The Pincushion Effect

Monte King

My statement about the manual not being the only way to survey is applicable. However, in states that have adopted it by statute surveyors should be very cautious of ignoring it. Then again in non-PLSS states I would not even have a copy of it LOL Fundamentals are vital even with a guide...

Orig/retracing surveyor; Sounds like a trick question LOL I am not sure there are any other types when it comes to boundary. I think I know where you are going but feel free to let me know if it is not. I just want to be clear that I am referring to situations that have a Fed boundary involved.

One opinion is that the first one to subdivide a section is the orig surveyor and should be accepted same as with other PLSS orig corners. It does not seem to account for whether proper procedure was used or not and if within tolerances of the time or not. The first monument wins concept. I do not personally subscribe to this one, again due to my understanding of the laws/case law pertinent to the subject not what the manual says.

Then there is the opinion that since the "subdivision" established the corner positions via the law then the first surveyor to subdivide is technically a retracing surveyor as the law laid down the "road map" for the procedure. There are no monuments to recover so it is a matter of using proper procedure (as defined by law) and "retracing" it to place the monuments in the correct position per the law. Once this is done by the "first" surveyor then others following should be evaluating it as whether proper procedure was used in the initial "retracement" and if the monuments are positioned within the tolerances of the time. This is where the quoted statement I mentioned previously comes into play "The courts recognize the shortcomings of these sectional subdivision surveys and apply legal doctrines such as, practical location, adverse possession, agreement, acquiescence and lately, the doctrine of repose, in an effort not to disturb existing marked boundaries that may not have been located as contemplated in federal statutes and as depicted on the official plat." However, as stated before these doctrines do not apply to Public Domain lands.

I can get along with this quote from a court:
“In short, an original surveyor can establish an original boundary line only for an owner who owns the land on both sides of the line that is being established and that line becomes an authentic original line only when the owner makes a conveyance based on a description of the surveyed line and has good legal title to the land described in his conveyance.” Rivers v. Lozeau, 539 S. 2d 1147 Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1989.

Attached is an example of a survey I executed in ID on the Nez Perce Rez. The situation is that there remained a 40 of PD land in the section that I was tasked to survey. In my research I found a record of a 1909 County Surveyor that subdivided the section. His record clearly showed that he used the proper procedure as defined by the law. I recovered the exterior corners of the section, same as him all orig but one I recovered was collateral, and I recovered several of his established monuments. I also recovered collateral evidence at several of his corner positions. Overall I evaluated as I describe and ultimately I accepted most of his corners. One was rejected due to improper procedure. However, even if it had been proper procedure, it was recovered outside the tolerances of the time analysis along with being outside the consistency analysis Shawn mentioned and I agreed about. I have to wonder if he had used proper procedure would it be within tolerances as his others were. The file named "Sec14_34n3e_1898plat_edited" is the orig plat with the County Surveyor record measurements written on it. The other file named Sec14_34n3e_2017plat_edited is my final survey with notes on recovery and the tolerances of the time notes. The diamonds indicate orig, the squares indicate local accepted, the circles are established in this survey, and if the symbol is filled it was (re) monumented this survey. I did present this one at last years ID PLS conference so it is all good to share. BTW there is a very rough canyon along the west section line, the start of one on the south section line, and a very rough up/down bet. E 1/16 and sec cor on S bdy. The fact that in 1909 the County Surveyor could establish positions that were within the tolerances of that time to the level he did in this terrain is an example of why the whole PLSS scheme of determining sub corners works within expectations. It is when the procedure varies that issues crop up of being outside tolerances as shown by the NW 1/16 in this example.


  • Sec14_34n3e_1898plat_edited.pdf
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  • Sec14_34N3E_2017plat_edited.pdf
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Monte King

Definition is: Collateral evidence in surveying is similar to circumstantial evidence in law (by itself, it is insufficient; but an abundance of it is conclusive)

Typically it would be occupation or other evidence other than the survey monument. An intersection of an old fence and center line of a road is a good example.

The catch with it is can you state that it was built to a monument that no longer exists. In my example I had the 1909 survey as my basis for accepting the collateral. I made the statement that the occupation was built to the 1909 survey.