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convert coordinates on a property survey to a compass direction

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  • #16
    I registered just to say, thank you John. Your info was helpful to me.

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    • #17
      I found this site looking for survey information and signed up hope someone can help.I have 55 acres and have located the two frontage pins and one on the rear east side.On the west side I located the rear pin but have not located the pin south of that one,the land is shaped like an upside down boot.The part I am trying to figure is is as follows-N04* 38' 55" E 357.36'.I know the line is 357' long but to read the N04,is that 4 degrees ?I would be looking south from the north pin so I assume I would set my compass at like 184* going south?Does that make since what I typed lol??Thanks

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      • #18
        Originally posted by bo44 View Post
        I found this site looking for survey information and signed up hope someone can help.I have 55 acres and have located the two frontage pins and one on the rear east side.On the west side I located the rear pin but have not located the pin south of that one,the land is shaped like an upside down boot.The part I am trying to figure is is as follows-N04* 38' 55" E 357.36'.I know the line is 357' long but to read the N04,is that 4 degrees ?I would be looking south from the north pin so I assume I would set my compass at like 184* going south?Does that make since what I typed lol??Thanks
        It does make sense with a few complications. You are definitely on the right track. The points below may get you a little closer.
        1. Because of the minutes and seconds the angular bearing would be closer to 5, or the reverse, 185 (There are are 60 minutes in a degree and 60 seconds in a minute, so they add up to almost 2/3 of a degree).
        2. The surveyor uses true north as a reference, not magnetic north, which a compass points to. You need to look up the magnetic deviation for where you live. (Where I live, it is about 7W, making 353 on a compass true north or 0 on a land plat.) If you don't correct your compass reading for this, it will be the biggest error and you will have trouble finding the pin.
        3. The extra 0.36' is about 4" so about 357 ft 4 inches on the corrected compass bearing from (2).

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        • #19
          John S thanks for the reply.I have a lot of respect for survey people that is a lot of information to know I am lost with the minutes/seconds,latitudes,ect I guess its more than pulling out a measuring tape or a compass.I did look up the magnetic declination and it is -5* 33' for my location and is negative West.From the North pin I located I would head due south 180* but with that 4* I would head south at about 184*.From the north pin about how many feet would that equal to at the end of that 357"?I know I am in the general area right now by going due south and will be using a metal detector to hopefully locate this pin I am looking to find.The other locations have been easy because there were pins plus pink tape and old wood stakes in the ground but I did locate all that by walking through the woods this past early spring with my compass before the brush and trees greened up..This particular pin I am looking for right now is in the woods like the others were but this one I have not seen anything.If I end up a few feet off with my compass that's okay I can locate it (I hope) with the metal detector

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          • #20
            I went out and set my compass on my tripod I bought recently and here at my yard I walked off 357' due south then from that point I measured over west 15' to get the 4*.I read somewhere every degree on the compass is 3'??

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            • #21
              The t 60 ft out, one degree is about 1 ft, so at approx 360 ft, about 6 ft lateral per degree. However, that compass declination offsets your 185 degrees. You are somewhere between 179 to 180 compass.

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              • #22
                I checked on that every degree being 3' and that's not correct.Each click/turn of the bezel ring is 3*.Sounds like I am pretty dang close to the correct reading and location of the pin I am looking for.With the metal detector I should be able to find it.Thanks

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                • #23
                  Hi thanks for adding me here. I have some coordinates that I need help with.

                  I have a deviation of -10* 21'

                  The 2 survey coordinates are

                  N 29* 49' W

                  I understand about subtracting the deviation and the 29* on the above and al but how do I comput the 49'

                  also

                  N 55* 40' E

                  I know I use the above as is, but I am not getting the feet or inches if there were any.

                  I don't know how to compute the feet or inches. Please help.
                  I guess I need to know how many feet in a degree, is that correct?
                  I know where possibly 3 of the stakes are, one stake is confused as neighbor moved a building when he bought also a fence that was secured by 2 trees which have grown immensely. Also where the stake is this neighbor has made a junk heap on top of likely the marker., so all of this makes finding this one difficult.
                  TIA

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Sammie View Post
                    Hi thanks for adding me here. I have some coordinates that I need help with.

                    I have a deviation of -10* 21'

                    The 2 survey coordinates are

                    N 29* 49' W

                    I understand about subtracting the deviation and the 29* on the above and al but how do I comput the 49'

                    also

                    N 55* 40' E

                    I know I use the above as is, but I am not getting the feet or inches if there were any.

                    I don't know how to compute the feet or inches. Please help.
                    I guess I need to know how many feet in a degree, is that correct?
                    I know where possibly 3 of the stakes are, one stake is confused as neighbor moved a building when he bought also a fence that was secured by 2 trees which have grown immensely. Also where the stake is this neighbor has made a junk heap on top of likely the marker., so all of this makes finding this one difficult.
                    TIA
                    Each lot line of a property is specified from marker to marker as a distance (surveyors don't use inches, the number is decimal feet) and bearing in degrees and minutes, (there are 60' in 1). This is a bit confusing as the single ' is the symbol for both feet and minutes of arc. The bearings are quadrantal. an N or S tells you to start from north or south, and theen a number of degrees and minutes east (E) or west (W) of that starting direction. They are based on true north whereas compass directions are based on the magnetic pole. (To make it just a bit worse, compass generally use 0 - 360, not quadrantal bearings.

                    If you are working from a single marker, you really need the distance from your plan as well as the bearing. If you are working from the two nearest markers, you could just project the two bearings and see where they cross. A line always points two ways, 180 apart, and you may be projecting in the opposite direction that the surveyor was shooting. If the direction is obviously backwards you may need to add/subtract 180. You can't read a compass to minutes of arc, you might convert it to the nearest half or quarter of a degree, or just round to the nearest degree. I would need to see the lot plan to see if either bearing needs to be reversed.

                    If the two bearings above are the bearings from the two markers nearest the lost marker, I would project compass lines and see where they cross. Corrected for magnetic variation and converted to a 0 - 360 compass bearing, the first one becomes approx 320 compass (tad less) and the second one becomes about 1/3 degree over 45

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                    • #25
                      Hey thanks that all makes sense. The lot is basically 100' by a 100 give or take.
                      2 each of these of the lines are identical.
                      therefore the west and east lines are identical as are the north and south lines.
                      if one degree is equal to 60 feet, I am thinking I am not likely to find that stake as there are two stakes that are likely in the heap.
                      Ďoing cross lines makes great sense.
                      I must thank you what was looking like mud is fairly clear now. Thanks & Cheers

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Sammie View Post
                        Hey thanks that all makes sense. The lot is basically 100' by a 100 give or take.
                        2 each of these of the lines are identical.
                        therefore the west and east lines are identical as are the north and south lines.
                        if one degree is equal to 60 feet, I am thinking I am not likely to find that stake as there are two stakes that are likely in the heap.
                        Ďoing cross lines makes great sense.
                        I must thank you what was looking like mud is fairly clear now. Thanks & Cheers
                        One degree is not 60 feet. It is just an unfortunate coincidence that the same symbol is used for feet and arc minutes.

                        However, it is true that if a vector is 60 feet long, a one degree error in direction is a "cross track" error of about 1 foot, just as a one foot error in length is a one foot "on radial" error.
                        For a 100 foot line, about a 0.6 error in compass direction would introduce a 1 foot "cross track" error (perpendicular to the 100 foot line). It is just a way to estimate the angular accuracy needed.

                        If the marker is truly lost, you may have to hire a surveyor to reconstruct from the deed, but it is always worth a good look, with what tools you have, first.

                        I should note I am American and my comments are consistent with US surveying practices, but yours could be a little different.

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                        • #27
                          I am at the property just about to leave and I believe your correct the surveyor must have transposed the reading. I was standing there scratching my head. Then re read your comment so that solves another problem.
                          so the peg is definitely not above ground and the 2 markers just within this neighbours heap is likely why they are there.
                          Survey states 2 fences but only one now exists. Plus all the other problems mentioned previously.
                          Another neighbor behind said that one marker, the one hidden markers is now bent over.
                          So I believe your right I need to get a surveyor out here to figure it out.
                          I thought these markers were not to be messed with and was illegal.
                          Thanks so kindly for your help. I love all this new information.

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                          • #28
                            This is a very helpful thread.

                            I converted bearings to compass headings for a wooded property my son is considering in Maine. The site plan lists bearings, distances and provides an arrow showing magnetic north in 1987, when it was surveyed.

                            Am I correct in understanding that the surveyor used the 1987 declination to correct his compass readings prior to recording them on the site plan, and that the bearings shown are thus referenced to true north?

                            My son plans to walk the property using his iPhone compass as reference, which has an option to use magnetic or true north. I've not looked into iPhone compass accuracy, since it's being used as a general reference, but am curious. The resolution is one degree.

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                            • #29
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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by boureesub View Post
                                This is a very helpful thread.

                                I converted bearings to compass headings for a wooded property my son is considering in Maine. The site plan lists bearings, distances and provides an arrow showing magnetic north in 1987, when it was surveyed.

                                Am I correct in understanding that the surveyor used the 1987 declination to correct his compass readings prior to recording them on the site plan, and that the bearings shown are thus referenced to true north?

                                My son plans to walk the property using his iPhone compass as reference, which has an option to use magnetic or true north. I've not looked into iPhone compass accuracy, since it's being used as a general reference, but am curious. The resolution is one degree.
                                The site plan should use true north. The surveyor established that by other means than a compass, but true north is the standard. The surveyor may or may not also indicate magnetic north on the site plan; it is encouraged but not required.. Your son is probably better off using the true north reference in the GPS in his phone, and the bearing as indicated on the site plan.

                                1 resolution won't find the pin but will get you in the neighborhood. A 1 degree error is 1 foot perpendicular to the track at about 57 feet out, 2 feet at 114 feet out, etc.

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