What is a land survey plan?

A land survey plan is a specialized map of a parcel of land, created by thoroughly examining and measuring the property. It determines and delineates boundary locations, building locations, physical features and other items of spatial importance. More than just a diagram of the property, a land survey plan is an important legal document that displays the exact legal borders of the property and applicable aspects of the registered.

Who can create a survey plan?

Only a licensed Ontario Land Surveyor (OLS) can create a survey plan for a property located within the Province of Ontario. Sophisticated technologies like LiDAR mapping (using infrared scanning) or drone supplied aerial orthophotography can produce extremely accurate topographical maps, but illustrating and interpreting these physical features in relation to legal boundaries is a task only a licensed surveyor can perform with full legal authority.

How does a surveyor determine property boundaries?

An OLS prepares a survey plan in accordance with detailed regulations, authority statutes and Generally Accepted Surveying Principles. The surveyor ascertains the property boundaries using evidence of prior surveys, older authoritative plans and the legal descriptions of pertinent parcels of land, in conjunction with on-site evidence to formulate an opinion of the location of the boundaries. The surveyor marks property boundaries by confirming the location of found  survey monuments or setting new ones. These markers can be square iron bars, cut crosses, or official rustproof nails called concrete pins set into asphalt. In the past markers included concrete monuments, iron pipes, or even old axles or used mining drill bits.

Creating a land survey is a rigorous procedure involving research, analysis and computation to produce a computer-drawn plan. Plans are drawn in accordance with professional standards, reviewed and approved by an OLS, and subject to peer review through the industry's governing body. The resulting survey plan depicts:

  • property size and shape
  • underlying legal lot pattern
  • location of right of ways and easements
  • designation of pertinent ownership documents and more

Survey plans often reveal hidden deficiencies such as building encroachments and property dimensions that do not correspond with the descriptions included in the deed.