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Are survey call distances between pins on a level line or at ground level on a slope?

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  • Are survey call distances between pins on a level line or at ground level on a slope?

    I've search for an answer to this here and elsewhere.

    I'm looking at the plat survey for my property and it has survey calls like N09d23'38"E and a distance like 187.73' along the lines between pins.

    I've found one corner pin and an intermediate pin along a property line extending from the corner pin. So with all of the survey calls on the plat, and a laser distance tool and a good compass and knowledge of the north deviation for my area, I should be able to find the other 4 corner pins that are shown as circles at the lot corners on the plat.

    I understand that the angle given in the above survey call is from (true) North towards East.
    But the distance measurement has me wondering: Is this measured at the same elevation, or along a straight line at ground level between the pins?
    If there's a higher elevation between the pins, a straight line can not be made between the pins if a tape measure were used, or a laser distance measuring device were used.
    So I have to assume that a surveyor would use a pole at one point to elevate the end of the "chain" (actual or virtual using a laser device).


  • #2
    Sorry for the stupid question. I answered that it is on a level line. This helped:
    I have a LOMVUM LV66U-120 that has a pathagorus function that uses an internal inclinometer to find the horizontal distance between the device and where it's aimed. This should help get the level distance correct so that I may be able to find the pins if I'm pointing in the correct direction. I suppose I will have to sweep out arcs as the distances are in the 150 to 350 feet range and being that precise in bearing from one pin to the next potential one would be difficult.


    • #3
      It is actually a good question. It is computed on a level plane. Surveyors prefer to set up one baseline and mostly compute distances from measured angles, rather than physically measuring all the distances. This involves a lot of math, solving triangles. Note that all the angles are from true north, not magnetic north, so if you are using a compass, you have to know local magnetic deviation.