Using GPS to Track You – Is It Real?

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 surveyorNestle (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 surveyorEven 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 Wetumpka Land Surveying at (334) 472-9606.

Land Surveyor Settles Worldwide Land Disputes

land surveyorA 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 an overseas department of France, and so became one on March 21, 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 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 Russiam 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, this, the access to the Sea of Azov.
  • San Andres 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 water.

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 Wetumpka Land Surveying at (334) 472-9606 today or go to our Contact page and send us an email.

The Importance of Land Surveying in the Modern World

land surveying

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.

Surveying land 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.

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.

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

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 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 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 Wetumpka Land Surveying at (334) 472-9606 today or go to the Contact page and send us an email.