Surveying the Past

Corey M. Collins
February 6, 2024

SEM Surveys was recently tasked with retracing a survey conducted in 1953 and not surveyed since. The current occupation did not match the dimensions of the original survey and the task to retrace this plot of land was poised to be a challenge to say the least.


On the original survey plan there was reference to an old foundation as well as an old well. Through an intensive field investigation, both structures were found, their locations were collected, and a best placement of the original survey in today's accepted coordinate system was calculated. We then began a search for original monumentation. We were able to locate two of the original four corner pins! The first pin was located under 6-8 inches of topsoil, while the other pin was found under a tree root that had grown to about 6 inches on diameter since being place in the 1950s.


It was extremely rewarding to be able to find these pins based on our field investigations, but furthermore it was extremely humbling that, even with only the equipment and methods available in the 50s, the establishment of these pins were within 50 mm of what was published on the original survey plan!


Today’s equipment, procedures, and methods offer us a huge advantage over Land Surveyors from years past, so this determination is a testament that todays Surveying profession has been built on a strong foundation.

SEM In The Field

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