How to Read a Survey Plan

Learn how to read a Survey Plan with our comprehensive guide. You’ll be able to identify key elements, find boundary lines, and analyze a survey plan.

Survey plans are prepared by professional land surveyors, who identify and record features and measurements that contribute to the definition of a property.

Your land survey plan may look daunting at first glance, but understanding it is very important. We’ll help you understand the basics of a survey plan and how to use it.

The Property Boundary

These boundary lines depict the extent of ownership.

Boundary Dimensions

Each Boundary has a Bearing and Distance.

Setbacks and Building Ties

Distance between building structures and surveyed boundaries.

(S)-Set a Boundary Corner

Set a corner using information that is already known.

(M)-Measure Between Corners

(M) - confirms what is already known by measuring the distance or direction.

(RP)-The Subdivision Plan

The underlying subdivision plan shows important information.

(P1)-Reference Plan

Identifies an additional plan source of boundary information.

(MTR) Metro Toronto Roads

“ Metro Toronto Roads and Traffic Department". Forerunner of the City of Toronto Survey and Mapping Division.

BA - Boundaries Act

The official surveyed and confirmed location of the street line.

■/□ Found or Planted Monuments

Official symbols of legal survey monuments existing on the property.


Types of legal survey monuments that are on the property.

(1222) - The Surveyor's Bar

Identification number of the land surveying firm responsible for placing the monument.

OU - Denotes Origin Unknown

Denotes found but unidentified legal survey monuments.

WIT - Offset Monument

Denotes legal monument set by surveyor to "witness" a corner, angle, curve or bend where the true location is obstucted.

Part of Lots

The property being surveyed is part of the Summary listing of underlying Lots shown on the subdivision plan.

PIN - Property Identification Number

The "PIN", is a unique 9-digit identifier assigned by the land registry office to uniquely identify each property in Ontario.

Easement over the Land

Identifies existence of an easement and provides its location on the survey plan.

House Number

Property address and house characteristics at time of survey plan preparation.


Outlines of structures on property and adjoining land.

Ground Features

Denotes physical site features potentially indicating easements, neighbour encroachments or other problems such as catch basin (CB); manhole (MH).; edge of pavement (EOP)


Details of permieter fencing and enclosures at the time of field survey. specifically board fence (BF); chain link fence (CLF); gate (G); iron fence (IF); no fence

Location of Physical Features

The measured location of a physical feature relative to the boundary.


Type of regulated survey plan usually prepared for residential properties.

Reports Parts 1 and 2

An SRPR must have two components. Part 1 is the plan and the written report set out in Part 2.

Survey Firm

Originating survey firm and project details.

Surveyor's Certificate

The Surveyor's "sea of approval" assurance compliance with specifications.


Unauthorized use of the plan is prohibited by law.

Plan Submission Form

The Association of Ontario Land Surveyors can review any plan for adherence to standards.


Client for whom the survey plan was originally prepared.

Reference Plan

A previous survey plan that redivided the Lots on the M-Plan into new Parcels.

Lot Lines

Shows the location of lots lines on the underlying subdivision plan.

The Roads

Each street has a name and a legal origin.

Lot Corner Tie

Surveyors must show how the survey plan fits in with the underlying lot fabric.


This refers to the original Township (farm) Lots laid out “ East of Yonge Street“ .

North Arrow

Geographic orientation of the survey plan.


Survey Plans are legal maps drawn to a specified scale.


Legend for technical plan details.


Metric units have been used on this survey plan.

Reference Bearing

This plan is oriented to north by a bearing angle derived from a line defined by survey monuments.


How To Read a Property Survey: Why is it important?

No matter if you are a homeowner or a professional who deals with land, understanding how to read a survey plan is an essential skill for anyone involved in research, property management, or land development.

By following the content outlined in this blog post, you can effectively analyze and interpret survey plans with ease.

Remember to identify key elements, determine scale, read boundary lines and labels, and analyze the information for accuracy. By mastering these techniques, you'll be equipped to make informed decisions based on the information provided in survey plans, leading to better outcomes for your projects and endeavors.