Training Videos On Project Management With Trello

Trello is a great app for the web and desktop. We’ve got a set of videos on our YouTube channel that show you how to use Trello for land surveying project management. There are 6 videos on the playlist. 4 of the videos are directly related to project management. The fifth video shows how to use Trello for business devlopment. The sixth video shows you how to use Trello for general task management. Contact us if you are willing to share how you are using Trello in your organization.

A New Resource On California Record-of-Survey Maps

We are pleased to share a new resource with our supporters. There is a new page on our web site dedicated to the preparation and filing of record-of-survey maps in California. At this time the web page has links to attorney general opinions and letters from the licensing board that are related to record-of-survey maps. We also have included copies of the past land surveyor acts in California. These legislative acts layout the requirement for the filing of record-of-survey maps.

We hope to add more resources related to record-of-survey maps to this page in the future. If you have resources we can share or link to on this page, please contact us.

New Articles On Professional Ethics For Land Surveying

We are pleased to announce the publication of two articles on professional ethics for land surveyors. These articles were developed as part of our upcoming course on Professional Ethics For Land Surveyors. The first article is entitled “Areas of Ethical Obligation For Land Surveyors“. The second article is entitled “The Weight of Monument Placement“.

The first parts of the online course on professional ethics for land surveyors will be available for free. We will post here when the course is available online.


New Articles Published In Issue #186 of California Surveying Magazine

We are pleased to announce the publication of 3 new articles on land surveying written by Landon Blake. The articles were published in Issue #186 of the California Surveyor Magazine. The articles are entitled:

  • Monument Destruction – Why Does It Continue? Why Do We Allow It?
  • A Review Of Hero Versus Hooper Land Company
  • A Review Of IBLA 37-132

You can download Issue #186 of the California Surveyor Magazine on the CLSA web site.

Landon is the volunteer editor for the California Surveyor Magazine. He is now working on Issue #187, which will include these articles:

  • The Challenge of Land Surveyors and Civil Engineers In Private Practice
  • Don’t Become A Talent Farm For Your Land Surveying And Civil Engineering
  • A Review Of Stevens Versus Peyton
  • Make Sure That Prospective Client Is A Good Fit For Your Land Surveying Organization – It Only Takes 3 Minutes

We’ll post here when Issue #187 is available.

Update: Latest Issue of the Cornerstone Boundary Surveying Newsletter Is Now Available

I’ve just published the latest issue of the Cornerstone Boundary Surveying Newsletter. In this issue we continue our article series on preparing boundary survey maps and GIS for linear boundaries. We also review a boundary dispute court case from California and an IBLA decision on PLSS surveys from Idaho.

You can download the Latest Issue of the Cornerstone Boundary Surveying Newsletter as a PDF.

I hope you enjoy reading the issue.


Update: New Articles Published for December 2016

I’ve just published the December 2016 Issue of the California Supremes on Land and Water. In this issue I begin a review of the case Mansell Versus the City of Long Beach. This Supreme Court Decisions deals with issues related to tidelands, riparian boundaries, and land title.

You can download the new issue as a PDF file.

You can also subscribe to the California Supremes on Land and Water and our other publications.

The December 2016 Issue of the Cornerstone Boundary Surveying Newsletter has just been published. This issue contains for articles:

  1. “Going the Distance”. This article looks at the 4 types of distances we show on boundary survey maps.
  2. “GIS for Linear Boundaries – Part 2”. This article is our second in a series that explores how to apply GIS to the maintenance of linear boundaries.
  3. “A Review of Prewitt Versus Norsworthy”. In this article, I review a court case from Texas dealing with chain-of-title and adverse possession.
  4. “A Review of IBLA 181-291”. In this article, I review an IBLA decision dealing with dependent resurveys and the doctrine of boundary-by-agreement.

You can download the December 2016 Issue of the Cornerstone Boundary Surveying Newsletter as a PDF file.

You can also subscribe to the Cornerstone Boundary Surveying Newsletter and our other publications.





Update: In The Hopper – Public Surveyors

I wanted to let you guys know about a few items I’m working on related to the professional work of public surveyors:

  1. The first item is a lead article for the upcoming issue of California Surveyor Magazine. (This is the Fall 2016 Issue if the magazine.) The article is entitled “Why Every City Needs a Strong City Surveyor”. It features an interview with Turlock City Surveyor Rich Fultz.
  2. The second item is the first in a new series of articles about the relationship between public agencies and private land surveying companies. Selected articles from this series will also be published in the California Surveyor Magazine, including this first article in the series. The first article will discuss the consequences of legal and ethical violations during the selection of consulting land surveying services by public agencies. Future articles in the series will talk about prevailing wage, qualifications-based selections, and land surveying services request-for-proposals.
  3. The third item is an article and infographic entitled “The 5 Worst Mistakes You Make In Your RFP for Land Surveying Services”.
  4. The fourth item is a second article related to the role of a strong city surveyor. It is entitled “The Problems With 2 Common Alternatives to a Strong City Surveyor’. The article examines dual licensed survey/civil professionals and contract land surveyors in the city surveyor role.

I hope to have all of this content published by the end of October.


Update: In The Hopper

I wanted to give you guys a quick update on some of the articles I’m currently working on. These should all be published before the end of the year. In the Fall 2016 Issue of the California Surveyor Magazine I should have 4 new articles:

  • A Review of Brothers Inc Versus Johnsons: This is the first article in a short series looking at the role of the land surveyor in adverse possession. In this first article we discuss the recent court decision from Louisiana in which an erroneous survey led to a successful claim of adverse possession against a 170 foot wide strip of land between two parcels.
  • A Review of IBLA 99-363 (Part 1):  This is the first article in a series of articles reviewing IBLA decisions related to land surveying and land title. This article is the first part of a set of articles in the series examining a recent IBLA decision from Washington state in which the BLM’s rejection of a corner stone led to major building encroachments onto federal land.
  • Understanding Survey Error Adjustment (Part 1): This is the first article in a series that will explain survey error adjustment basics using an easy-to-understand teaching style and basic math. It will also feature working error adjustment software written in Java and Groovy and released under an open source license. Although the article series will teach the weighted least squares adjustment method popular among surveyors today, it will cover a variety of other topics related to error adjustment. These topics will include alternate adjustment methods, creating measurement error statements for maps, analyzing and reporting measurement error, and creating error budgets when planning surveys. The goal of the article series is to put basic error adjustment tools into the hands of every surveyor. The first article in this series will provide basic definitions, will look at the components of a survey measurement system, and will look at the 3 main types of errors in survey measurements.
  • The Structure of California Land Planning Authority: This is an introductory article on land use planning law in California. It will look at the structure of land use planning authority, with a basic description of the general plan, specific plan, zoning regulations, and subdivision regulation. It will be the first article in a series that explains land use planning to land surveyors, and examines real life examples from the plans and regulations of two very different California Cities.
  • The 5 Mistake Public Agencies Make When Issuing an RFP for Land Surveying Services: In this article series members of the ACEC California Qualifications Based Selection Committee will examine common mistakes, misunderstandings and best practices for the acquisition of land surveying services in California. The first article in the series will examine the worst mistakes a public agency can make when issuing an RFP.

I’ll make regular posts in the future to this category on our web site about upcoming work on articles, workshops, and online courses.


Event: San Diego “Determining Land Boundaries” Workshop

Landon Blake, the owner of Redefined Horizons, will be teaching a workshop entitled “Determining Land Boundaries” in San Diego, California on September 9, 2016. The workshop will be managed by Half Moon Workshops. Details on the time and specific location will be coming soon.

You can learn more about the “Determining Land Boundaries” Workshop here.


Article: Corner Stone Boundary Surveying Newsletter – Survey of the Weber Grant East Boundary Part 01

This article is available with graphics as a PDF.


This article is the first in a new series that will walk you through a survey to retrace the east boundary of the Weber Grant in Stockton, California. As part of this tutorial we will learn how to set-up a project folder structure, conduct and organize our boundary research, plan our initial boundary field surveys, and analyze our field survey results. We’ll construct property corner histories, and carefully determine corner locations based on available evidence. Then we will produce a high-quality cartographic map using open source tools to map the results of our work. Before we get started, we need some background on the Weber Grant.

Karl Weber, or Chaptain Charles Weber, was a German who immigrated to America in 1836. After coming to California he settles in San Jose and became a business partner of William Gulnac. Together they ran several businesses, including a corn mill, a bakery, a blacksmith shop, a salt mine, a shoe shop and a cattle ranch. William Gulnac petitioned the Mexican governer for a land grant. He was awarded a large plot of land near modern day Stockton, California. He failed in his attempts to settle the land and eventually sold it to his former business partner, Charles Weber. Weber began to settle the land grant, which was eventually recognized by the United States government after the end of the Mexican-American war. After the ware Weber moved to his land grant and laid out a town, which was named Tuleburg. Tuleburg was later renamed to Stockton, in honor of Commodore Robert Stockton. Weber built his family home at Weber Point. Stockton rapidly grew as the head of navigation on the San Joaquin River.

The Weber Grant is also known as the Rancho Campo De Los Franceses or “Ranch of the Camp of the French”. This name was taken because of the camp of French fur trappers contained within the grant just South of Stockton near the modern day town of French Camp.

Segment #1

When working on a large survey project it is helpful to break the project up into small chunks. In this article series we will originally deal with the northern most part of the east boundary of the Weber Grant. This segment starts at the intersection of the east boundary of the Weber Grant with the Calaveras River, which forms the grant’s north boundary. It runs south along Highway 88 to the intersection of Highway 88 and Comstock Road. This segment is shown in Diagram #1.

Initial Research

What initial research to we need to conduct to identify corners that control the location of the grant boundary for this first segment?
The land grant was excluded from the public land survey system. Its east boundary was surveyed by the GLO surveyors that worked in the area. As a consequence, we need to obtain the following documents the GLO township plats and GLO survey field notes.

The grant boundary in this area also runs within or near Highway 88. As a consequence, we need to obtain whatever boundary surveys and right-of-way maps Caltrans has available for Highway 88 in this vicinity.

Anytime I’m working on a boundary survey in San Joaquin County I also obtain copies of the county tax assessor maps and any boundary survey maps that have been filed with the County Surveyor in my project area.

Here is a summary of the records we want to obtain as part of our initial research:

  1. GLO Township Plat
  2. GLO field Notes
  3. Caltrans Right-of-Way Maps
  4. County Tax Assessor Maps
  5. County Filed Survey Maps

Project Folder Structure

Before I start the work of actually obtaining the documents we’ve identified, I’ll want to create a folder structure for my project. This will allow me to store and organize the records as I obtain them.

I’ve decided to use a folder structure for this project with five (5) top-level folders. The first is for research. The second is for field surveys. The third is for boundary analysis. The fourth is for work products. The fifth folder is for GIS. Inside the research folder I’ve created four (4) sub-folders. There is a folder for Caltrans records, a folder for County Filed Survey Maps, a folder for County Tax Assessor Maps, and a folder for GLO records. Diagram #2 shows the initial structure of our project folder.

Next Steps

Our next steps in the project will be to identify property corners along the first segment of our east boundary. Once we’ve identified and catagorized those corners, we will construct preliminary property corner histories for each corner. After this is complete we can begin to plan for our first field survey.

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