How to Find a Surveyor's Boundary Pin

by Will Charpentier , Demand Media
    Your property's boundary pins may have been set years before you acquired it.

    Your property's boundary pins may have been set years before you acquired it.

    Their removal is a crime, but that doesn't mean they can't be covered with dirt by Mother Nature -- or a previous owner who didn't want to ding his new lawnmower blades. They are boundary pins, driven into the ground at the corners of your lot by a licensed surveyor. If it matters to you, the surveyor's name and license number is either embossed onto a colorful plastic cap atop the pin or stamped into its side. The pins mark the ends of each side of the property so you can tell for certain where your property begins and that of the annoying harpy next door ends.

    Items you will need

    • Boundary or plat survey of your property
    • Metal detector
    • Surveyor's flags
    • Duct tape

    Step 1

    Take the copy of the boundary or plat survey of your property for a stroll around the grounds. When you get to the corners of your lot, keep a sharp eye out for half-inch-wide iron pins sticking up out of the ground.

    Step 2

    Sweep a metal detector back and forth about 2 inches above the ground at the corner of the property if you don't see the boundary pin sticking up. When you get a "hit" with the metal detector, stick a surveyor's colored flag in the ground to mark the place where the signal is strongest.

    Step 3

    Use a garden trowel to dig out the dirt from the top and sides of the flag. Once you find a boundary pin, don't pull it out of the ground, no matter how far down it is. Use duct tape to connect the wire end of a surveyor's colored flag to the top of the pin. Use the trowel to fill in the hole and rebury the pin. The flag should extend a few inches above ground level.

    Tips

    • Surveyor's flags are available at stores that carry engineering supplies.
    • The duct tape only holds the flag to the pin long enough for you to rebury the pin and the bottom of the surveyor's flag. Once the pin's reburied, the dirt holds the flag in place.
    • If you inherited the land, the county or parish tax assessor has a copy of the last survey done on the property. If you live in a state that didn't always require a recorded survey -- California didn't demand them until 1972 -- the description on the deed may be the only existing description.

    Warning

    • Once you rebury a boundary pin, don't let it be uncovered by anyone except a registered professional land surveyor.

    About the Author

    Will Charpentier is a writer who specializes in boating and maritime subjects. A retired ship captain, Charpentier holds a doctorate in applied ocean science and engineering. He is also a certified marine technician and the author of a popular text on writing local history.

    Photo Credits

    • Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images