For the Public

Land Surveying in Ohio – Public Information Guide


Why a professional land surveyor?

Services of a professional land surveyor may be needed when:Brochure 1

  • buying or selling a home or parcel of land
  • dividing land into smaller parcels
  • installing fences, septic systems or other improvements
  • suspecting someone is encroaching on your property
  • verifying amount of land assessed for taxes

The Professional Land Surveyors of Ohio provides this information to explain what services professional surveyors offer because these transactions represent important investments. Consumers can protect their investments with surveys that meet their needs and legal requirements based on careful research and complete, accurate field and office work.

Only professional land surveyors licensed by the State of Ohio Engineers and Surveyors Board are authorized to perform land surveys in Ohio. There are non-licensed surveyors in the state who offer services illegally. These individuals should be reported to the State Board.

What are the types of surveys?

A survey locates land described by deeds. The following are some different types of surveys.

ALTA/NSPS survey is a very detailed one usually of commercial property and often required by lending institutions. The request for this survey must be in writing and accompanied by all deeds, plats and easements affecting the subject property, as well as all adjoining properties. A list of items to be located as noted in the ALTA/ACSM publication can also be included.

Boundary survey is for the express purpose of locating, describing, monumenting and mapping exact boundaries and corners of a given parcel of land. This involves record and field research, field measurements and computations with the findings shown on a survey plat that is given to landowners. A description may also be required for purposes of recording a new deed. Minimum standards for boundary surveys in Ohio, Chapter 4733-37 of the Administrative Code, have been established.

Foundation survey is required by some lending agencies, title companies or escrow agents before disbursement of construction loans. This type of survey locates existing foundation on the property to guarantee to lenders that the foundation is actually on the property and not encroaching on easements or building lines.

Lot survey is a survey of a lot in a recorded subdivision. Corners should be marked in accordance with existing state standards, and the owner receives a drawing depicting what corners were set and what corners were found.

Mortgage location survey meets the specific needs for title insurance. The survey plat must show particular information discovered from measurements taken at a site, and not necessarily evidenced by public record. Minimum Standards for Mortgage Location Surveys in Ohio, Chapter 4733-38 Administrative Code, have been established.

Subdivision survey is for division of any lot or tract of land into smaller lots, with monumentation and a subdivision plat conforming to governing ordinances including boundary descriptions for new deeds as required.

Topographic survey locates natural and man-made features such as elevations, contours of land, streams, buildings and fences. A combination of boundary and topographic surveying is used for design and construction of roads, subdivisions, pipeline and buildings.

What does a survey cost?

Survey cost depends on type needed, time required, preparation of necessary plats and descriptions, amount of information supplied by an owner, and surveyor’s knowledge of the area. There are other variables that affect cost.

Available records: At times, legal descriptions of the property to be surveyed may be vague, incomplete, contradictory, or mathematically inaccurate. It may also be necessary to resolve an unrecorded deed, agreement, or easement.

Field evidence: The presence of iron monuments, cornerstones in the survey area aid surveyors; their absence makes surveys more difficult.

Seasons: Dense vegetation in summer often restricts the line of sight, and snow in winter may conceal field evidence.

Size/shape: An irregularly shaped tract of land has more corners and a longer perimeter than a square containing the same area.

Terrain/accessibility: A level, open field is much easier to survey than a wooded, hilly tract of land.

PLSO recommends interviewing more than one surveyor. The most qualified professional land surveyor may not be the least expensive. Ask if a surveyor has worked in the area or has other historical information that may help provide the service more efficiently and effectively. Make sure a surveyor uses qualified employees. Most crew chiefs should have several years of experience. CAD technicians should be employees, not contract laborers.

Who regulates surveyors in Ohio?

The Ohio State Board of Registration for Professional Engineers and Surveyors is the agency responsible for licensing and regulating surveyors according to Ohio Revised Code Chapter 4733 and Ohio Administrative Code Section 4733. The board ensures that surveyors are qualified and have met certain qualifications, such as education, experience, examinations and have completed required continuing professional development courses in order to practice surveying in Ohio. The State Board can impose disciplinary action against a surveyor’s license for violating the registration act. For more information, go to

How do I find a surveyor?

PLSO has a Find a Surveyor database which is a directory of association members who are licensed professional surveyors. To ensure a surveyor is licensed and in good standing, go to, and click on the “License Lookup” tab.