An 'ALTA survey' is a land survey that meets the specifications set forth in the ALTA/ACSM Land Title Survey Specifications. ALTA is the American Land Title Association, and ACSM is the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping.
In the body of the specifications, there is outlined a set of 'base' specifications that all such surveys must meet. This is followed by a lengthy Table A, which sets forth Optional Items that may also be required.
There are two types of boundary surveys; they are retracement and original surveys. The purpose of a boundary survey is to establish the title or deed lines on the ground and to do it in such a fashion that the survey can be understood and retraced in the future. To perform a boundary survey the surveyor must, among other things, research the descriptions of adjoiners, retrace prior surveys, establish or reestablish monumentation, show any physical evidence of possession or easements, keep field notes, address the “Relative Positional Accuracy” of his measurements, provide a written surveyor’s report and in certain cases record his Plat of Survey.
The boundary line dividing two parcels of land may, from time to time, be moved in its location. Such a move is typically made by agreement between the owners of the parcels. The owners may desire to straighten out a “jog” in the property line or may wish to exchange acreage so that both lots are more useful in shape and/or size to the respective owners.
Deed research is typically conducted when there are questions concerning a client property or neighbors property as a result of a vague deed description in either the client's or a neighbor's deed description.