Aliquot – (PLSS) Contained the same number of times in another; a portion of a whole that divides the whole without a remainder.
Auditor’s map – An archaic, not-so-accurate map made by the County Surveyor for tax purposes. This is generally made at the request of the auditor.
Azimuth – (SURVEY) The horizontal angle or direction measured clockwise from the meridian plane.
Backsight – (SURVEY) A sight directed backward to a previously established survey station or point.
Baseline – (PLSS) A principal east-west line on a parallel of latitude upon which all rectangular surveys within the area covered by the principal median are based. (GPS) a line delineated by two stations previously observed by the Global Positioning System or GPS.
Bearing – (SURVEY) A horizontal angle that is measured between the median of reference and the given line. The line is measured either from the south or north towards west or west that would provide an angle less than 360 degrees. Bearings are classified based on the median of reference, such as geodetic, astronomic, magnetic, GPS, assumed, grid.
Benchmark – (SURVEY) A benchmark is a lasting mark established at a recognized location and elevation which serves as the basis to measure different altitudes of topographical points.
Call – (SURVEY) A statement of, or a reference to, an object, distance, course, or another subject of description in a survey or grant that requires or calls for a relative object or another subject of description.
Chain carrier – (SURVEY) A land surveyor’s assistant who carries or handles the measuring chain. Typically, there are two chain carriers working for a land surveyor: the frontman and the rear man.
Chord – (SURVEY) A straight line linking two points on a curve, which is typically used in highway and other surveys, regardless of the distance between the two points. (USPLS) the line of a great circle joining any two designated corners on a latitudinal township boundary, standard parallel, or baseline.
Conditional line – (SURVEY) An agreed line between neighboring properties that have been surveyed but not granted or have not been surveyed at all.
Corner – (SURVEY) A point on the earth’s surface established by surveying the land, which marks out an extremity on a boundary of public or private lands.
Declination – (SURVEY) A deviation of the compass from geographic or true north; the difference between magnetic north and geographic north, manifesting the complexity of the geomagnetic field.
First station – (SURVEY) The point of beginning or starting point of a land survey.
Flag – (SURVEY) Any bright plastic ribbon fastened to a lath stake, marking the points along a survey line.
Gore – (SURVEY) A gap or overlap between neighboring properties; a thin triangular parcel of land with boundaries defined by surveys of adjoining properties.
Landmark – (SURVEY) Any fixed object or material mark or monument that serves to locate the boundary of a land property; any recognizable object on land which can be used in figuring out a direction or location.
Line tree – (PLSS) A tree that is on a property line, recorded in the survey’s field notes and marked with two notches or hacks on each of the sides facing the line. Also referred to as sight trees or station trees.
Merestone – (SURVEY) A stone that indicates a property’s boundary; a landmark.
Meridian – (PLSS) A north-south reference line, typically spanning hundreds of miles in length, from which azimuths and longitudes are calculated; a plane, common to the spheroid or geoid, defining such a line.
Mete – (SURVEY) A measure of a property line; distance or direction of a property line.
Metes and bounds – (SURVEY) An archaic method of describing the perimeter of a piece of land by citing the owners of adjacent properties and marking out the length of each boundary’s course as along some recognizable line, such as “along the street” or “along a stream.” Today, this method of description includes the distances and bearings of each course.
Monument – (SURVEY) A physical structure (e.g. tree or iron post) which helps locate the corner point established by a Cadastral Survey. To be viable as monuments, objects must have certain physical properties such as stability, visibility, and durability. “Corner” and “monument” are not the same thing, although these two terms are often used interchangeably.
Open line – (SURVEY) A survey, typically the final survey line, that is not marked and measured by the land surveyor but is instead calculated.
Point of beginning – (SURVEY) The point on Pennsylvania’s west boundary at the north bank of the Ohio River is the starting point for the survey of the public lands of the U.S. A stake was planted on August 20, 1785, to mark this point.
Point of intersection – (SURVEY) The point where the intersection of two non-parallel lines happens; the point where the intersection of two tangents to a curved line happens.
Plat – (PLSS) A drawing of a parcel of land created by the land surveyor that shows the descriptions, boundaries, distances, the lines surveyed, bearings, and/or improvements within the limits of the survey.
Plot plan – (SURVEY) A diagram that shows the existing or proposed utilization of a particular parcel of land.
Plunge – The act of reversing the direction of a transit’s telescope around the horizontal axis to extend a line over an obstacle or make measurements that quash errors in the transit.
Protraction – (PLSS) The prolongation or extension of a boundary or corner on paper. Typically, these lines are not run, fixed, or marked by the field survey, so the protractions are represented on the plat.
Quarter corner – (PLSS) A point halfway between the corners of a section. If you connect the quarter corner points of a section, you can divide the section into four equal quarters. A section line may help identify a section’s quarter corners.
Range – (PLSS) A north-south tier of townships, recognized as being west or east of a reference longitudinal meridian.
Riser – (SURVEY) A stake or tree branch planted in the ground with a flag to mark a survey point.
Searles spiral – (SURVEY) A surveying technique using multiple curved segments to approximate a spiral. It was used generally by railroad surveyors around late 19th-century.
Section – (PLSS) A township’s unit of subdivision with boundaries meeting the rectangular system of surveys; an area of one mile square.
Standard corner – (PLSS) A senior corner on a baseline or standard parallel.
Strip – (SURVEY) A rectangular parcel of land adjacent to another. This turns out when a resurvey results in making a parcel of land a little bit larger than the original survey.
Tangent line – (SURVEY) A straight line that touches a circle at only one point and makes no intersection of it.
Tie line – (SURVEY) A survey line joining an existing station or corner from a desirable point of reference.
Tier – (PLSS) A row of contiguous townships located east and west of each other.
Total station – (SURVEY) An electronic digital surveying device used to measure vertical and horizontal angles and distances, with features such as electronic data storage and/or transferring of data to external devices.
Township – (PLSS) A unit of a survey organized in tiers and ranges, identified in relation to a meridian and baseline; an area of six miles square, containing 36 sections.
Traverse – (SURVEY) A series of lengths and directions of lines between points on a parcel of land, typically used as a base for triangulation.
Trend – (SURVEY) A survey line’s bearing along a falling course.
Trocha – a path used for a cleared survey line.
Witness tree – (PLSS) any tree that is close to a section corner that is used by a surveyor as proof for the corner location.
Zenith angle – (SURVEY) An angle measured downward from a vertical reference or zenith.