Q: Where is your service available?
A: Our service is available for land everywhere in the USA. Our service is also available outside the USA if (1) you can provide a legible survey and (2) the google aerial that shows your land is reasonably high quality.
Q: How much does this cost?
A: We will quote the base price of $74.98 for most inquiries. If your property has a long legal description or some other extra complexity, then more work is required and we will quote a higher price.
Q: If I place an order with you, what exactly do I get?
A: After your order is processed you get an email that includes (1) a link you can click that displays an online map showing the Google aerial and your approximate property lines, (2) a GPX file with a waypoint at each property corner and (3) a cover email. Here is an example of the email we send.
Q: When you say the land corner coordinates that your service produces are "approximate", what does that mean?
A: Our goal is to produce GPS coordinates that are within 30 feet of accurate on average, however this is not a guarantee that we will always achieve that degree of accuracy. We will always do our best to produce the most accurate coordinates possible given the information that you provide plus any online research we perform.
Q: How can the GPS coordinates your service produces be any good given that the cost is so modest?
A: Our service produces the most accurate coordinates possible without hiring a surveyor and does so at an extremely affordable price for the simple reason that the software we developed uses a unique approach to do most of the work.
Q: Do you visit my property?
A: No. We do not visit your property. Instead, we can import a copy of your survey or legal description into our system. By processing your survey or legal description with our proprietary software we can produce approximate coordinates for your property corners.
Q: I do not have a survey. Can you process my property?
A: Probably. Our system can process most property as long as we have good data. If you send us the legal description as it appears on your deed then we will tell you if we can process your land. There is no cost or obligation to you for having us review your information.
Q: Are there some properties where your system cannot produce approximate GPS coordinates?
A: Yes. It all depends on the information we have to work with. About 5% of the time we have to tell the client that there is some problem that prevents us from producing approximate coordinates for their land that meet our standards.
Q: How does your service compare to the parcel line data that is sold by onX, LandGlide, AcreValue, LandGrid and similar services?
A: Most of the parcel line data those services sell is simply a copy of the county GIS parcel line data. This means that any problems or inaccuracies in the county parcel line data will be repeated in the data you can buy from those services.
Q: How does your service compare to GIS parcel line maps that are available on some county websites?
A: Our system of making a custom map just for your property will almost always produce a more accurate and useful map than the county GIS parcel line data for the following reasons.
1. A custom map we produce for your property will show the location of all property pins. County GIS parcel line data does not show pin locations. If there are survey pins along a straight section of one of your property lines or there is a pin where there is a slight bend in one of your property lines, then you will not see that detail in the county GIS parcel line data.
2. Our custom maps will have the correct shape of your property. This is because we use either a survey map that you send to us or we enter your legal description into the Deed Plotter software (https://deedplotter.com/) which then makes an accurate drawing similar to a survey map. County GIS parcel maps often distort property lines. Sometimes the distortion is small. Other times the distortion is large.
The following link displays a property line map we produced for a client with land in Pike County Pennsylvania. Our work produced the red property lines based on a survey the client provided. The white lines are the county GIS parcel line data. Note that the GIS data distorts the north property line.
3. Our custom maps will have the most accurate position for your property lines that is possible given the data we have available. GIS parcel lines are often offset from the correct location. The following link displays a property line map we produced for a client with land in Monterey County California. Our work produced the red property lines based on the legal description shown on the client’s deed. The other lines are the county GIS parcel line data. Note that the GIS parcel lines go through many homes in the neighborhood since they are offset from the correct location.
To change this map so it shows the Google aerial, click the button that says “Map” and then select "Aerial Google satellite".
Q: I have a property line dispute with my neighbor. Can your service help me?
A: Maybe. On average the GPS coordinates that we produce should be within 30 feet of accurate. No, the data we produce is not survey-grade, however for many purposes it is close enough. But if you need to know exactly where your property corners and lines are located, then you need to contact a surveyor. While the online map links we produce are not surveys they can help you decide whether or not you need to hire a surveyor.
Q: My property has never been surveyed. Can I use the coordinates you provide to mark my property corners on the ground?
A: No. There are two reasons for this. First, the coordinates we provide are only approximate. Second, it might be a violation of state law for anyone, even the property owner, to mark their property corners on the ground unless they are a licensed surveyor. If your goal is to get your property corners accurately marked on the ground then you must hire a surveyor.
Q: Can I use your coordinates to determine if my neighbor's building or my neighbor's road is on my land?
A: No. The only way to know for certain whether anything like a building or road is on the wrong side of the property line is to know the exact location of the property line. The only way to know that exact location is to hire a surveyor.
Q: Do the approximate corner coordinates your service produces establish the corners for a piece of property?
A: No. In order to establish property corners on the ground you need to be a licensed surveyor. Instead, each coordinate we produce corresponds to a spot that is located at (1) an unknown distance and (2) unknown direction from the actual property corner. In other words, each coordinate establishes an area of an unknown size that contains a corner at an unknown location within that area. Our goal is to produce coordinates that on average are within 30 feet of accurate. However, there will be times when the information you provide to us together with our own online research does not let us achieve that accuracy goal.
Q: What do land surveyors think about your business?
A: Some land surveyors agree that people can have legitimate reasons for wanting an online map that shows approximate property corners and lines. Other land surveyors intentionally misrepresent our service as providing exact coordinates for property corners. Those surveyors refuse to acknowledge that people can have legitimate reasons for wanting the approximate coordinates we provide. Reminder: If you need to locate your exact property corners and lines on the ground then please contact a licensed land surveyor.
Q: Why can't I pay you at the same time that I send you all the information about the property?
A: There will always be some property where there simply is not enough information for us to be able to produce approximate corner coordinates that meet our standards. We want to review your information and tell you whether we can do the work before you pay us.
Q: How long does this take?
A: After you send us the information about your property we will respond within 24 hours and say whether we can provide you with approximate GPS coordinates for the property corners that meet our standards. In some cases we might ask you to first send us some additional information. After we have reviewed all the information and determined that we can process the property, then our goal is to send you the results within 24 hours from when we receive payment. Special order maps might take an extra day. When you make your payment, PayPal automatically sends us an email.
Q: I do not have a survey and am going to send you the legal description instead. Where can I find my property legal description?
A: The property deed is the best place to find the legal description. The second best place to find the legal description is the local property tax records. Sometimes tax records use an abbreviated form of the legal description that leaves out important information that appears on the deed.
Q: My property was surveyed but I do not have a copy of the survey map. Can you provide approximate corner coordinates?
A: Yes. Send us a copy of the legal description for the property. The best place to get the legal description is your deed.
Q: How can I tell if my property has been surveyed?
A: Look at your legal description. If you see a series of distances that are given to the nearest 1/100th of a foot (i.e. 251.78), then your property was surveyed. If you do not see distances like that, then you cannot make any conclusion about surveys.
Q: If I email you a copy of my survey, what do you do with it?
A: We use our proprietary software to make an approximate digital copy of your survey. Our internal processes then use that digital copy of your survey to produce the approximate corner coordinates for your land.
Q: I can take a nice photograph of the survey and send you that picture. Why do you prefer a scanned copy of any survey?
A: If we have a scanned copy of a survey then we will import that file into our software where it is processed. We cannot do that with a photograph since no matter how careful you are it is impossible to take a photo of a survey without distorting the lines. The newer copy machines now let you save your copy on your own memory device that you plug into the copy machine.
Q: I am going to take a photograph of my survey for your initial review. Do you have any advice?
A: Please take one photograph per page. Include the entire page in the photo. Photograph all of the pages even those that only have text. Review the photos before you send them to us. If you cannot look at the photo and read the fine print on the survey then neither can we. If the survey is quite large you could take several overlapping photos.
Q: Why do you only accept payment through PayPal?
A: That is the easiest, most efficient and cheapest way for you to pay us. It costs you nothing. You do not need a PayPal account. All you need is a credit card.
Q: If I pay you and for some reason you discover that you cannot do the work after all, do I get a refund?
A: Yes, you get a prompt 100% refund.
Q: Do you accept checks?
Q: Do you have a business license?
A: Yes. Our Washington State business registration number is 602959597 and our business name is Mapping Support.
Q: Are you required to collect Washington State sales tax?
A: No. The Washington State officials reviewed our business and determined that our services are exempt from the state sales tax.
Q: What software do I need to use in order to view the online map?
A: You do not need to buy or download any software. After your order is completed you will receive an email with a link. You can open that link with almost any browser on almost any device - from cell phones to desktop computers. When you click (or tap) that link the Gmap4 software will start and display the Google aerial along with your approximate property lines.
Q: What is Gmap4?
A: Gmap4 is an enhanced Google map viewer developed by Joseph Elfelt, the owner of FindPropertyLines.com and PropertyLineMaps.com. Gmap4 can display more basemaps and has more features than ordinary Google maps.
Q: Can I use the Gmap4 web map for things other than viewing my property line map?
A: No. Gmap4 is limited to viewing property line maps. Due to pricing changes at Google other uses of Gmap4 are not allowed. The successor to Gmap4 is GISsurfer which is a general purpose web map based on the free open-source Leaflet map API. For more information please see https://gissurfer.com.
Q: How can I learn more about Gmap4?
A: Go to the Gmap4 homepage and look at the FAQ and examples. Also, the Gmap4 Help page has "Quick Start" information.
Q: Where can I see an example of the kind of online map you produce?
A: Go to the FindPropertyLines.com homepage. You will see three screenshots taken with a cell phone. Scroll down and below the screenshots are links that open two example online maps.
Q: Does the online map require a data file to hold the coordinates for the approximate property corners?
A: No. The approximate property corner coordinates we produce are part of the Gmap4 link that we send you. We call this map-in-a-link. No one else will see your online map unless you share your map link with them.
Q: How do I turn on the Gmap4 geolocation feature?
A: Tap the Menu button and select "My location".
Q: How can I display contour lines on top of the Google aerial?
A: Each map has two buttons in the lower right corner (mobile) or upper right corner (laptop/desktop). One button says "Menu" and the other button has the name of the current basemap.
Q: What cell phones do you recommend to find approximate property lines and property corners?
A: An iPhone 4s or newer is fine. Most Android phones made in 2012 or more recently are also fine. The key feature is your phone (or tablet) must determine its location by using data from both the USA satellites ("GPS") and the Russian satellites ("GLONASS"). Mobile devices that use data from both the USA and Russian satellites often get an accuracy of around 15 feet.
Q: Is it OK to use an older cell phone (prior to iPhone 4s) that only gets data from the USA satellites ("GPS") but does not get data from the Russian satellites ("GLONASS")?
A: No. If your mobile device is relying only on data from the USA satellites then the best accuracy you get is likely around 50 feet.
Q: How does the location accuracy of a cell phone compare to the location accuracy of a dedicated GPS unit such as one of the Garmin models?
A: In general, cell phones and consumer grade GPS units (Garmin, etc) have about the same accuracy which usually is around 15 feet. And your cell phone is much easier to use.
Q: Do you have any tips for using a cell phone to find approximate property lines and property corners?
A: Yes, please see this pdf file: How to find property lines and corners with a cell phone.
This pdf file is written in plain English. It will show you (1) how to get the best possible accuracy from your cell phone or other mobile device and (2) how to use the online map link we produce even if there is no cell coverage on your land.
Q: What do I do with the .gpx file I receive?
A: You do not need to put that file online. Instead, just save it on your harddrive. Use your GPX file if you want to load the corner coordinates into a Garmin or other handheld GPS.
Q: How do I use the .gpx file to get the coordinates into my GPS?
A: There are a number of different programs that can load waypoints into a GPS. For example, each Garmin GPS comes with a copy of the Basecamp program. We do not provide support for those programs. In general, here are the steps for copying the coordinates from the .gpx file into a GPS:
1. Download the attached .gpx file and save it
2. Connect your .gpx to you computer
3. Turn your GPS on
4. Start Basecamp or other software
5. Use Basecamp to open the .gpx file
6. Load the waypoints and route into your GPS
Q: I am having trouble loading the coordinates into my GPS. Where can I get help?
A: If you have a Garmin GPS the best place to get help is in the Garmin forums.
Q: What GPS units do you recommend to find property lines and property corners?
A: Either the Garmin eTrex 20 (Buttons, $200) or the Garmin Oregon 600 (Touchscreen, $400). Any newer Garmin is also OK but make sure it can get data from both the USA satellites ("GPS") and the Russian satellites ("GLONASS"). But if you have a cell phone that can see both the USA and Russian satellites then I also recommend you try your cell phone first before spending money on a GPS.
Q: Do you have any tips for using a GPS to find approximate property lines and property corners?
A: Below are links to four pdf files we produced.
Garmin features and models
How to load a GPX file into a Garmin
Setting up a Garmin
How to find existing survey stakes and approximate property lines with a GPS
The following link is an excellent general FAQ for handheld GPSs.
Handheld GPS FAQ from GPStracklog
Q: In addition to the right kind of cell phone or GPS, what other tools are useful for finding survey corners?
A: Surveyors typically pound a length of iron rebar into the ground to mark a property corner. The top of the rebar often gets covered with a bit of dirt/grass/leaves/branches. After you get close to the property corner using the coordinates we provide, you might need to search for it with a metal detector (check the local rental shop) and then scrape away some dirt. Sometimes a garden trowel is all you need.
Q: I used the coordinates you provided and found survey markers close to each of those coordinates. Do those survey markers show my property corners?
A: Typically the rebar that the surveyor pounds into the ground has a plastic cap. That cap has the surveyor's identification number assigned by the state. If you find rebar close to all the approximate corner coordinates we provide and all that rebar is capped with the same identification number, then the odds are good that you have found your property corners. But keep in mind that corners on old surveys may have been marked with a stone or by some other means. And of course if you need to be 100% absolutely certain that the rebar or other markers you found are in fact your property corners then you need to hire a surveyor.
Q: If the survey corner I found is not my property corner, then what is it?
A: Maybe an adjoining parcel also has a corner nearby and both corners have survey markers. Which survey marker did you find? To help find out if there are other property corners near any of yours you should try to obtain a copy of the parcel map for your area. To find out if a parcel map is available, check with the county courthouse or the local tax assessor. If you found a survey marker next to a road, maybe that marker only shows the road right-of-way and not your corner. Maybe the marker you found is not really a survey marker but instead is something that was placed in the wrong location by a prior landowner.
Q: Are you on social media?
A: Yes. You can visit us on Facebook as Property Line Maps.