Surveying Consultants Blog

Land Surveying, Real Estate, and You

Hazel Digital Media Admin - Tuesday, December 02, 2014

If you find yourself amidst the challenging, yet greatly satisfying endeavor of home-ownership, we congratulate you. We know you've got a hundred things to think about as you inch toward the finish line. However, we'd like to take a moment to explain the huge importance of conducting a land survey before purchasing property. 

There's a good chance the property you're about to purchase has been altered a fair bit since the last land survey was conducted on it. A lot of times, this includes swimming pools, fences, and additions to the house, like garages or extra bedrooms. If this is the case, you may later find that there is some discrepancy in what you own and what you think you own. Conducting an initial land survey gives you a thorough and precise understanding of exactly what belongs to you.

Conducting a land survey for your potential home is a rather hassle-free process, and can usually be completed in a short amount of time, depending on the property. The process begins with in-depth research: a land surveyor will absorb all available data on a given property. Next, the surveyor will analyze those documents, and compare them to the actual property. In the end, you'll receive a very accurate graphical representation of everything that will belong to you, including a full overhead vantage.

This is a critical step in the process of home-ownership for a number of reasons. The first is that it can protect you from litigation down the road. If you find yourself wanting to make additions to the property (fences, decks, etc.), you could easily wind up in a property dispute with your neighbor. Conducting a survey now will keep you from alienating or encroaching on adjacent properties.

Furthermore, making additions to a property can sometimes violate certain zoning restrictions that may be enforced in your area. Accidentally violating these can sometimes cause an unfortunate legal hassle for you. And finally, if you plan on mortgaging your new home, a lot of companies will require that you complete a land survey before giving out loans.

Here at Surveying Consultants, our goal is to educate citizens, not just in the South Carolina Lowcountry, but all over, as to the ease and importance of land surveying. With the help of a professional, the process can be easy, inexpensive, and pretty fun. Many consider buying property to be the most important purchase you'll ever make. We want to help you understand exactly what you're getting for your money. For more information on our process, please feel free to call or contact us today.

Land Surveying – Types and Uses

Surveying Consultants Admin - Friday, November 07, 2014

Here at Surveying Consultants, we are proud of the wide spectrum of services we offer. Utilizing all of the many fantastic tools and technologies available today, we are able to extend the reach of our service to nearly every facet of surveying. Because this resource is so widely-applicable in today's world, many are left in confusion as to the particulars of surveying, and worse, the many advantages it provides. Today, we'd like to present you with some of the common solutions we offer.


This survey benefits both homeowners and title insurers. Title insurers have specific needs relating to title insurance matters, and land surveyors can often help bridge the gap between them and those seeking insurance. Essentially, the ALTA/ACSM survey is a combination of boundary, title, and location surveys.

Essentially, this survey is a precise graphical representation of the territory, and notes all of the improvements made to the property and the utilities. It also provides thorough information on easements, encumbrances, rights-of-way, and many other key adjustments that may have taken place. Although this type of survey is useful for all properties, including residential estates, it is primarily effective for commercial properties.

In the end, an ALTA/ACSM survey ultimately details the surveyor's findings, as they relate to the information found in the title. Many insurers will demand that you complete this survey before seeking insurance, so it's a good idea to put it high up on the to-do list as you attempt to get your property squared away.

Land Surveys

Much of the essence of a land survey is also found in the ALTA/ACSM survey. Much of the how and why is similar, but these types of surveys tend to primarily benefit homeowners. In much the same way, a land survey seeks to specifically detail and outline, with the use of written documents as well as visual representations of land, exactly what belongs to the owner.

Land surveys are essential when first buying a home, as it informs you of the exact reach of your ownership. It will become additionally helpful whenever you are thinking of making improvements or additions to your home. If you are thinking of building a fence or a deck, a survey can come in handy in avoiding encroachment disputes with neighbors.

A land survey will usually also outline any zoning or coding restrictions that may be enforced in your area, which is also good to know about when making improvements. Completing a land survey is an extremely responsible step to take on the path to home-ownership, and one that is truly easy and hassle-free.

Topographic Surveys

Topographic surveys make use of some great aerial technologies, including GPS. This type of survey has far-reaching applications, and can truly benefit a number of different industries and local governments. The ultimate purpose of a topographic survey is to determine specific points and places on the earth's surface by measuring horizontal distances and differences in elevation.

With this information, a base map can be created, upon which one might begin designing residences, buildings, roads, or fire control routes. Whether you're an engineer, architect, forester, or geologist, having a surveyor who knows their way around the complex math and technology of this type of survey can save a lot of time and headache.

Zoning Reports

Most real property transactions require a Zoning Report along with the battery of other essential services (Phase I ESA, Property Condition Assessment, ALTA Survey, etc.). Depending on who you ask, zoning reports can be a hassle to get a hold of. Oftentimes, they are expensive, and require long turnaround times to complete. Our Zoning Reports are conducted by our in-house zoning department – they are always completed within 3 weeks, and at very competitive rates.

For more information on the many surveying solutions we offer, we invite you to peruse our blog, and take a look around our website. We also invite you to contact us directly with any questions or ideas you may have. We look forward to hearing from you.

Bridging The Gap

Surveying Consultants Admin - Tuesday, September 16, 2014

There's no denying that the magnificent Lowcountry is growing in population. As more and more come to enjoy the lifestyle and scenery of this beautiful place, some big time renovations are being made to accommodate. Say hello to the new flyover bridge.

The grand new structure, which is estimated to cost $31 million, is set to be underway no later than autumn. Upon completion, the bridge will begin at Buckingham Plantation Drive, and extend over the marsh between Buckingham Landing and The Gatherings, with various ramps on either side.

The flyover bridge was finally approved by Bluffton County Council, but not without a bit of controversy. In fact, it seems the idea for a flyover bridge has been slowly gaining momentum over the last several years.

It began with a Bluffton road project referendum in 2006, where a 1% sales tax was implemented to fund $152 million for 10 separate road projects, including the flyovers. Now, with the help of a federal grant administered by the state, it seems things are ready to begin.

All of the road projects being pursued are an effort to alleviate the traffic congestion that has followed the enormous population growth in the last decade. A fine effort, certainly – yet the current population seems divided on the alleged effectiveness of the bridge. And, there are many who believe the flyover will be hard on the eyes, taking away from the beloved natural beauty of the area.

Despite the disagreements, it seems the grand majority of Bluffton and Hilton Head have decided to pursue this new connection. And whichever side of the argument you fall on, there is no denying that this creation will be the result of masterful construction, architecture, and of course, land surveying.

The advanced technological resources available in this day and age will certainly yield a bridge that is reliable and efficient. Furthermore, the county has even specifically requested that the contractors overseeing the project be creative in the visual design; perhaps this bridge will become a unique landmark for a unique area. If nothing else, it will connect two lands in a whole new way.

To learn more about land surveying and the Lowcountry, please call or Contact Us today.

Cadastral Surveying

Hazel Digital Media Admin - Sunday, July 13, 2014

Cadastral surveying is one of the oldest practices in the world. It has helped to define our nation, been a staple of our society's development, and as such, is one of the cornerstones of our business. These types of surveys benefit both the state and the individual. They show where private lands end and public lands begin. Furthermore, cadastral surveys have proved fundamental in resolving law disputes between neighbors and landowners.

When we say that this method of land delineation has been around for a long time, we mean it: there's been evidence of surveys and documents of this nature reaching all the way back to ancient Rome! However, today's modern cadastral surveys have their roots in the European Renaissance. This system was eventually brought over to the colonies, and has since been refined through time and technology.

These surveys, documents, and maps are ultimately based on law, in an effort to uphold previously established territories. Through precise measurements and scientific methods, a cadastre will usually contain details of the ownership, the tenure, the dimensions, the value, and of course, the location: we are sometimes able to provide GPS coordinates for exact precision.

If necessary, we can also use the surveying process to create a cadastral map as well. This is a document that shows specific boundary and ownership lines, represented in visual form, rather than with written words. A lot of our maps will even include specific details, such as district names, certificate of title numbers, position of existing structures, adjacent street names, or more. Our cadastral maps cohesively contain all of the information you will need.

If you're thinking of buying a piece of land, it's imperative that you know precisely what you're getting. From the other perspective, if you're trying to sell land, you'll want to be fully informed on what you can and cannot give away before you start taking bids.

Cadastral surveys ultimately deal with ownership of land. Here at Surveying Consultants, we have years of experience in aiding all enterprises, both public and private, in boundary definition and property mapping.

If you're interested in learning more about your property, the exact dimensions of a certain piece of land, or have any questions at all about surveying, please call or contact us today. 

Aerial Surveying

Surveying Consultants Admin - Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Aerial Surveying has come a long way since its 19th century origins, when folks would snap their film cameras from the heights of their hot-air balloons. Today, the technology has become quite precise, and the applications are incredibly far-reaching.

There are a few different methods that can be employed in the use of aerial surveying, each depending on the demands of the job.

The most common practice is called Lidar, which uses a laser to illuminate a spot, and thereby measure the distance by observing the reflection. Think radar or sonar, but with light (hence the name). Lidar is used by archaeologists, physicists, and more – but in the world of surveying, this technology is invaluable.

While in flight, airplanes can capture a 1 km-wide perspective, and with the use of Lidar, measure elevation and terrain with incredible accuracy. Satellite imagery is effective in its own way, but aerial surveying allows for more specific data and more precise measurements. This data can then be converted into a 2-D or 3-D topographical map.

Another effective process is called aerial photogrammetry. This is where an airplane flies in a straight line, with a camera attached, taking pictures every few seconds. The photographs are then stitched together to provide a comprehensive overview of a given area. The airplane may fly at a great height while terrain mapping, or it may fly in at close range for surveying jobs that need to observe the exteriors of buildings.

However, there's more to it than just snapping a camera. The photograph is not the map – rather, it's a picture that's been distorted by topographic displacement, the tilt of the airplane, or various other factors. It can sometimes be difficult to determine an object's exact location, particularly in reference to other objects in the same picture. Herein lies the importance of hiring a surveying team with experience. There are ways to circumvent the complications of aerial surveying, but it takes familiarity with the equipment and the methods.

There are a number of reasons why one might be in need of quality aerial surveying, whether for commercial, philanthropic, or private purposes. This 19th century trade has evolved nicely, and is often more effective than satellite imagery, as it allows for higher resolution and awareness of atmospheric conditions. And, it is often faster and safer than surveying on the ground, particularly in steep areas, or places with a lot of water.

Whether you simply need the pictures, or you need a three-dimensional topographical map, the cutting-edge technology proudly used by Surveying Consultants allows you birds-eye precision. For more information on the what, how, and why of aerial surveying, call or Contact Us anytime. Surveying Consultants is looking forward to hearing from you.

What Is Hydrographic Surveying?

Hazel Digital Media Admin - Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Although the practices and principles of Hydrographic Surveying have been around for a long time, the term itself – and the professional trade – are fairly recent. Mariners have always needed to know how deep the water is, and so in this way, there's nothing new about Hydrographic Surveying. However, the methods of the olden days were much more crude compared to today's. And the technology of the present allows for more accurate data than ever before.

So just what exactly is Hydrographic Surveying?

Essentially, it's a science that attempts to provide as much information as possible about underwater surfaces. With the use of hydrographic surveying, one can “see,” as it were, the ocean floor. And given today's advanced technology, this practice provides data on water depth, tide level measurements, and even the sea floor material for a given area.

If you live near the water, there's a good chance that hydrographic surveying may apply to your industry. Here at Surveying Consultants, being based out of the Lowcountry, we've had the privilege of providing hydrographic surveying data for a wide range of varying businesses and individuals.

For any individual or organization who spends a lot of time on the water, hydrographic surveying provides a number of benefits. It is important for anyone on a vessel to know the precise location of shallow depths, in order to navigate through hazardous areas.

Furthermore, knowing what type of material the sea floor consists of is critical when anchoring, pursuing underwater construction (such as pipelines), or perhaps just knowing what types of fish reside where. Perhaps you're a waterside homeowner, looking to build a dock from your backyard: hydrographic surveying can be imperative to this task.

Hydrographic surveying is typically achieved through great use of Sonar, which utilizes sound waves to figure out depth, as well as identify underwater objects and obstructions. Sometimes, light detection is used for more intricate shorelines. Our raw data is then processed and presented to you in a way that is succinct and understandable.

Also known as Maritime Cartography, hydrographic surveying has wide reaching applications for widely-varying individuals. If you find yourself, for whatever reason, needing to obtain an intricate and detailed “map of the sea,” Surveying Consultants is here to help. To learn more about our process and the many ways hydrographic surveying can benefit you, please Call or Contact Us today.

The Use of GPS to Enhance Accuracy

Surveying Consultants Admin - Saturday, March 01, 2014

A task that once took weeks for an entire team of surveyors to complete can now be done within days, thanks to the constantly progressing technology of Global Positioning Systems. Surveying Consultants has been immersed in the industry for over 30 years, and have witnessed this technology evolve from its infancy. Because of our years of familiarity with GPS, we have managed to establish a new precedent for surveying accuracy and productivity.

In this day and age, GPS clearly has many far-reaching applications. However, it is especially useful and relevant to the surveying industry. In the days of this company's origin, we became proficient with conventional surveying techniques. However, all of these methods were generally limited to the vantages available to the human eye. When land was surveyed, it was done by hiking hilltops and mountainsides. Today, a fraction of the labor and equipment is used, which means better prices and turnaround times for our clients.

These days, we are able to utilize technology in order to gain accurate data about the tops of mountains and the bottoms of rivers – from narrow neighborhood streets to gaping fields, GPS allows us to get you the data you need in a short amount of time, so that you can get the most out of your project as quickly as possible. The data we obtain can be applied to tangible maps for you to peruse, or, more commonly, placed in Geographical Information Systems (GIS): a digital representation of the area of focus.

Being that our company resides near a beautiful coast, many of our clients find themselves in need of waterway surveys. If the job calls for it, we have no problem getting our feet wet. However, this is mostly unnecessary, thanks to GPS. Whether you're looking to build a bridge for your town, or a deck for your backyard, we are able to provide you with incredible accuracy.

From miles and miles away, the Global Positioning Systems we utilize are able to provide information down to the centimeter. Furthermore, everything is done wirelessly, which means there is no location too outlandish.

Surveying Consultants is proud to be making use of the latest technologies. They are always changing and evolving, and we guarantee that we will always stay on cutting edge, so as to provide our clients with enhanced accuracy and productivity. The finest details, presented in real time. No matter the job, we here at Surveying Consultants are eager to get you the information you need.

For more information on these tried and true practices, please Call or Contact Us today.

Commercial Surveying

Surveying Consultants Admin - Saturday, February 01, 2014

Commercial construction projects are massive endeavors that use great amounts of time, energy, and resources. When done correctly, the outcome is breathtaking. Unfortunately, however, many new construction projects struggle against unexpected property difficulties, which can greatly lengthen a project's timeline. The amount of material and manpower necessary can be reduced with expert planning before the project actually begins. Hiring a professional surveying firm in the preliminary stages will inform you of everything you need to know up front, and keep you informed as the project progresses.

When beginning a construction project, commercial builders will have a lot of areas of focus occupying their attention. It can therefore be easy to overlook certain things. Utilizing the aid of a professional surveying firm will help everyone to remain aware of things like: property boundaries, local zoning regulations & necessary permits, as well as an all-around understanding of site limitations.

Why hire a professional surveying firm before beginning a commercial construction project?

-Property Boundaries

Before laying the first brick, it's good to know what the exact dimensions are that you may work with. Failure to adhere to specific territory lines could create legal troubles later on down the road, after construction has already been initiated. A property survey consists of thorough data collection & research that ultimately seeks to understand the property's history. From this, exact markers are placed, giving you a tangible framework to build within. You may then rest easy as the new construction project flourishes, knowing you won't be over-stepping your boundaries.

-Attaining Permits

Depending on the location, design, and scope of the project, you may find yourself needing more permits than anticipated. By allowing us to step in from the get-go, we'll be able to tell you exactly what you'll need right away, thereby allowing you to avoid any rude surprises along the way. When beginning a commercial construction project, one needs to be aware of the local, state, and federal regulations in place. Surveying Consultants provides you with the research and information you need.

-Property Survey Map

Finally, you'll be provided with a Property Survey Map. This type of document makes use of existing maps, and includes the data collected during the property's research. This essentially gives the construction team a visual and informational blueprint to reference throughout the project.

In order for one to make the most of their time and resources, it's wise to be in communication with a surveying firm. Surveying Consultants has been aiding construction projects since 1983, and we would love to help you with your next endeavor. Call or Contact Us today to learn more about our process. 

Dock & Bulkhead Permit

Surveying Consultants Admin - Wednesday, January 01, 2014

If you are planning on embarking on the adventure of designing and/or installing a dock or bulkhead onto your property, we encourage you, and we want to help you avoid snags along the way. When it comes to building in or near water, it's possible that you may be in need of more local, state, or even federal permits than you may realize. Luckily, Surveying Consultants is at your side to help you quickly determine exactly which permits you'll need, and how best to obtain them. Furthermore, we can coach you along the way to ensure that you have to wade through as little paperwork as possible.

The permits you'll need when installing a dock or bulkhead vary by project, and are ultimately dependent on design and location. All of the necessary information is out there, and it's worth examining during the preliminary planning stages to ensure that your vision does not develop incongruent to local, state, or federal regulations. By knowing from the get-go the size and scope of the project, the different materials you intend to use, and the depth of the water atop which you plan to build, you'll save yourself time when seeking a permit. Here's a few good things to know right off the bat, as per the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control:

  • Your dock cannot be near sensitive natural resources, such as oyster beds or salt marshes, which are an environmental commodity.
  • Dock length is generally limited to no more than 1,000 feet.
  • Your dock must not obstruct access to state waterways.

Rightfully so, the environmental appendages of our government have taken pains to ensure that no new construction projects interfere with our area's natural operation. However, this responsibility has created a lot of extra work for the designer, builder, or homeowner who simply wants to enjoy a newly installed dock or bulkhead. The planning process can be lengthy and the application process can be challenging.

Surveying Consultants has helped numerous citizens in this fine area enjoy their docks and bulkheads, while still being environmentally-friendly, and in line with local regulations. With years of experience, we've pored over the literature, and we've researched all there is to know. When you work with Surveying Consultants to get your dock designed and your bulkhead built, we guarantee a swift and hassle-free process. We can help to ultimately minimize the time it takes to go from the conception of the idea to the tangible product.

For more information about Dock & Bulkhead Permits, or our process in helping to understand and obtain them, please Call or Contact Us today.

Residential Surveying

Surveying Consultants Admin - Sunday, December 01, 2013

Whether you're planning on purchasing some new real estate, or thinking of developing on the property you already own, completing a Residential Survey is an essential, and altogether responsible part of owning land. One may complete a Residential Survey for a number of reasons, but ultimately, the process serves to educate you about your property, update and establish a record, and equip you with all of the necessary knowledge and documentation you might need.

Here at Surveying Consultants, we complete our Residential Surveys carefully and thoroughly. Before bringing our equipment to any property, our job begins with vigorous research, and poring over any relevant documents for the land. This can include title certificates, deeds, past surveys, and / or easements. This part of the process helps us to become fully aware of the property's developmental history, so that the actual on-site measuring takes less time, and is more accurate.

Once the research is done, we take to the land to precisely establish the reach of your territorial ownership. Using either GPS, or electronic measuring equipment, in conjunction with a thorough knowledge of the property's history, we can pinpoint the breadth of the estate. We use subtle physical landmarks to identify the edges of the property, ensuring continuity throughout potential future developments. Finally, it is at this point where we can also determine whether the measurements interfere with adjoining properties, or other boundaries recorded in past surveys.

Many people find themselves with a handful of unexpected legal troubles when preparing to make adjustments to their home. It's critical to complete a Residential Survey before installing fences, putting in pools, or any other permanent modifications to prevent yourself from over-stepping your boundaries.

Land surveying is an important part of purchasing any property or real estate. It's a step that is frequently forgotten about, but is essential before securing land. A residential survey helps you to know that you are receiving the entirety of what you are paying for, and can also help you to assess which physical landmarks are within the reach of your property, such as trees and sidewalks. An initial residential survey is also crucial if you are planning to build on the land, or develop the property by assessing the risks of your respective climate.

With many years of experience in the industry, the professionals here at Surveying Consultants are ready to help you understand your property, down to the most minute details. Our process is ultimately thorough, yet simple for you. Please Call or Contact Us today to learn more about the benefits of Residential Surveying.