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  1. #1

    Default How to figure out property line over hills/woods

    Hello all,
    I was wondering if someone might be able to help me with a problem I have. I need to build quite a bit of fence on a new property and only the corners are marked with survey rods.

    I contacted the surveyor and, for him to come out and stake it every 100 yards or so, will be costly.

    I think I can get the straight, flat parts marked out myself. I am just trying to figure out how to get it placed correctly over a wooded hill.

    I have thought about putting flares out at night at the bottoms of the hill and use a 1/2" degree accuracy sighting compass and rifle scope. That way, I can go to the crest of the hill and align myself with the compass until I am dead center. Once I am dead center, the compass should read the correct bearing that is listed on the survey, when the light is in the crosshairs of the scope. This is all assuming there wont be too much brush in the way etc. to see the flares.

    Does anybody know of any tricks for this? I am not sure if my idea will work or not. I really don't care if I am off a couple of feet in either direction, but would like to get it somewhat accurate.

    Thanks,
    Joseph

  2. #2
    Elite Member
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    Default Re: How to figure out property line over hills/woods

    What's your cost if you build the fence in the wrong place?

    Are there any points of reference in your neighbor's deed to go by that would fill in the points besides the two rods at your corners?

  3. #3
    Super Star Member brin's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to figure out property line over hills/woods

    I have always made absolutely sure to build the fence on my property by at least 8 inches or so...to be sure that if my neighbor ever sold or their was a dispute he could not just arbitrarily tear down the fence or otherwise change or damage it. You might want to take this into consideration on the importance of being sure it is on your property . Call several surveyors and get the last survey that was done and tell them you just want a few markers. In the long run you will sleep better.
    Bob

    WORRYING does not take away tomorrow's TROUBLES, it takes away today's PEACE.


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  4. #4
    Elite Member ToadHill's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to figure out property line over hills/woods

    The easiest way is to contact your neighbor and the two of you can work out the line.

    The neighbor and I used the tax map, agreed on the corner and used a compass to plot the line. One of us stood at the corner and the other walked as far as we could see with a stick. The person at the corner shot an asmith with the compass and had the walker move until the stick was in the right point.

    The shooter then walked to the stick and set out markers along the way. Then we switched jobs and repeated the process until we reached the next corner.

    We went through aver 2800 feet of woods and missed the second point we had agreed on earlier by less than 8 inches. We both agreed that was close enough.
    I can't control my day but I can control my attitude.

  5. #5
    Elite Member
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    Default Re: How to figure out property line over hills/woods

    Quote Originally Posted by Josephm View Post
    Hello all,
    I was wondering if someone might be able to help me with a problem I have. I need to build quite a bit of fence on a new property and only the corners are marked with survey rods.

    I contacted the surveyor and, for him to come out and stake it every 100 yards or so, will be costly.

    I think I can get the straight, flat parts marked out myself. I am just trying to figure out how to get it placed correctly over a wooded hill.

    I have thought about putting flares out at night at the bottoms of the hill and use a 1/2" degree accuracy sighting compass and rifle scope. That way, I can go to the crest of the hill and align myself with the compass until I am dead center. Once I am dead center, the compass should read the correct bearing that is listed on the survey, when the light is in the crosshairs of the scope. This is all assuming there wont be too much brush in the way etc. to see the flares.

    Does anybody know of any tricks for this? I am not sure if my idea will work or not. I really don't care if I am off a couple of feet in either direction, but would like to get it somewhat accurate.

    Thanks,
    Joseph
    how good are you with your compass? If it's good to within 1/2 degree, it must be a pretty good unit.
    Your survey should give the bearings between the corners. Get a roll of florescent flagging tape and hang a strip directly over the first corner. Walk away on the bearing until you are almost out of sight of your flagging, then sight back to the corner, moving until you are exactly on line.Hang another piece from a tree there as close to where the line should be as possible, then go out and do this again. Repeat this process until you get to the next corner. Sometimes, especially if you're going uphill you can see the some of trhe flags farther back and adjust accordingly.
    Hopefully you will be right on target. If you are within a few feet, you can then work your way backwards using the same process until the 2 lines come together.

    Because you're actually sighting on something,backsighting is much more accurate than sighting forward and trying to hang the ribbon right on line.

    Because of local attraction, minute errors in compassing, etc; the oldtimer that taught me how to ribbon a line did it this way. He used to say "I keeep telling you, a compass line wavers through the woods."

    good luck

  6. #6
    Elite Member dodge man's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to figure out property line over hills/woods

    I happen to be a surveyor and to be honest, none of the methods that are being described are that accurate.

    First thing is how are the bearings on the survey done? Sometimes these will be based on what you would get with a compass and sometimes not. A good way would be to try the bearing on the survey, walk towards the corner and see how close you get. The rule with the compass is "always ahead, never back". You work on your forward bearing and never look back. The way I do it is to look ahead as far as you can see and pick out an object, such as a tree. Then walk to it without taking your eyes off it. Then keep doing this until you see how much you miss the corner by. Then adjust your bearing and try again until you get a bearing that is close to hitiing the corner. This may take several trys.

    I think you will find that this method may take alot of time and may not be that accurate. You will also need a good surveyors compass that has a good sight on it, you are probably talking a $60 compass. If I ran the line for you with a compass, and I'm good at it, I wouldn't tell you I was any closer than 10' and any given point if the line is a half mile or longer. The truth is I would probably be better than 10', but there is no way to no for sure. If you aren't good at it, you could be off more than 10' really easy.

    There is a reason that is expensive for a suveyor to do it, it takes alot of expensive equipment and calculations.

    BTW if someone tells you to use a handheld GPS, IT WILL NOT BE ACCURATE ENOUGH. It will not be any better than a compass and most likely worse.

  7. #7
    Elite Member /pine's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to figure out property line over hills/woods

    this may not be conventional...just an off the wall idea...
    You did not say how high the hills is but something you might try is (considering you are not opposed to working at night) is to employ some lasers...
    If you have a laser (exactly) at both corners and point them at each other it should give you a line (if not obstructed)

    using a third laser leveled (so the beam is vertically plumb) anywhere under the beam will locate points anywhere on the property line

    BTW...most tool rental outlets rent laser levels etc...
    Slash Pine
    blunt and succinct but sincere...in the immortal words of Popeye..."I yam what I yam"

  8. #8
    Super Star Member dave1949's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to figure out property line over hills/woods

    I would also recommend using a builders level. Set the tripod up so the corner stake is under the plumb bob. If you have a survey with degree markings on it, you might be able to make use of those.

    At least you can sight a good distance in a straight line. If you have a helper, they can put ribbons on the line. You may still have to do a couple iterations to get it right, but it will be more accurate than a compass.

    There are good deals to be had on the older non-laser surveryor's transits which are pretty good tools. Some have digital degree readouts even for the rotation.

    Dave.
    "Those were the days my friend, we thought they'd never end ..."
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  9. #9

    Default Re: How to figure out property line over hills/woods

    All, thanks for the replies. I was planning on getting about an 80 dollar sighting compass (spec'd accuracy is 1/2 a degree with 1 degree scale on the dial).

    I have sort of a challenging situation. The run that I am going to have trouble with starts on flat land. Then it goes gradually about 30 ft down into a gulley and 40 feet back up. Then, it is flat for about 10ft and there is a 100' drop off into a river bank on the other side. The overall length of the run is probably less than 1000'. If I would just have one stake at that 10' flat area, I think it would be much easier.

    I have also thought about putting a target down at the stake at the river. Then putting another target at the other side (the stake on the other side of the gully) and try to shoot 2 parallel lasers both directions until I can hit both.

    However, there are alot of woods, but they are not that thick. I would have to do some minor clearing before attempting anything with a light or laser.

    If I could somehow get 2 lasers and mount them so that they are exactly parallel with each other, I was thinking I could mount them on a plate that could swivel either 45 degrees so I can shoot downward toward each target.

    Does anyone have any idea on how successful that attempt might be? Again, I am not looking for exact placement, I could tolerate a several feet deviation - I am not that concerned about the neighbor on the other side protesting anything since they are not splitting the cost of the fence with me - that is a whole other subject ).

  10. #10

    Default Re: How to figure out property line over hills/woods

    Another thing I thought of is just walking it with the good compass. Then doing it multiple times. At some point any inaccuracy would average itself out, I would think, unless it is some sort of fixed inaccuracy like a broken or miscalibrated dial on the compass.

    I have another 2000' stretch that is flat and the stakes are in plain sight. I was thinking about testing the compass on that, and adjusting any "fixed" error out....

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