Cover Page

Contents

Cover

Title Page

Copyright

Foreword

Chapter 1: Introduction

1.1 PROPERTY

1.2 TITLE AND INTERESTS IN REAL PROPERTY

1.3 TRANSFERS OF TITLE AND INTERESTS

1.4 DEEDS

Chapter 2: Land Record Systems

2.1 OVERVIEW

2.2 METES AND BOUNDS

2.3 UNITED STATES PUBLIC LANDS SYSTEM

2.4 PLATTED SUBDIVISIONS

2.5 COMBINED RECORD SYSTEM DESCRIPTIONS

Chapter 3: Directions

3.1 ANGLES

3.2 MERIDIANS

3.3 BEARINGS

3.4 CURVED LINES

3.5 AZIMUTHS

3.6 COMPASS DIRECTIONS AND HEADINGS

Chapter 4: Map Projections

4.1 GENERAL

4.2 PROJECTIONLESS MAPS

4.3 CONFORMAL PLANE PROJECTION

4.4 APPLICATION

Chapter 5: Platting to Describe

5.1 GENERAL

5.2 ORIGINAL SURVEYS

5.3 RETRACEMENT SURVEYS

5.4 PRESERVING THE EVIDENCE IN WORDS: A CASE STUDY

5.5 REFERENCE TO PLATS IN DESCRIPTIONS

Chapter 6: Composing, Comprehending Descriptions

6.1 GENERAL

6.2 HIERARCHY OF CALLS

6.3 CAPTION

6.4 BODY

6.5 ELEMENTS OF THE DESCRIPTION

6.6 PUNCTUATION AND LANGUAGE

6.7 DEED DISCREPANCIES—CONFLICTS

Chapter 7: ALTA/ACSM Surveys

7.1 LAND TITLE INSURANCE

7.2 ALTA/ACSM SURVEY STANDARDS

7.3 MANDATORY REQUIREMENTS FOR ALTA SURVEYS

7.4 ACCURACY STANDARDS

7.5 INFORMATIONAL OPTIONS

7.6 THE DESCRIPTION FOR AN ALTA/ACSM SURVEY

7.7 THE SURVEYOR IS IN CHARGE

Chapter 8: Situational Awareness

8.1 DEED DISCREPANCIES—CONFLICTS

8.2 PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITIES

8.3 REGIONAL LEXICON AND LOCAL PRACTICE

8.4 INTRODUCING UNIFORM LANGUAGE

8.5 BREAKING OLD HABITS

Afterword

Table of cases

Index

Title Page

Foreword

Land. Language. Law.

As readers of documents that address every aspect of land—its location, its character, its physical dimensions—surveyors and title examiners and attorneys must all be intimately familiar with the variety of possible interpretations and misinterpretations. Strange and unusual things happen when language is not clear and the law is therefore misapplied.

Throughout our professional careers, we (the authors of this book) have had a wide variety of experiences, often ordinary, sometimes intriguing, sometimes frustrating, related to land descriptions. Our purpose in undertaking this topic is to improve the written record relating to land and to reduce the legal problems associated with poor or unclear descriptions. When the law must be imposed because of problems with the description, everyone suffers, whether monetarily or emotionally. Real property boundary descriptions, land descriptions, must be clear and concise and preserve all the evidence pertaining to boundary location. Often, land descriptions are the only surviving source of information pertaining to a parcel's location. When these documents are missing, incomplete, or ambiguously written, we play a losing game of forensics in locating limited and full ownership interests on, above, or below the earth's surface.

In this volume we examine the land description in the context of time and history to understand how to improve documents we write and how to increase our understanding of those we read. We include history of language, of record keeping, and of surveying, and illustrate the consequences of failure to communicate with court opinions. We hope that the background information provides a lively context to the topic.