourselves to middle school history class. Do you recall the term “manifest destiny?” This was a 19th-century belief that the United States had a destiny (appointed by God) to expand across the entire North American continent. This was much more than a physical expansion of the nation; it was an expansion of the democracy and capitalism that was the foundation of the United States. Manifest destiny was much more than a belief, as it became a reality rather quickly. The Louisiana Purchase in 1803 doubled the size of the young United States, kicking manifest destiny into gear. Soon afterward, the famous Lewis and Clark expedition took place. Meriwether Lewis and William Clark were both land surveyors (amongst many other things) so they were the perfect candidates for such an expedition. This is just one example of the importance of land surveyors in America’s history.
How the Dominion of the United States Spread from East to West
The United States acquired large parts of Mexico in the early and mid 19th century. By 1846, we acquired the Oregon Territory thanks to a treaty with Great Britain. By 1850, the United States had grown to the size it is today. Fewer than 100 years after we declared independence from England, the United States ostensibly quadrupled in size. This is where land surveyors came into play. With so much land available, it was necessary for land surveyors to document each piece of the new America. Many land surveyors actually went on to become presidents of the United States. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln all held the title of land surveyor. In fact, it was Thomas Jefferson who sent Lewis & Clark on their famous expedition of the Louisiana Purchase.
Land Surveyors Continue Making History
Although the days of early America are far behind us, land surveying still plays a major role in our modern society. Today, land surveyors pinpoint where your particular land begins and ends so you won’t accidentally build over someone else’s land. Surveyors are able to set boundaries as well. Many things have changed since the days of Lewis & Clark. Now, we’re able to use highly advanced technology to garner the most accurate readings. If you own land and want to begin developing it, make sure to speak with a land surveyor from Land-Mark Professional Surveying. We offer our services to clients in the Southwest regions of El Paso and New Mexico. When you partake in land surveying, you’re partaking in American history!