Because the main objective of a boundary survey is to determine the location of land ownership lines, the initial phase includes land records research. Research is conducted at local, county and state agencies and offices for the purpose of locating deeds, plans, maps, wills and other documents defining the location and rights associated with a parcel of land. Most of this research is conducted at the Registry of Deeds, where the current parcel and abutting parcel deeds are traced back in time in order to construct a “chain of title”. This enables the surveyor to understand the original description of the parcel, as well as determine “junior-senior rights” associated with adjoining parcels.

Because the main objective of a boundary survey is to determine the location of land ownership lines, the initial phase includes land records research.

With the land records research complete, the surveyor can then construct a picture of what the parcel of land should look like according to the language contained in deed descriptions, as well as other documents obtained during the research. This is referred to as the “record boundaries” of the parcel.

The next phase of the boundary survey involves a thorough field reconnaissance for the purpose of uncovering any boundary evidence, such as iron pipes or rods, monuments, walls, fences etc. This is a physical investigation of the parcel, and requires a keen knowledge of the types of evidence, land use patterns and local history. Reconnaissance is conducted in light of the “record boundaries”, and a determined surveyor will hunt tirelessly until the corner is found. A field survey is then conducted to locate the evidence uncovered during the reconnaissance survey.