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Minimum Standards

Addendum A

Minimum Standards for Surveys

(A) Preface

These standards were adopted by the Professional Surveyors Association of Nebraska at the Annual Meeting in February 1989. It is the intent of these standards to provide the surveyor and the recipient of surveys with a realistic and prudent yardstick of adequate surveying performance.

These written standards are established to define the least level of performance which is acceptable for land surveys.

(B) Scope

The minimum standards of this section are the guidelines which shall apply to every land survey performed in the State of Nebraska, except where higher standards for land surveys are prescribed by statute, administrative rule or ordinance, then such standards shall govern. Also, when a land survey involves certain corners or lines that are covered under the "Manual of Instructions for the Survey of the Public Lands of the United States", or under "Instructions to County Surveyors" as issued by the State Surveyor, or, by client written request is under the "ACSM/ALTA Classifications and Specifications for Surveys", then rules or instructions for these particular surveys shall apply.

  • These standards may also be made more restrictive by a written surveyor/client agreement.
(C) Definitions

Land Survey shall mean those surveys as defined in Nebraska Revised Statutes (Reissue of 1987), Sections 81-8,108 through 81-8,127, inclusive. Under this definition are included two general types of surveys. One is a resurvey or retracement, where an existing recorded description is retraced; the other is an original survey, where a survey is made and a new description is generated from such survey. Appropriate procedures must be used in each case.

Surveyor shall mean anyone authorized to practice land surveying under Nebraska Revised Statutes (Reissue of 1987), Sections 81-8,108 through 81-8,127 inclusive.

  • Plat shall mean any graphic representation of the survey.
  • Minimum Standard shall mean the least level of performance that is acceptable.
  • Public Land System shall be the patented lands as surveyed, platted and approved by the General Land Office of the United States of America.
  • Bench Mark is an identified stable point for which there is a known elevation referenced to an assumed, local, state or national datum plane.
  • Linear Error of Closure is computed as the square root of the sum of the squares of the error in the north coordinates and the error in the east coordinates.
  • Relative Error of Closure is computed as the value of the total length of the perimeter of the survey divided by the linear error of closure and expressed as a ratio of one (1) part in 'N' parts.
(D) Legal Descriptions

Descriptions defining land boundaries written for conveyance or other purposes shall be complete, and provide definite and unequivocal identification of the lines and boundaries thereof. The description shall contain information sufficient to enable the description to be plotted and to be retraced.

  1. Public Land System Descriptions shall contain government lot or quarter quarter section, quarter section, section, township, range, principal meridian, city, where applicable; county and state.
  2. Tax lots, irregular tracts, etcetera, shall be referenced to the Public Land System as listed in "1" above.
  3. Subdivisions or Additions shall be referenced as in "1" or "2" above and shall contain such further identifiers as Lots and/or Blocks. A resurvey within a recorded Subdivision or Addition shall contain Lot and/or Block number where applicable; subdivision or addition and where recorded, city, county and state.
  4. Metes and Bounds surveys shall contain sufficient identifiers and dimensions to enable the description to be plotted and retraced and be referenced to corners of record as in "1", "2" or "3" above.
  5. Three Dimensional Descriptions shall contain the items called for in "4" above and also contain elevations referenced to a defined datum and bench mark. When practical the vertical datum should reference either the National Geodetic Vertical Datum of 1929, NAVD 88 or local datum.
  6. Condominium Descriptions shall be as defined in Nebraska State Statutes, (Reissue of 1986) Sections 76-802 through 76-894.
(E) Research and Investigation

Research of background data shall be conducted prior to beginning the survey. The surveyor shall analyze the data and determine the most logical procedure to follow in conducting the survey.

(F) Conduct of Survey

The surveyor shall, personally or under his or her direct supervision, cause a survey to be performed consisting of, but not limited to, the following items:

  1. Search thoroughly for necessary controlling monuments and other physical evidence.
  2. Investigate possible parol evidence supporting positions of obliterated control monuments and record the necessary statements (dated and signed if possible).
  3. Cooperate with appropriate public officials.
  4. Take necessary measurements to correlate found evidence.
  5. Make sufficient check measurements and computations to satisfactorily verify the work.
  6. Evaluate the evidence.
  7. In the event of the discovery of a material disagreement with the work of another surveyor, the present surveyor should contact the previous surveyor, if possible, and attempt to resolve the disagreement.
  8. Apply the proper theory of reestablishment of corners in accordance with the Nebraska State Statutes, the Manual of Survey Instructions and legal precedent.
  9. Set monuments required.
  10. Record all pertinent information, measurements and observations made in the field during the course of the survey in an appropriate and retrievable form, and in a manner that is intelligible to another surveyor.
(G) Plat or Certificate of Survey

The client shall be furnished a record of the survey and other such information to show and identify the following:

  1. Those items required by Nebraska Revised Statutes (Reissue 1987), Section 81-8,108 through 81-8,127, inclusive.
  2. North arrow and scale. When the direction of a line is used to establish any course on the boundary of a survey or used to compute the area, the direction of the line shall be made a part of the plat of survey and shown by angle or bearing or azimuth with a reference given for the bearing or azimuth system. Curved lines shall include data necessary to compute and plot the curve.
  3. When pertinent, adjoining parcels identified by description or record reference and any gaps or overlaps shall be identified and dimensioned, when descriptions of adjoiners are provided by a registered abstractor.
  4. Easements of record when provided by the client shall be shown by book and page.
  5. Sufficient data to indicate the theory applied in finalizing the location of the corners and any data at variance with this theory. Such data should be of such a nature that a competent surveyor can make a facile retracement.
  6. A certification by the surveyor shall contain:
    • His or her authority to perform the survey;
    • The date of the survey;
    • That he or she personally or under his or her direct supervision caused the survey to be performed.
(H) Monumentation

The surveyor shall establish, reestablish or confirm the prior establishment of permanent monuments at each corner on the boundary lines of the parcel being surveyed. Monuments shall be solid and substantially free from movement. In such cases where the placement of a permanent monument at the true corner is impractical because of instability or is likely to be destroyed, the surveyor shall set a corner accessory monument and show its relationship by dimension to the true corner.

The monuments set shall be constructed of material capable of being detected by commonly used magnetic locators. These monuments shall consist of an iron pipe or steel rod with a minimal diameter of one-half inch and minimal length of twenty-four inches. A durable cap bearing the registration number of the professional land surveyor responsible for the establishment of the monument shall be affixed securely to the top of each monument. When extenuating circumstances dictate, the surveyor may use such monuments as an embossed nail or a nail with an embossed washer or tag which has probability of permanence. With the exception of star drill holes and cross-cuts, all monuments shall bear the registration number of the professional land surveyor responsible for the establishment or re-establishment of the monument. Where a corner or a line falls on or within a wall, column line or other physical feature and the placement of a monument is not feasible, the wall, column line or physical feature shall become the monument by reference thereto. In lieu of the above standards, monuments set by County Surveyors, as mandated in the instructions from the State Surveyor, shall adhere to the higher standards as stated therein.

(I) Perpetuation
  1. The surveyor shall file a record of all land surveys in accordance with Nebraska Revised Statutes (Reissue 1987), Sections 81-8,108 through 81-8,127, inclusive.
  2. Copies of the records of the survey and other plats provided to the client along with field notes and pertinent data should be maintained in a retrievable manner by the surveyor for a period of not less than 10 years.
(J) Technical Minimums
  1. Measurement Specifications: Based upon consultation with the client and knowledge of local regulations, requirements and conditions, the Surveyor shall determine the appropriate precision required for the subject survey. The precision requirement will be used to determine the appropriate equipment, procedures and personnel to be assigned to the survey. Upon completion of the survey, an analysis of the field data will be made to determine that procedural requirements have been met, the angles adjusted for closure and the linear error of closure computed, using one of the normal procedures. The unadjusted relative error of closure shall not be less than one part in seven thousand five hundred (1/7,500)
  2. Positional Tolerance: The relative position of any two points shown on the survey boundary which are connected by a dimension shall not differ, with a sixty-eight percent (68%) confidence level, either by angle or distance or a combination thereof, from the reported relative position by more than one part in seven thousand five hundred (1/7500) plus 0.10 feet.

Addendum B

Minimum Standards for Improvement Location Surveys


These standards are intended to be the minimum requirements for improvement location surveys in the State of Nebraska.

An improvement location survey shall be defined as a survey which produces a report that shows the location of buildings with foundations actually located on the land covered by the legal description provided by the client. The improvement location survey is not a boundary survey as identified by Nebraska State Statute 81-8, 109.

Research and Investigation
  1. The Registered Land Surveyor shall use the description furnished by the client to perform the improvement location survey. If the Registered Land Surveyor determines the description to contain apparent incompleteness, insufficiencies, or be subject to junior/senior rights, the Registered Land Surveyor shall so advise the client that additional information will be required to complete the survey.
  2. After all necessary written documents, as furnished by the client, have been analyzed the survey shall be based on a field investigation of the property. The Registered Land Surveyor shall make a thorough search of physical monuments and analyze evidence of occupation. A minimum of two (2) monuments acceptable to the Registered Land Surveyor within the same block in urban situations and within the same section in rural situations, either found or re-established, shall be used.
  3. Monuments may be permanent and semi-permanent points such as, but not limited to, stones, axles, re-bars, crosses, and pipes. Fence lines, mowing lines, hedge rows, etc. are not considered acceptable monuments of the parcel of land. Appropriate survey instrumentation and measuring equipment shall be utilized. The minimum shall be transit and/or measuring tapes.
  4. A Registered Land Surveyor in the State of Nebraska shall not provide to any party an Improvement Location Report unless in possession of a work order signed by the client as indication that he/she has been advised of the different types of surveys available and the scope of each.

A sketch of the parcel of land (titled Improvement Location Report) shall be used in support of the improvement location survey and the following minimum standards shall be used.

  1. Parcel lines with the dimensions from the deed description or plat shall be shown.
  2. Major improvements (permanent structures) shall be shown with dimensions and descriptions (e.g., residences, garages, outbuildings with foundations).
  3. Major improvement locations shall be shown with dimensions to the parcel line, with two dimensions shown. Offsets shall be shown radial or perpendicular to the parcel line. The level of certainty of the measurements shall be so indicated in parenthesis after each dimension or by means of a general note. Example:12.5' (±0.5'), 20' (±1')
  4. Monuments accepted shall be shown and described.
  5. Easements provided to the Registered Land Surveyor by the client shall be shown.
  6. A North arrow shall be shown.
  7. The following caption shall appear prominently on the report:
  9. A statement that the accompanying Improvement Location Report is a representation of the conditions that were found at the time of the improvement location survey and that the document does not constitute a boundary survey and is subject to any inaccuracies that a subsequent boundary survey may disclose. It shall state that the information shown on the report should not be used to establish any fence, structure, or other improvements. The report shall state whether the measurements shown on it are based on plat or deed information and verified as shown and that the Improvement Location Report represents only visible building improvements.
  10. The legal description of the parcel of land shall be included on the report.
  11. The Registered Land Surveyor shall sign, seal, and date the report.
Improvement Location Report Work Order

Work Order pdf

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Information Provided By:

The Nebraska Board of Examiners for Land Surveyors
555 North Cotner Blvd. - Lower Level
Lincoln, Nebraska 68505
Tel: (402) 471-2566