Glossary of Surveying & Mapping Terms

Abut, Abutting

Reaching or contacting without interval.

Acre

Unit of area measure equal to 43,560 square feet.

Adjacent

Near to but not reaching or contacting.

Adjoiner

Adjoining owner and/or adjoining land of record.

Adjoining

Touching or bounding at a point or along a line.

Along

On and coincident with; same as upon.

Alley

Narrow service roadway created by land platting.

Aliquot

Division of a whole into parts without remainder.

And

Informative term of inclusion; in addition to.

Angle

Angular measure between directional lines.

Angle Right

Clockwise horizontal angular measure.

Angle Left

Counterclockwise horizontal angular measure.

Appurtenances

Accessorial property, rights and/or interests.

Astronomic North

North by celestial observation of Sun or stars.

Assumed North

North by arbitrary definition and/or reference.

At

Informative term of position or location.

Azimuth

Clockwise angle from a North or South reference.

Bank

Upland acclivity adjoining a waterway.

Bank, Left or Right

Referred bank of a stream, creek or river as one faces downstream in direction of flow.

Bearing

Quadrantal angle East or West of North or South, from 0° to 90°.

Bed

Land underlying a water body or roadway.

Beginning

Informative term of commencement and/or origin.

Being

Informative term of qualification referral.

Benchmark

Object of known elevation by datum reference.

Block

Platted lots; normally bounded by public streets.

BLM

Bureau of Land Management of U.S. Department of the Interior; formerly the General Land Office(GLO).

Boundary

Border line or exterior of a described parcel.

Bounded by

Informative term of location or limitation.

Bulkhead Line

Established line limiting land improvements into an abutting waterway.

Canal

Artificial open channel for waterway purposes.

Cardinal

North, South, East or West directions only.

Centerline, center of

Line or point of equal division or separation.

Chain

Unit of lineal measure equal to 66 feet.

Ch.

Chain or chains abbreviation.

Coincident with

Contacting a line or point without interval.

Commencing

Informative term of beginning and/or origin.

Complementary Angle

Remnant angle of 90 degrees less smaller angle.

Continue, continuation

Extension of a line or course; normally a curve.

Contour

Defined line of equal elevation on a map or plat.

Control

Surveying and mapping reference infrastructure.

Corner

Juncture of intersecting lines; locative point.

Course

Line or boundary defined by bearing and distance.

Covenant

Real property restriction and/or encumbrance.

CSM

Certified Survey Map abbreviation.

Crest

Highest elevation, uppermost level or height of.

Datum

Standard or common reference base or system.

Deflection Angle

Angle measured left or right of a line extension.

Dedicated

Land granted for public or special purposes by an expressed intent in a conveyance or upon a plat.

Departure(dE)

Longitudal interval between points.

Dia.

Diameter abbreviation.

Direction

Angular measure by reference to a defined line.

Distance

Lineal length between points on a straight line.

Due North

Normally infers True North; use of term is not recommended without a basis of reference.

Eeasement

Non-fee land title right or interest.

Easting

Coordinate value by longitudinal reference.

Egress

Exiting or emerging right of access.

Elevation

Vertical height from a defined reference datum.

Encumbrance

Restrictive real property interest or right.

Equator

Standard parallel of 0 degrees latitude.

Excepting

Informative term of exclusion and/or withdrawal.

Extension of

Continuation of defined line, boundary or course.

Exterior Angle

Exterior angle formed by intersecting lines of an polygon or land parcel boundaries.

Flowage Line

Defined contour line for water control purposes.

Frac.

Fraction or fractional abbreviation.

Fractional lot

Non-aliquot PLSS section division land remnant; normally abutting north and west township lines.

From

Informative term of origin and continuance.

Frontage

Land boundary abutting a roadway or waterway.

Ft.

Feet or foot abbreviation.

Forty

Quarter/quarter tract by aliquot PLSS division.

GLO

General Land Office; now known as BLM.

Government lot

Non-aliquot riparian land remnant by PLSS survey and designated upon an official GLO/BLM Township Plat.

Grade

Surface level of ground or rate/degree of slope.

Grantee

Person(s) or legal entity granted title rights and/or interests by a grantor.

Grantor

Person(s) or legal entity granting title rights and/or interests to a grantee.

Graphic Scale

Bar type scale upon a map or plat graduated by a representative length ratio; such as 1"=200'.

Grid

Equally spaced parallel lines intersecting at right angles or 90°; normally upon a plat or map.

Grid north

Central meridian of referred mapping projection.

Half

By equal area except for PLSS divisions which are aliquot partition per S.59.62 Wis. Stats.

Heretofore

Informative term of preceding/previous referral.

High water mark

Highest level of a waterway at normal rise.

Horizontal angle

Angular measure between intersecting lines in a level or horizontal plane.

I.D.

Inside diameter abbreviation.

Ingress

Entering right of access.

Included Angle

Interior angle formed by intersecting lines enclosed polygon or land parcel boundaries.

Interior Angle

Same as included angle above.

Intersection

To meet or cross at a point; a road junction.

I.P. or I.R.

Iron pipe or iron rod monument abbreviation.

Lane

Narrow traveled way; normally created by usage.

Landmark

Artificial or natural object defining lands; a boundary corner monument of public record.

Latitude(dN)

Latitudnal interval between points; angular arc distance north or south of the Equator along a meridian of longitude.

Line

Boundary, course or extension between points; may consist of straight or curvilinear segments.

Link

Lineal measurement equivalent to 1/100th of a chain equal to 0.66 feet or 7.92 inches.

Lk.

Link or links abbreviation.

Longitude

Angular arc distance east or west of the Prime Meridian along a parallel of latitude.

Lot

Smallest area of land suitable for building or occupational purposes; normally by platting.

Low water mark

Lowest level of a waterway at normal ebb.

M.

Meter or meters abbreviation.

Magnetic north

Direction of north seeking end of compass needle.

Map

Graphical representation of land to scale.

Main Channel

Navigible channel of waterway; may not be center.

Mark

Defined object, point or line of reference.

Meander line

Line established along a waterway for purposes of surveying and mapping riparian land frontage.

Meander corner

Boundary and meander line point established on the bank of an intersected or abutting waterway.

M.C.

Abbreviation for meander corner.

Mean Sea Level

Elevation datum referenced to averaged sea level observations over an extended period of time.

Meter

Metric measurement equivalent to 3.280833>feet.

Mid-point

Center or halfway point of a line segment.

Monument

Natural or artificial physical object intended as a landmark; normally at a property corner.

Monumented by

Informative term of monumentation or identity.

More or less

Precautionary term of quantitative uncertainty.

Navigable

In Wisconsin, capability of floating a canoe at any time of the year; normally, any waterway with a defined bed and banks.

Normal To

At right angles to a line or radial to a curve.

Northerly, etc.

General directional term; normally by reference.

Northing

Coordinate value by latitudal reference.

O.D.

Outside diameter abbreviation.

Of

Informative term of inclusion and/or association.

Offset

Perpendicular interval; to parallel and continue a preceding course, line or boundary.

On

Same as along or upon.

One half

Same as half; divisional unit by protraction.

Outlot

Sub-standard land parcel; a platted land remnant.

Parallel with

Separation by equal interval or spacing.

Parcel

Area of land enclosed by defined boundaries.

Part of

Informative term of division or protraction.

Perch

Lineal measurement equal to 16.5 feet; a rod.

Plat

Map of a survey; normally a recorded subdivision.

PLSS

Public Land Survey System abbreviation.

Point

Spatial location without defined dimensions.

Point of beginning

Beginning and ending point of a defined boundary.

P.O.B.

Point of Beginning abbreviation.

Pole

Lineal measurement equal to 16.5 feet; a rod.

Portion

Informative term of division or protraction.

Prolongation

Continuation or extension of a straight line.

Proration

Equitable distribution of excess or deficiency.

Proportionate

Ratio of record to measured quantities.

Protraction

Division into relative parts; land partitioning.

Principal meridian

Line separating East and West PLSS Ranges.

Prime Meridian

Standard meridian of 0 degrees longitude.

Private claim

Legal foreign nation land grant, claim or title transfer; not included by original PLSS survey.

Quadrant

Quarter circular sector of 90 degrees.

Radial

Line radiating from the center of a circle.

Random Line

Non-monumented trial or temporary survey line.

Range

North/South tier of PLSS townships.

Reference Mark

Same as Mark above; normally monumented.

Reserved

Retained existing title rights and/or interests.

Reserving

Normally refers to new rights and/or interests.

Reservation

Established Military or Native American tract.

Restriction

Informative term of limitation; an encumbrance.

Retracement

Confirmation or reestablishment of land boundary lines and/or corners according to a prior survey.

Reversion

Legal repossession of land title rights and/or interests; such as vacated street right-of-way.

Right angle

Angular measurement of 90 degrees.

Right-of-way

Land by dedication, grant or easement for roads, utility or other designated purposes; normally described as a strip or corridor type parcel.

Riparian

Land and/or ownership abutting a waterway.

Roadway

Land and improvements for vehicular usage.

Rod

Lineal measurement equal to 16.5 feet; a pole.

Said

Informative term of referral to a preceding term.

Scale

Relative ratio of map to ground distances.

Scale Factor

Mapping projection distance conversion parameter.

Setback Line

Zoning regulation boundary clearance limitation.

Shore, shoreline

Riparian land boundary or frontage subject to the rise and ebb of the abutting waterway..

Slope

Surface deviation from level or horizontal grade.

SPCS

State Plane Coordinate System abbreviation.

Sq.Ft.

Square feet abbreviation.

Station

Computed or surveyed point; normally by standard measurement intervals along a defined centerline.

Street

Improved public transportation corridor; also known as a boulevard, avenue, road or highway.

Subdivision

Division of land into lots, blocks and streets by a survey upon a duly approved and recorded plat.

Subject to

Qualifying referral to an existing encumbrance.

Supplementary Angle

Remnant angle of 180 degrees less smaller angle.

Thence

Informative term of continuance.

Thread

Waterway centerline at ordinary or normal stage.

Tie

Direction and distance measurement from a defined point to a nearby object for reference purposes; normally used for perpetuation of landmarks.

To

Informative term of termination; exclusionary.

Toe

Lowest or bottom edge of a land bank or slope.

Togetherwith

Informative term of inclusion; in addition to.

To wit

That is to say; namely or furthermore.

Township

Divisional PLSS unit containing 36 sections.

Tract

Normally a land area enclosed by indefinite boundaries.

True north

North by celestial observation of Sun or stars.

Upon

Same as along.

Vertical Angle

Angular measurement in a vertical plane.

Waterway

Lake, pond, river, stream, creek, canal, etc.

With

Informative term of association or relationship.

Witness Corner

Reference monument to an inaccessible corner, and normally established on the related boundary by a directional and distance offset.

Yard

Lineal measurement equal to 3 feet.

Yd.

Yard or yards abbreviation.

ZZZzzzzzzz......

Retired/tired surveyor

 

Several published glossaries are available for further reference involving land description, land surveying, land mapping and land information terms; an adequate and reliable library is essential for reference purposes, as well as periodic continuing education courses and/or self-study programs.

Term Words To Avoid In Land Descriptions

Front

Rear

Back

Due

About

Running

Adjacent

Approximately

Lying

Either

To a point

Excepting and Reserving

Place

From which

which

Within

Without

In line

That lies

Common to

Common with

Marked by

Contiguous

Between

Hereby

Hereon

Hereto

Hereof

Hereupon

Hereunto

Hereinbefore

Hereinafter

Thereunto

Thereon

Thereto

Thereupon

Therewith

Thereat

Thereby

Therein

Therefrom

More or Less

Whereat

Whereas

Wherefor

Whereupon and any other similar words, terms or phrases of definitive deficiency.

Avoid all words or phrases of a differing, misleading or misinterpretive definition; particularly any terms or expressions of a general, redundant or somewhat moot nature.

Every word, term, phrase or expression, in every written land description, must be carefully selected and composed so that descriptive elements are fully defined and construed with absolute clarity, intent and propriety; and not merely surmised.

In every instance, regardless of the degree of complication, the primary attribute to be achieved for any written land description is that defined by the word unequivocal ..clear and admitting of no doubt or any misunderstanding; whatsoever.

Further Affiant Deponeth Not 

(There is nothing more to be said)

By: William C. Rohde, RLS 841 

P.O. Box 82

Larsen, Wisconsin 54947

920-836-9930 Phone/FAX

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Publication Date: December 1999

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