Plot Survey to GPS coordinates?
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    felixm22's Avatar
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    Plot Survey to GPS coordinates?

    Can any on tell me how to convert the measurements in a deed or plot survey in to GPS coordinates? I planed to have an actual surveyor do a proper survey but until I can get some one out I would like to have a rough guess.

    If you look at page 2 you will see the measurements I'm looking to convert to GPS coordinates.
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    arlen's Avatar
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    I think the closest you could get is with google earth, and just trace out a rough path. It will be accurrate to 50 feet or so if you are careful, and know the natural landmarks
    Surveyors don't make it easy to do what you are talking about.
    I couldn't really make out the numbers on your scan, but somewhere on the survey there is an "origin". The 2nd point is a compass heading and a distance from the origin, then the 3rd point is a distance and compass heading from the second point. So every point is based on the point before it. Even the "origin" is based on a "monument" maybe a mile or 2 away. Not at all a user friendly system, but that was the only way to do it before GPS.
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    I just recently tried to do what you are asking, using my "plot plan/survey" and convert to GPS. I bought the plot plan to my development, but there must be a larger map somewhere which shows a survey monument and actual longitude and latitude. My development map didn't have it, and I haven't had the chance to visit my county's record building to research it more.

    As the 2nd post said, the numbers are bearings and distances from point to point. Surveyors would start at a corner of your property, usually marked by a stake or re-bar, and then move to the next location by the compass bearing and the distance. And repeat until finally ending back at the start.

    If you know the GPS coordinates from one point, you can download some free programs that will convert bearing and distances into GPS lon/lat, so you can fill in the coordinates for each corner of your property. The "trick" is that you need to find out the GPS coordinates of at least ONE corner of your property. Sorry, but I don't have any quick way of finding that out other than taking a reading with my smart phone, Garmin, or Google earth. It's not the most accurate, but it will get you "in the ball park" of several feet.

    I finally just located my re-bar stakes at the front of my property and measured (with a tape measure) to the rear, using my best guess for bearing and some natural features as possible property markers. By natural features, I mean things such as stone walls, old trees, etc. that were around when the property was subdivided. It was good enough for me to "estimate" the borders of my lot.

    BTW, I did call a local surveying company, they estimated it would cost me in the neighborhood of $1500 to $2000 to have a lot survey. (I only own 1.5 acres). I was cheap and my estimate was good enough for what I needed.

    Just my 2 cents, and good luck.
    Tom

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    As others mentioned, it's not all that easy, or everyone would be doing it.
    And I WISH I could get mine done for $2000. Six or seven years ago the estimate I received was in the $3000-$4000 range. I can guess it would be quite a bit higher today.

    The key really is that first monument, and a very accurate way to measure your bearing. The distances aren't difficult, just some time needed to convert odd units such as perches and rods into feet and yards.
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    As others have said, it's not as easy as it should be. I have a Garmin hand held GPS and I find the coordinates change each time at a known point of reference. You need military or surveyor grade GPS, not consumer grade like I have.

    Other things affecting the true length between two points are elevation changes and the curvature of the earth.

    What I've done with our two properties is go to the county and get plat maps and input the data into AutoCAD, which I'm fortunate to have, and most of us don't.

    There are also numerous measurement systems that surveyors and navigators use, which confuses the issue further.
    I have more ideas than ambition.


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    Here is a website that has a lot of calculators (and code) that I found a while back. There is a lot of information on the site, and I just used one of the many calculators. You just have to scroll down until you find the right one. Though it uses kilometers for distance, it works for shorter distances after you convert. There must be other similar sites too.

    Calculate distance and bearing between two Latitude/Longitude points using Haversine formula in JavaScript

    I used one of the calculators to find the GPS coordinates of the other corners of my land, after I got an average of the coordinates of the first corner. I used Google maps, garmin and a GPS app on my smartphone. In addition, my county has a "parcel access" pr "geo access" site that overlays property boundaries over a satellite image. It gives lot information, owner of record, property size, some latitude and longitude and much more. Search "parcel access dutchess" to see it for my area. Your county and state may have a similar site.

    Surveying is an interesting field, it's interesting how they did it before GPS.

    More of my 2 cents.
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    Tom

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    arlen's Avatar
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    You guys ever use google earth? It is fantastic job of measuring distances and plotting lines.
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    felixm22's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by arlen View Post
    I think the closest you could get is with google earth, and just trace out a rough path.
    Google earth keeps crashing on my mac but I did find an awesome web site to do arial photo measurements in WV, for those who live in WV or those just interested you can find it here. There are multiple map layers to pick from.

    I also have the deed that has the heading and distances so reading the writing on the old plot survey is not needed, I just did not want to post the deed to the web site not that someone couldn't figure it out and look it up anyway.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tomfive View Post
    Here is a website that has a lot of calculators (and code) that I found a while back. There is a lot of information on the site, and I just used one of the many calculators. You just have to scroll down until you find the right one. Though it uses kilometers for distance, it works for shorter distances after you convert. There must be other similar sites too.

    Calculate distance and bearing between two Latitude/Longitude points using Haversine formula in JavaScript

    I used one of the calculators to find the GPS coordinates of the other corners of my land, after I got an average of the coordinates of the first corner. I used Google maps, garmin and a GPS app on my smartphone. In addition, my county has a "parcel access" pr "geo access" site that overlays property boundaries over a satellite image. It gives lot information, owner of record, property size, some latitude and longitude and much more. Search "parcel access dutchess" to see it for my area. Your county and state may have a similar site.

    Surveying is an interesting field, it's interesting how they did it before GPS.

    More of my 2 cents.
    Tomfive- you have really gotten me going in the right direction, thank you. Last night I figured out what I thought was a close lat and Long for my first pin and was able to use the measurements and heading and get all the way around lot line. I mathematically ended up where I started so their formula is good.

    The main reason I'm trying to find the lot lines quick is my neighbor is dumping in the woods behind my house and I want to make sure it is not on my land. If he is close to my rough guess then we will have to resolve the issue but I don't wait the 2 months for an official survey. I have also had a couple of what I call "Dirty Hippies" wondering behind my house looking for ginseng. Not that I want to deny someone a way to make an income but I don't like people walking through my property with out my permission. So I would like to put up no trespassing signs.
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    Tomfive's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by felixm22 View Post
    Tomfive- you have really gotten me going in the right direction, thank you...
    felixm22, you're quite welcome.

    My wife and I had a fun time learning amateur surveying and marking our property, at least estimating our outer limits. We did it for a slightly different reason, my good neighbor got "convinced" by a tree service to take down about a dozen 25 yr old spruce trees along our property line. The trees were planted by the previous/previous owners, and were basically on their property by a couple of feet. They got a little scragley(sp) but they could have been pruned. It actually turned out that a few of those trees were on out property. Oh well, they're gone. Don't get me wrong, we have great neighbors.

    So now that the privacy tree line was down, my wife and I decided to put some drainage lines in and start planting new trees and shrubs to give us some more privacy and fill in some low spots that collect water. We just wanted to make sure we were on our side of the property line. We found a lot on the internet, and I called a couple of surveying companies and got more information. So we marked our property with some stakes and string and the digging continues.

    Good luck with your neighbors.

    BTW, today, surveyors use differential GPS, much more accurate that our conventional units, and much more expensive. But that is another story.
    Tom

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    arlen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tomfive View Post

    BTW, today, surveyors use differential GPS, much more accurate that our conventional units, and much more expensive. But that is another story.
    Surveying GPS systems are accurate to 100th of a foot
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