Topographic surveys or more commonly known as the “topo” survey is used to locate man-made and natural features like streams, trees, utilities, buildings, fences, easements, land contours and easements and so forth. A topographic survey in regards to properties is typically required to design or plan improvement or developmental projects.
The topo land survey is also utilized to map and identify contours of the land as well as existing features either on the earth’s surface or just above or just below the surface. This can include retaining walls, utility poles, trees, walkways, buildings and streets. If this survey is used with the intention of acting as a type of base map in regards to the designs of buildings or residences or even the design of a driveway or a road, it becomes necessary to display lines of easements or perimeter boundary-lines or a crossing on the property that is under survey. This is necessary so that the designer is able to display zoning accurately along with required setbacks.
The topographic surveys necessitate “bench marks” in association to the ground contours are related in information to the underground and surface utilities. When the survey is used for improvements that include manholes, roads and buildings, approximate locations of the property lines are usually displayed. However, this is only used for the purposes of a reference and is not recognized as the Property Survey.
An ALTA survey is a type of land survey designed for a title company or/and the Lender with the location and survey data required in order to issue a mortgage or title insurance. For these reasons a map must be drawn up to the “ALTA” specifications. The word ALTA represents the American Land Title Association.
ALTA is associated with data specifications that need to be displayed in a survey. This will include boundary lines, ancillary buildings, the position of a main building along with any improvements when required as well as the identification of any easements, this includes access rights for service companies such as railways, telephone, gas , water along with any other utilities. The ALTA survey is regarded as highly complex and usually costs a lot of money and can take a number of weeks to perform or complete. For these reasons the majority of the ALTA surveys are aimed more at commercial properties.
The ALTA survey is a type of boundary survey that will be prepared in such a way that it meets up with the minimum standards which have been adopted and jointly prepared by the ACSM (American Congress on Surveying and Mapping) and ALTA (American Land Title Association). While boundary surveys for a regulatory industry for a specific state meets the necessary standards, the ALTA/ACSM is dually recognized across the nation. The objectives behind the ALTA/ACSM standards is associated with establishing a “level of standard” which means that any parties that enter into commercial transactions are guaranteed with one common standard.