U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
What is a Cadastral Survey?
The term cadastral survey refers to the official boundary surveys performed under the authority of Title 43 of the United States Code (U.S.C.). Cadastral surveys in general create, mark, and define, retrace, resurvey and reestablish the boundaries and subdivisions of the public lands of the United States. By Title 43 U.S.C., the BLM is required to perform cadastral surveys on all Federal interest and Indian lands.
There are three basic elements to any cadastral survey:
I. The Authorizing Documentation
II. Field Survey
The field survey consists of the collection of measurements, bearing and distance, made to any evidence of all prior surveys. After thoroughly evaluating all evidence of remaining original corners, monuments are set at those positions to perpetuate the corner. Further information on this subject may be found at Cadastral Tools and References page.
The actual field survey and the preparation of the official records for the field work may require as little as a week or in extreme cases a year or more to complete, this is entirely dependent on the size of the project and annual appropriations.
III. Survey Returns
The official record of a cadastral survey ordinarily consists of a graphical representation of the field survey, "the plat" and a written narrative description of the field work, "field notes". The plat represents the lines surveyed, showing the direction and length of each line; the boundaries, descriptions and area of the parcel of land; and, as far as practicable, a delineation of the culture and improvements within the limits of the survey. The field notes describe in a narrative the bearings and distances of the lines and a description of the evidence found and the monumentation established at each corner position. The plats and field notes submitted for a field survey are not official until approved by the delegated authority. These documents are then filed and notice is published in the Federal Register.