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Welcome to the Huntsville Land Surveying website. This site is intended to provide info to find a Land Surveyor in the Huntsville, AL, and Madison County area of Alabama. If you’re looking for a Land Surveyor, you’ve come to the right site.

Land Surveyors are professionals who measure and make precise measurements to determine the size and boundaries of a piece of real estate.  While this is a simplistic definition, boundary surveying is one of the most common types of surveying related to home and land owners.

If you fall into the following categories, please click on the appropriate link for more information on that subject:

  1. I need to know where my property corners or property lines are. (Boundary Survey)
  2. I have a loan closing or re-finance coming up on my home in a subdivision. (Lot Survey)
  3. I need a map of my property with contour lines to show elevation differences for my architect or engineer. (Topo Survey)
  4. I’ve just been told I’m in a flood zone or I ‘ve been told I need an elevation certificate in order to obtain flood insurance or prove I don’t need it. (Flood Survey)
  5. I’m purchasing a lot/house in a recorded subdivision. (Lot Survey – See Boundary Survey)
  6. I’m purchasing a larger tract of land, acreage, that hasn’t been subdivided in the past. (Boundary Survey)
  7. I need to get some location and grades set on a construction project. (Construction Survey)
  8. I need a survey of a commercial or multi-family site that meets the ALTA Land Title Survey requirements. (ALTA Survey)

If your needs don’t fall into one of the above, don’t worry, we’ll get to the bottom of it.  CALL Huntsville Land Surveying TODAY at (256) 585-6002 to discuss your survey needs.

Huntsville Land Surveying

Huntsville Land Surveying



Glossary of Civil Engineering & Land Surveying Terms:

Easement – the privilege of using something that is not your own (as using another’s land as a right of way to your own.) Usually an easement has a special purpose and gives the owner of the easement right to “trespass” on the landowners property in order to maintain the easement or utility covered in the easement.

Encroachment – to intrude unrightfully on someone else’s rights or territory. This is when a building or some portion of it, or a wall or fence, extends beyond the boundary of the owner and illegally intrudes on the land of an adjoining owner.

Floodplain – floodplain or flood plain is the land area adjacent to a river, stream, lake, or other body of water that is subject to flooding. (See “flood” for more information.)

Metes and Bounds Legal – a land description method that details all of the boundary lines (bounds) of the land, together with the line dimensions & directions (metes). The most common method today is to use bearings and distances.

Drawing – an illustration that is drawn to scale that represents planned or actual features of an area. The survey drawing shows each property line with its distance and bearing, what marks the property corners, the improvements on the property, encroachments, easements, etc. The amount of information shown is dependent of the type of survey or the purpose.

Bearings – defines direction based on the four cardinal directions (north, south, east & west.) A bearing is comprised of three elements 1) the north or south element, 2) the bearing angle, and 3) the east or west element. For example N 24°15’ E is a line that runs in a direction of 24°15’ toward the east from the due north direction, or in a direction that is 24°15’ clockwise from the due north direction. (See figure.)

Monument – a fixed natural or artificial object that is found or set at a property corner to establish the boundaries of the property.

Parcel – a parcel of land is some defined amount of land defined by certain boundaries.  Another word for parcel of land could be “piece” of land.

Setback Lines – the distance from the property line or other established line within which no buildings may be constructed.  Also known as a building line.

Onsite Septic System – An onsite septic system is used in rural areas to dispose of household sewage.  The system normally contains a septic tank which allows the sewage to be “broken down” and field lines to dispose of the effluent.  It may occasionally contain an additional treatment system which “treats” the effluent to a higher level than the septic tank. To find your septic tank and field lines, look for the greenest grass.


How GPS is Used in Land Surveying

Land surveying is a profession that greatly utilize the GPS system.

How GPS is Used in Land Surveying

How GPS is Used in Land Surveying

Today, man-made constellations are in orbit. Their purpose is to provide instant, exact and global positioning information. This global positioning system of GPS is revolutionizing the modern construction sites, automating and guiding land surveying equipment, providing instantaneous circles and volume gap, simplifying total and controlled surveys. Nearly everyone involved in the land surveying and construction industry has heard something about satellite positioning technology or maybe you or someone you know is already using it. Whether an operator or a casual observer, there are still many questions about how this exciting system really works.

These positioning satellites don’t stay in one place like the stars; they orbit the earth about twice a day. Constantly transmitting uniquely identified radio signals that can be perceived by specialized units on earth. These signals are used to precisely measure the distance to the receiving instrument from each satellite visibly overhead.

Just as stars have exact locations in the sky, the locations of the GPS satellites are also defined, becoming orbiting reference points. Using a process based on triangulation, a GPS receiver processes the signals from multiple satellites to compute an accurate position on Earth, which is why it is widely use in land surveying.

For mobile applications that require high accuracy, such as three dimensional machine control, there are two requirements that must be met. First, the signals from a minimum of five satellites must be received at all times. And second, those five satellites must be distributed across the sky. This is called Dilution of Precision or DOP. The simple rule of thumb is this, the more satellites received the better your system will perform.

Land Surveying Huntsville Land Surveying

Land Surveying Huntsville Land Surveying

All land surveying receivers incorporate standard GPS tracking technology; unfortunately the GPS satellite constellation alone cannot continuously make the minimum requirement of accurate mobile positioning. For any given location, there are times in a day when there are less than five available satellites or very poor DOP.

Now, consider a land surveying job site with trees, buildings, or other obstructions when satellite receptions are easily be further reduced. All land surveying GPS receivers suffer this same problem because they all use the same satellites to operate.

Even the planned signal modernization to the GPS satellites won’t solve this problem. An obstruction that blocks one signal blocks all signals from that satellite. A land surveying equipment provider has solved this problem. The solution isn’t adding more signals from the same satellites; it’s adding more satellites.

Today, there is a second positioning satellite constellation in operation, the Glonass System. This positioning system is operated and maintained by the Russian government; much like the GPS is operated and maintained by the United States government; combining these two satellite constellations give land surveyors access to 38 different satellites; 14 more than a GPS-only system.

The additional satellites mean stronger and more accurate positions and better performance in obstructed land surveying areas. These additional satellites mean maximum up time in all land surveying locations, in all conditions.

For an up to date and accurate land surveying service, contact Huntsville Land Surveying at (256) 585- 6002 or better yet, you may fill out our contact form request and a licensed land surveyor will contact you. 


A licensed land surveyor trusts his GPS system like  his gun in a battlefield. Though it sometimes do not provide all the info that you may need, it is nonetheless very helpful in producing an accurate boundary survey.

Many have heard of “Big Brother” being able to track our movements. One of my favorite TV shows is “Person of Interest” where a secret machine keeps track of all conversations and people’s “criminal intent” in order to help the heroes stop the crimes before they happen.

While I’m SURE that there are tracking capabilities in most cell phones and different government agencies CAN track our locations, we might be a ways away them being able to determine criminal intent.  But there IS a recent application in England that I found very interesting.

Licensed Land Surveyor: Using GPS to Track You – Is It Real?

Licensed Land Surveyor: Using GPS to Track You – Is It Real?

Nestle (yes, the chocolate company) is placing GPS Trackers in six KIT KAT bars in their aptly named “We’ll Find You” marketing campaign in the UK. When the person opens the package it notifies KIT KAT and the prize delivery team will find them within 24 hours and present them with a check for £10,000 (about $16,000.) See the article here.

Just about all new type cell phones, all smart phones, iPads and other tablets, lots of cars (more than you think), public transportation vehicles, golf carts, and watches have GPS devices in them now days. Another place they are, and rightly so, are in ankle monitors used by law enforcement. But, what you might not realize is that the electronic devices mentioned above can work just like the ankle monitor. Now, while it is true that you can disable the GPS tracking device in your cell phone or tablet, that doesn’t give all of us complete comfort in walking around with these devices on us.

Now, I’m not trying to be a conspiracy wonk here, but it is POSSIBLE that this could be taken advantage of by well-meaning agencies. And, as we know, law enforcement can make mistakes in identifying the correct suspect.  Of course, as a licensed land surveyor myself, I WANT emergency services to be able to find me if and when I need their service, so this is a double edged sword. Most of us probably have nothing to worry about in this regard, but if you worry about this sort of thing, it could keep you up at night.

Licensed Land Surveyor: Using GPS to Track You – Is It Real?

Licensed Land Surveyor: Using GPS to Track You – Is It Real?

Even as a licensed land surveyor, having used GPS technology in land surveying for almost 20 years, I still trust them more than I should.

One example is when I was in an unfamiliar town my GPS navigation device told me to take a “road” to the right. I slowed down and attempted to turn but it was a power line.  Not wanting to believe that Gizell was wrong (yes I named her), I went to the next street and turned and tried to find the “road” further back. I ended up driving down the sandy power line, which turned into a bike lane until I was finally stopped by a gate. As I backed down the bike lane looking for a turn-around spot I thought, “maybe this wasn’t a road and maybe my GPS device is fallible.” Of course, I soon justified Gizell by recalling that a human had to “digitize” the roads in and she just did what they programmed her to do.

If you need to turn off your GPS tracking device in order to sleep tonight, call your device’s customer service line and stay away from KIT KAT bars. If you would like to find out how GPS surveying technology can help you in surveying your property boundary, call a Licensed Land Surveyor at Huntsville Land Surveying at (256) 585-6002.


Land Surveyor: Land Disputes Between Countries

Land Surveyor: Land Disputes Between Countries

Land Surveyor: Land Disputes Between Countries

A land surveyor may not be recognized as much as a doctor or a lawyer, but no one can dispute that they play a very crucial role on Earth. As proof, several countries all over the world have unsettled land disputes over other countries. Some may have been settled through the International Court of Justice, Treaty conditions, or a claimant country’s sovereignty has been recognized. And of course, these were all settled with the help of a land surveyor.

Let’s take a look at some of the famous land disputes all over the world settle by a land surveyor:

  • Mayotte (Africa) – Claimants are France and Comoros. France gained full control under the 2009 referendum, the population supported becoming an overseas department of France, and so became one on March 31, 2011.
  • Ligitan and Sipadan (Asia) – Claimants are Malaysia and Indonesia. The 2002 International Court of Justice ruling awarded both islands to Malaysia, but left unsettled the maritime boundary immediately southwest and west of the islands between Malaysia and Indonesia.
  • Eastern coast of Narva and Petseri County (Europe) – Claimants are Russia and Estonia.Russia recognized them as a part of Estonia with Treaty of Tartu, 1920. After the fall of the Soviet Union, Russia continued administering it.
  • Tuzla Island and Strait of Kerch; Sarych (Europe) – Claimants are Ukraine and Russia. The conflict arose in 2003 when the Russian authorities started to build a dam towards the island. Since then Ukraine established a border garrison on the island for a closer surveillance. The reason for the conflict is the fact that Tuzla island strategic location gives Ukraine full rights over the main channel in the Strait of Kerch and, thus, the access to the Sea of Azov.
  • San Andrés and Providencia (Central America/Caribbean) – Claimants are Colombia and Nicaragua. Colombia currently has full control because Honduras de facto recognises Colombian claim.
  • Los Monjes Archipelago (South America) – Claimants are Venezuela and Colombia. Velenzuela gains full control because Colombia no longer claims the islands, only the surrounding waters.

A piece of parcel is something that signifies power and resources thus many countries fight over it. If big countries have unsettled disputes over a piece of land, small land disputes also happen between siblings, husband and wife, and neighbors. Though you can’t hire a land surveyor from an International Court to settle your small land disputes, you can always hire a local land surveyor who can survey your property and resolve any encroachment claims and/or equally divide a property as mandated by law.

A land surveyor plays a very vital role in settling land disputes, big or small. If you are in a situation that you may need the expertise of a land surveyor, please contact Huntsville Land Surveying at  (256) 585-6002   today or go to our Contact page and send us an email.


Land Surveying Cost: Can You Afford It?

Land surveying, basically, is the science and art of establishing or re-establishing property corners, property lines and/or boundaries. There might be different reasons why someone wants a piece of land surveyed. The most common is to see whether a piece of land is susceptible to flooding, to subdivide real estate to sell or deed to relatives as well as to know if there are any encroachments. This might happen when a neighbour disputes you are using a part of his lot or vice versa (for more about this, click here).

Land Surveying Cost: Can You Afford It?

Land Surveying Cost: Can You Afford It?

If you need to have a chunk of property surveyed, the first thing that may come to mind is “how much would land surveying cost?”

There are plenty of factors determining exactly how much land surveying cost. The fact that this kind of service has to be done by an expert contributes a great deal to the overall land surveying cost, but choosing a non-professional to survey your land is dangerous and probably illegal for the non-professional. That is why you really should to take a good look around before settling with a surveying company.

If you must work inside a particular budget, discuss this with the surveyor up-front. Often times he may manage to offer land surveying cost saving steps to get the work you need done within these cost limits. The form of the land also needs to be considered. A square or even a rectangle piece of land is easier to survey than an odd shaped parcel, or one with a lot of sides. With the latter, the surveyor would need to take more time in surveying the curves as well as the bends meaning the land surveying cost of the service would increase. The actual size of the land is also an important factor here.

Remember that the  land surveying cost is usually proportionate to the time and effort that a land surveyor would spend on the project. If the land that you’re having surveyed is not accessible, or has thick vegetation, then the total price of the survey might go higher. This is true of the varying weather conditions that might affect the work. Surveying in warm weather is sort of slower to keep from putting the crew members in danger. Also, most surveying can’t be done during the rain.

When requesting for a quote, remember that surveyors base the estimate on expected conditions at the site. These conditions could change, bringing about additional costs. Always inquire about these potential additional land surveying cost scenarios.

All that being said, competitive prices are also to be expected, this is why we recommend selecting a surveyor based upon his experience and reputation rather than on the price he writes on a piece of paper. Usually it is far better to shell out a good amount of money on a survey that’s well-done rather than select a company with a very “affordable” price but have the survey repeated because the results were wrong.

To sum up, you should always discuss the expenses of the survey before you ask the surveyor to begin his work. You should also receive a contract that lets you understand what is expected of the land surveyor. This is one of the most important steps in getting your land surveyed.



How Important is Land Surveying in Today’s World?

“Land Surveying saves money, time, lives, and properties”

Most of you have probably never thought about land surveying until you needed it at some point. Many of us hear about land surveying all the time but never really give it much thought. Since an investment in land and/or a home will likely be the largest investment you will ever make in your lifetime, knowing where your property lines are becomes very important indeed.

The art of land surveying was developed centuries ago. In fact, it’s one of the oldest professions in the world. The fact that it was used by man at such an early time and is still being used now shows how important surveying is to our survival.

Land surveying has many uses:

Boundary surveying, for instance, allows you to know where your property corners or property lines are. This is especially helpful when disputes with a neighbour or with other people arise in terms of where your property ends.

Land Surveying Huntsville Land Surveying

Land Surveying Huntsville Land Surveying

If your family wants to divide a tract of land and transfer ownership to other family members, a boundary survey is the first step to do so. If you’re having a building constructed, it is very important that you have the land surveyed to make sure that you are not encroaching onto other peoples’ property. A mistaken building location is very expensive to fix so you might as well invest in a boundary survey to prevent this.

A topographic survey, or topo survey for short, is another important type of land surveying. A topo survey is done to locate natural and man-made features on a particular parcel of land. A topographic survey is different in that the elevation of the land is surveyed which means it can show man-made underground features, retaining walls, utility lines and etc.

Before you start any kind of construction activity, it’s important to have a topo survey done in the area so they’ll have an accurate record of the land’s existing conditions. Yes, that spot with the new mall in the neighbourhood had to have a topo survey done first.

Now, a flood survey or flood determination – this is very important too. It isn’t evident just looking at a property whether you are at risk of flooding or not. And, in some cases, even looking at the flood maps doesn’t give you an accurate answer. The flood survey determines the elevation of the home and compares that to the base flood elevation.

This is the only way to be sure you’re not in a flood hazard zone. If you’ve just been told that you live in a flood-prone area, having that confirmed by a professional land surveyor would let you know how to best proceed.

When getting flood insurance, insurance companies would require an elevation certificate from you. A land surveyor after doing a thorough land surveying of your property would be able to assist you with this.

If a company wants to invest in another state, or if there is a national lender on a commercial project, they will likely need an ALTA Land Title Survey done before anything is constructed. An ALTA Land Title Survey is a lot like a regular boundary survey except that nationally accepted ALTA Standards are used to guide the surveying effort.

Land Surveying Huntsville Land Surveying

Land Surveying Huntsville Land Surveying

Land surveying standards vary widely from state to state and an ALTA Land Title Survey is used to cut down on this variation. Also, an ALTA Land Title Survey typically is more involved than the state standards variety. Because of this, an ALTA survey can be more anywhere from 50% to 200% more expensive than using the state standards only.

If you need this type of survey, I suggest seeking an experienced land surveying company who is familiar with these additional requirements.

In summary, there are many uses for a land survey and for seeking the services of a land surveyor. If you’re unsure of your situation, consult Huntsville Land Surveying at (256) 585-6002 today or go to the Contact page and send us an email.


Land Surveying Humor

land surveying humor

land surveying humor



Land Surveyors: Leaving Their Marks

Land surveyors play a very crucial part in people’s everyday life. 

Men and women who combine their sense of adventure, their love of technology, and also their talents in making things happen with their desire to leave a lasting impression are the people who joined the ever expanding realm of land surveying.

Land Surveyors Huntsvill Land Surveyinf

Land Surveyors Huntsvill Land Surveyinf

Land surveying is likely one of the world’s most vital occupations. It’s the only job qualified to form new property boundaries. Moreover, land surveyors also play a significant part in the construction of incredible architectural accomplishments – from the historical achievements that are ages old to the impressive buildings today. As a matter of fact, three of the gents on Mount Rushmore are land surveyors themselves.

Geographic Information System or GIS experts and staff rely upon surveyors for mapping details. The task of your land surveyor has shaped the world as we know it; and it all starts off with small survey markers. It might be merely a small orange survey marker, but this mark is one of the millions that the surveyor uses to take detailed measurements that would become maps which will someday become amazing buildings, new roads, master planned communities, or entire cities – and in each step along the way is a surveyor.

Land surveyors specialize in many positions:

Photogrammetric surveying

In the Office, photogrammetric surveyors deal with cutting-edge software and state of the art machine.

Boundary Surveying

These are land surveyors who do in depth reference research studying maps and boundaries spanning centuries.

Construction Surveying

Within the area, construction surveyors are the power behind any growth; these people team up with engineers to ensure that the structures are constructed within its area and coincide with the type of land where it’s built on.

Hydrographic surveying

Hydrographic surveyors take their work to the lake or sea, determining depths, borders, and a lot more. Geodesy involves surveying where you can acquire specific dimensions for satellite.

Land Surveyors may also find themselves inside the court room. They also perform a vital role in providing expert testimonies with regards to boundaries or even in assisting crime scene cases which involves land.


Qualifications of land surveyors

With merely a high school diploma, anyone can begin as a surveyor, an on the job training that would last for just six weeks, field training, and union apprenticeship. However, a lot of land surveyors are degree holders. Local community universities may offer programs or a two year comprehensive program in land surveying. Incomes tend to be greater than average career fields that need a 4 year college diploma or if these people acquire a degree or higher, they could begin management or one of the many specializations.



Madison County is Growing, But…

Our Madison County community is among one of the fastest growing in the State. Now that's nothing new, but did you know that Limestone county is now growing at a faster rate than Madison County. This probably also means that the City of Madison is growing faster than the City of Huntsville. We'll have to wait a while longer to get more detailed information on the 2010 Census. You can find this and more interesting facts on the US Census website.

As you can see, the counties with greater than 25% growth in the state are Limestone, St. Clair, Shelby, Autauga, and Baldwin.