Surveyor to Recorder

Surveyor to Recorder

Poll runs till Sun Mar 08, 2020 2:25 pm

I want Direct to Recorder
27
14%
I want the existing County Surveyor review
40
20%
I am in private practice
47
24%
I am in government
22
11%
I am a member of CLSA
57
29%
I am NOT a member of CLSA
6
3%
 
Total votes: 199

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David Kendall
Posts: 356
Joined: Thu Apr 10, 2014 1:45 pm
Location: Sonoma

Re: Surveyor to Recorder

Postby David Kendall » Tue Sep 24, 2019 9:14 pm

Edward M Reading wrote:I'm not seeing how posting poor maps is an indictment on having a CS review maps. Your logic is a little fuzzy. Are you saying that there is no value in having a CS review maps? It is more beneficial to have un-reviewed crappy maps recorded?


I can make it plain for you. Take the example of the parcel closure calculations. I kind of get happy when I find a deed or map that doesn't close because it is often an indicator of a sloppy survey.

When the old map or deed doesn't close by a few feet, I know that the survey is probably not top quality before I retrace it

Unfortunately it doesn't work like that anymore. Every survey closes perfectly. They call it 'mathematical accuracy' or some BS.....

Or else it doesn't get filed. Even if it is a thousand acre parcel, they all close within 0.01'

That is a lie, which to me is the opposite of "mathematical accuracy". But the county surveyors will not file the map without a perfect closure.

Essentially they clean up all of the garbage in the name of "protecting the public" and enable the sloppy surveys to get filed but the thing is they don't look so bad once the county surveyor reviews and comments and spell checks and cajoles them into a polished product.

I believe the point is that if the sloppy surveys were filed as is then it would be easier to identify a sloppy survey and over time the pattern would cause the community to take action against the sloppy surveyors. And it would not cost an arm and a leg (which causes less surveys to get filed)

Even if they were never reviewed or filed, both of the surveys he posted show set corner monuments. These maps established property corners.

One of us will have to deal with it someday

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Ian Wilson
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Location: Bay Area

Re: Surveyor to Recorder

Postby Ian Wilson » Wed Sep 25, 2019 6:07 am

Edward M Reading wrote:I'm not seeing how posting poor maps is an indictment on having a CS review maps.


I think the idea is that the maps then become documentary evidence of incompetence, giving BPELSG opportunity to cite the mapper.

While it does little to protect the public damaged by the bad map, it does serve as a dose of chlorine to remove the miscreants from the Survey Pool.

And, yes, in the counties that do not have cost recovery, the RS checking fee is often far below the cost of time spent in-house reviewing the map.
Ian Wilson, P.L.S. (CA / NV / CO)
San Mateo County Surveyor

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Ian Wilson
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Location: Bay Area

Re: Surveyor to Recorder

Postby Ian Wilson » Wed Sep 25, 2019 6:21 am

removed for editing purposses
Last edited by Ian Wilson on Wed Sep 25, 2019 6:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
Ian Wilson, P.L.S. (CA / NV / CO)
San Mateo County Surveyor

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Ian Wilson
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Location: Bay Area

Re: Surveyor to Recorder

Postby Ian Wilson » Wed Sep 25, 2019 6:23 am

David Kendall wrote:Unfortunately it doesn't work like that anymore. Every survey closes perfectly. They call it 'mathematical accuracy' or some BS.....

Or else it doesn't get filed. Even if it is a thousand acre parcel, they all close within 0.01'

That is a lie, which to me is the opposite of "mathematical accuracy". But the county surveyors will not file the map without a perfect closure.

Essentially they clean up all of the garbage in the name of "protecting the public" and enable the sloppy surveys to get filed but the thing is they don't look so bad once the county surveyor reviews and comments and spell checks and cajoles them into a polished product.


David, the perfect math is something I have always bristled against. Requiring the same closure number whether the parcel is a 25' x 75' city parcel or a 160 acre rural parcel is absurd. The relative accuracy of the first might be completely unacceptable while the later is beyond mortal possibility.

It is not my job to make sure your boundary is perfect. It IS my job to make sure that you have documented it properly.

If you choose to do a poor job on your survey and slap a boundary together that is laughable, put a note on the map that says something like "I only took time to find two monuments three streets over from my client's parcel. Even though the two points I found were only 35' apart, I went ahead and set all four corners of the parcel, even though one of them was in the middle of the driveway and the other was in the pool deck in the back yard." That, at least, tells everyone exactly what you did.And, it provides solid evidence that should make Phil happy, too.
Ian Wilson, P.L.S. (CA / NV / CO)
San Mateo County Surveyor

Edward M Reading
Posts: 129
Joined: Tue Sep 15, 2015 7:23 am
Location: San Luis Obispo

Re: Surveyor to Recorder

Postby Edward M Reading » Wed Sep 25, 2019 6:27 am

So what your saying is; that in some cases the CS is putting lipstick on a pig. Guess what? You can still tell that it's a pig.
Edward M. Reading
SLO County

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Ian Wilson
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Location: Bay Area

Re: Surveyor to Recorder

Postby Ian Wilson » Wed Sep 25, 2019 6:48 am

Edward M Reading wrote:So what your saying is; that in some cases the CS is putting lipstick on a pig. Guess what? You can still tell that it's a pig.


Not really. If the surveyor wants to put up a picture of a pig, I just want to make sure that they put up a proper drawing of the pig. I'm not asking for lipstick on the pig. I want to make sure that you've put enough notes on your map that no one will ever mistake your stick drawing for a drawing of an aardvark.If you have to say "This is a drawing of a pig." to do that, then do that.

I often base my surveys on maps and evidence that is nearly a hundred years old. The maps recorded today will still be used a hundred years form now. You won't be around to answer questions directly. That's why the information needs to be on the map.

If you're willing to take on the liability for a line on your boundary survey based on one point and record angles off it, say so. I was taught to put the information on the map. "FD 1" IP tagged LS XYZ, DN 0.2'. Accepted as Northeast corner of Lot A of 46 PM 21. Established northerly line of parcel by following trail of ants to approximate location of northwest corner." Not my call to tell you that is an unacceptable survey procedure. I might send a copy of the map to the Board. It IS their job to do that; not mine, though.

I'm betting that the surveyors 100 years from now will be able to look at the map and declare it to be fine fish wrapping.
Ian Wilson, P.L.S. (CA / NV / CO)
San Mateo County Surveyor

Edward M Reading
Posts: 129
Joined: Tue Sep 15, 2015 7:23 am
Location: San Luis Obispo

Re: Surveyor to Recorder

Postby Edward M Reading » Wed Sep 25, 2019 10:06 am

Ian Wilson wrote:
Edward M Reading wrote:So what your saying is; that in some cases the CS is putting lipstick on a pig. Guess what? You can still tell that it's a pig.


Not really. If the surveyor wants to put up a picture of a pig, I just want to make sure that they put up a proper drawing of the pig. I'm not asking for lipstick on the pig. I want to make sure that you've put enough notes on your map that no one will ever mistake your stick drawing for a drawing of an aardvark.If you have to say "This is a drawing of a pig." to do that, then do that.

I often base my surveys on maps and evidence that is nearly a hundred years old. The maps recorded today will still be used a hundred years form now. You won't be around to answer questions directly. That's why the information needs to be on the map.

If you're willing to take on the liability for a line on your boundary survey based on one point and record angles off it, say so. I was taught to put the information on the map. "FD 1" IP tagged LS XYZ, DN 0.2'. Accepted as Northeast corner of Lot A of 46 PM 21. Established northerly line of parcel by following trail of ants to approximate location of northwest corner." Not my call to tell you that is an unacceptable survey procedure. I might send a copy of the map to the Board. It IS their job to do that; not mine, though.

I'm betting that the surveyors 100 years from now will be able to look at the map and declare it to be fine fish wrapping.


Ian, I'm not saying that I agree with that, just summarizing his position. I've worked more of my career in states without a CS than I have in states with one. I see the value of having a CS. Many maps end up materially better after comments from a thoughtful CS. I see it all of the time.
Edward M. Reading
SLO County

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Steve Martin
Posts: 513
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Location: Hayward

Re: Surveyor to Recorder

Postby Steve Martin » Wed Sep 25, 2019 2:38 pm

Many years ago, I check a Record of Survey where the Surveyor set the North and South 1/4 corners on line and midway between the section corners in Section 6.

Being a young LSIT way back then, I was nervous about having to tell him about proportionate distance per the GLO plat, but the answer I got back was very thankful that I had caught the dumb oversite he or his staff had made before it was memorialized for all eternity. You could almost hear the facepalm in his response. It was very plain once I pointed it out.

From my experience, I believe there is a lot of value in an independent review. It was never a revenue generator back then, the County lost money on the checks. Most of the Surveyors really appreciated getting the benefit of the main Record of Survey map checker's vast local knowledge back then (he looked over the few I checked too).

I would vote for better training for the public map checkers (and contractors), and am against no review or the buddy system.

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David Kendall
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Joined: Thu Apr 10, 2014 1:45 pm
Location: Sonoma

Re: Surveyor to Recorder

Postby David Kendall » Mon Oct 07, 2019 8:06 am

Edward M Reading wrote:So what your saying is; that in some cases the CS is putting lipstick on a pig. Guess what? You can still tell that it's a pig.

I'm not seeing how posting poor maps is an indictment on having a CS review maps.


What I see is that the CS endorsement is making erroneous, negligent, poorly explained or poorly researched boundary investigations legitimate. It is unfortunately much worse then putting lipstick on a pig. It is giving the pig a gun and a badge and authority and entitlement. County Surveyors, please consider that every surveyor whose backside you wipe today is enabled to go out tomorrow and damage the private property of another citizen.

Sure, I can tell it's a pig. Most of the time. Some are better than others with the lipstick. The problem for you to consider is that the client doesn't know that their bargain record of survey just created a legal battle with the neighbor and the neighbor may not realize it for ten or twenty years. How do you wipe a bad record of survey off of the record? It is endorsed by he County Surveyor after all!

In my opinion, the only way for a County Surveyor to stay relevant going forward is through liberal application of the "Notation of Matters Not Agreed Upon" in Section 8768. This is extremely underused and I find it disgraceful. Most of the County Surveyors I know are either stamping everything that comes across their desk, or they are talking the thing to death with goofy redline comments over meaningless features on the maps (like commas, apostrophes and 'mathematical accuracy') or they are applying so much lipstick to the pig that the thing is unrecognizable, then they endorse it. I can count on one hand the number of CS notes I have seen. I find them very helpful. If the submitting surveyor doesn't say "It's a pig" on the map then the reviewing surveyor ought to say it

When the deregulation wave rolls through California and the County Surveyor review is as large a percentage of the cost of a survey and it has as much or less value as it does now in "protecting the public" then guess who will be the first one to get the axe. Any County Surveyor or member of the Board of Professional Land Surveyors in Texas can tell you that is truth.

I would prefer to see the first review of every record of survey come back with a stamp or a carefully crafted and ready to file CS note stating the difference of opinion. This is something I can work with. This $1000 back and forth nonsense is a waste of time.

And all of you guys that survey for only one client or are exempt from review fees, I appreciate your perspective but please understand that it doesn't count for much in this conversation.

We either need to slaughter the pigs or put them on up the state flag and fly it proudly.

Or maybe land surveying really is just grifting. I can play that game too but let us not be so self-righteous and formal about it then

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E_Page
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Location: El Dorado County

Re: Surveyor to Recorder

Postby E_Page » Tue Oct 08, 2019 9:01 am

Overall, as I've stated previously, I believe that having a CS review is a good thing. But there is no question that in CA, there are some problems with how that review is performed and administered. IMO, that doesn't mean that it should be done away with. It means that efforts should be made to address the real and perceived problems.

Some of the problems I've seen or have often heard others lament about are:

1. Review fees. These range from no fee to exorbitant, depending upon county, their internal financing structure and level of review. It would be good if there were more consistency, but I don't see the counties working with each other to solve it. Nor do I know if there is a legislative answer that can directly help this situation. Perhaps there are legislative solutions that can address other matters to provide more consistency in the performance of reviews across all counties that could have an indirect effect on review fees.

2. As David Kendall pointed out, the signature of the CS is often taken as and sometimes presented as an endorsement of the correctness and quality of the survey. To some extent, that may be true in some (very few if any) counties, but based on my experience and on the maps I've seen from nearly every county in the State, correctness and quality of the results of the survey are not part of the review. At best, some counties perform a level of review as Ian described - the correctness and quality is fully on the surveyor of record while the CS just ensures that, aside from the technical drafting requirements, the surveyor of record has sufficiently explained what they did so that it is either easy for following surveyors to follow, or the surveyor of record provides enough info to hang themselves given an honest and competent review by BPELSG.

Personally, I think that a reviewing surveyor necessarily has limitations that prevent him or her from fully knowing if the results are completely reasonable as the reviewing surveyor has little way of knowing how thorough the research and field work were performed. The results might appear to depict reasonable conclusions based on diligent efforts in the field and office, but without reperforming the survey, the reviewer has no way of knowing whether there is additional field evidence which should have been considered, court judgments, wills or unfiled documentation which is relevant, etc.

Often, the info on the map makes it clear that the effort was so deficient or the conclusions so off base that it's clear that a poor or bad survey was performed. I've seen several, particularly in the Bay area that are much like Ian described (survey based on 2 mons, 35' apart, 2 blocks away). Those instances are ones in which a note by the CS should be required.

Beyond that, perhaps the CS Statement should be legislatively altered to make it clear that the signature that a review occurred does not constitute an endorsement of the results or quality of the work in performing the survey.

3. Inconsistent level of review. I've seen inconsistency within a county, but that's an internal thing and not the larger problem I'm identifying here. It has registered with me for many years that some CS offices perform more rigorous reviews than others, but it really stuck home when I attended a CS Panel Discussion at a CLSA Annual Conference a few years back. When asked about the level of review, particularly with regard to apparent diligence of the survey effort and reasonableness of the conclusions, the 3-person panel ran the full gamut.

A CS from a Southern CA county said that his office does look closely at each map for those issues and will work with the surveyor for them to provide a map that reflects a survey performed and analyzed to the proper standard of care or will ad a CS note if that effort fails. The 2nd CS, also from somewhere in Southern CA, IIRC, described a review process much as Ian described, stating that if it's really obvious that the map reflects a poor survey, they will suggest the surveyor fix the procedural deficiencies and that they might add a note. The 3rd, a former CS of a Bay area county said that her office didn't look at those matters at all but limited their review to only the technical drafting requirements outlined in the PLSA. She said that she limited the review to encourage surveyors to file maps and assumed that if her review was more stringent, many surveyors would knowingly and purposely violate the PLSA by not filing when required.

The root of this inconsistency, I think - I mean beyond a work ethic that makes excuses for essentially not performing any meaningful review at all - is the vague wording of 8764(g). "Any information necessary..." leaves a lot of room for interpretation. Some CSs read that as requiring, or at least authorizing them to review whether the efforts, methods and conclusions appear reasonable (and I think there is room for that interpretation), while others think that depicting a few found and set monument positions that have bearings and distances between them that reflect the closure report is sufficient (IMO, there is room for this interpretation for instances where the survey is very straightforward and appropriate control was found and used, i.e. an interior lot in a subdivision for which controlling monumentation is abundant). But some apply that last interpretation to all survey maps and, IMO, there is not room for that lax an interpretation. If that is to be the extent of review, then it is utterly useless.

I believe that language could be tightened up without dictating methods as some state's MTS seem to get into. Something to the effect that the various elements of survey be fully explained, from the control used (why limited to the 2 mons, 2 blocks away and 35' apart) and how a lack of better control (when applicable) has potentially affected results, to the reasoning behind the establishment of each point and line. That doesn't dictate to the surveyor what control must be used or what evidence and reasoning must be followed, but would provide info for others to better assess the effort and results and provide the side benefit of encouraging some marginal practitioners to be a little more diligent when they realize that having to provide the explanation makes it more difficult to hide the corners they cut in performance of the survey.

There may be other issues that some have with the review process, but I think if #2 & #3 could be effectively dealt with through legislation, that would help with #1 to some extent. It would also make it easier to subsequently look for potential solutions to a somewhat simplified matter of inconsistent review fees.
Evan Page, PLS
A Certain Forum Essayist

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btaylor
Posts: 455
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Location: Foster City, CA

Re: Surveyor to Recorder

Postby btaylor » Tue Oct 08, 2019 2:25 pm

E_Page wrote:Beyond that, perhaps the CS Statement should be legislatively altered to make it clear that the signature that a review occurred does not constitute an endorsement of the results or quality of the work in performing the survey.


This is an idea I've bandied about as well. I think the public impression is that the CS is in essence "endorsing" the survey, and I believe some County Surveyors believe this to be the case. I think the statement needs to clearly reflect that it does not constitute an endorsement of the work.

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hellsangle
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Location: Sonoma, CA

Re: Surveyor to Recorder

Postby hellsangle » Tue Oct 08, 2019 3:56 pm

I appreciate all that has been said . . .

When the County Surveyor records his/her Survey . . . isn't that what Crazy Phil's it proposing for the rest of us? Surveyor to Recorder. Who reviews the County survey?

So much of this textual debate could be eliminated if Surveyor to Recorder were enacted! Keep it simple.

(I personally believe there are County Surveyors that would rather be performing work that is a tangible benefit to its citizenry . . . rather than reviewing surveys.)

And . . . well said, Kendall.

Crazy Phil - Surveyor to Recorder

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hellsangle
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Location: Sonoma, CA

Re: Surveyor to Recorder

Postby hellsangle » Tue Oct 08, 2019 3:57 pm

Oh! And since July we've had two more "converts"

Edward M Reading
Posts: 129
Joined: Tue Sep 15, 2015 7:23 am
Location: San Luis Obispo

Re: Surveyor to Recorder

Postby Edward M Reading » Tue Oct 08, 2019 7:09 pm

People that think that the CS is endorsing the survey do not understand the CS statement on an RS. It is not an endorsement or certification, it clearly states what the review entails:

This map has been examined in accordance with Section 8766 of the Professional
Land Surveyors’ Act this _____day of ________, 20 ____.
Edward M. Reading
SLO County

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E_Page
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Joined: Thu Jun 23, 2005 6:49 am
Location: El Dorado County

Re: Surveyor to Recorder

Postby E_Page » Tue Oct 08, 2019 9:14 pm

Ed,

You've graded the exam and have reviewed enough maps to realize that less than half of our licensees have any familiarity with the laws we practice by, and that estimate is probably very generous.

How much less for nonsurveyors. In court or license disciplinary hearings, even the judges aren't likely to go beyond whatever the expert witnesses have to say about it.

Even Ric has alluded to a signed CS Statement as a form of endorsement in justifying his opinion that any ancient (by legal std) unfiled map is of little to no evidentiary value compared to any filed map.

That statement may be clear to you, and it may be clear to nearly every CS in the State, but I am certain that each of those very clear interpretations impart several different meanings. Because 8766 ties back to 8764, the whole body of code sections related to CS review is practically the definition of an ambiguous statute.
Evan Page, PLS
A Certain Forum Essayist


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