A beginner’s guide to unpacking the art of cadastral surveying

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You may have heard the term flung around, but do you know what’s exactly involved in cadastral surveying? If you’re a land owner, it’s a good idea to brush up your knowledge on this fundamental category.

First things first: what is cadastral surveying?

This particular discipline of land surveying is responsible for determining the establishment of real property boundaries. As such, it is tied up in legal nuances: the discreet laws of land ownership dictated by the boundaries pertinent to the subdivision of land into units. In essence, cadastral surveying provides the foundation for determining land unit dimensions, physically delineating and advising on boundary locations, and facilitating the status of land ownerships and rights.

When are cadastral surveys conducted?

In general, a cadastral surveys typically takes place when re-establishing existing property boundaries or creating new ones. As to be expected, such tasks are most commonly associated with any process of land division.

Given the legal nuances involved, the surveyor is responsible for applying two sets of principles: those pertaining to spatial-measurement guidelines of general surveying, and those involved in neighbouring land titles.

What kind of documentation must the land owner provide?

First and foremost, the surveyor will request copies of the deed description. This is an essential part of the cadastral surveying process. From here, the surveyor will obtain maps of the adjoining property, utility maps, plus existing records of surveys. A thorough search is conducted to ensure all available information is collected as part of the cadastral survey.

The role of the cadastre

At its crux, a cadastre can best be understood as an official register used to record and display the details of land ownership, the boundaries subdividing the land, and the value of real property. Naturally, such information is crucial for dealings in land valuation, taxation, registration and transfers; protection of the environment; sustainable development; the management of licences and leases; and even determination of electoral boundaries.

These days, Digital Cadastral Databases provide an easily accessible method for recording, maintaining and updating the cadastre of land parcels, including digital coordinates and other handy information relevant to the land in question.

Wrapping your head around cadastral maps

Developed from survey plans, cadastral maps are a critical component of a cadastre. A true cadastral map acts to cover all land parcels within a specific area, the objective if which is to provide a precise description and identification of each separately owned plot of the land. As such, the scale of a cadastral map is imperative: it must be large enough to clearly delineate each plot as a recognisable unit.

Along with the boundaries, bearings and distances associated with each plot, cadastral maps may also provide information covering the area’s resources, including the actual physical structures, vegetation, soils, geology, and use of the land.

To conclude…

In summary, while certainly a complex process, cadastral surveying is a significant part of land ownership. With the expertise of an experienced surveyor, cadastral surveying ensures just and lawful interpretations of land boundaries and ownership rights.

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