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The Importance of Maps in Determining Legal Boundaries

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This paper explores the importance of maps and plats in determining property boundaries. When called for in a property description, maps and plats become a part of the description “as much as if [they] were expressly recited in the deed itself.” Their significance in establishing legal boundaries, however, depends on several factors. These include the intention of the parties involved, the stability and certainty of elements in the deed, and whether there is evidence of original lines run on the ground. The relevancy of field notes will also be discussed. Taken together, the concluding, legal principle is that maps generally do not prevail over surveys and field notes in determining boundaries.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2007

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  • Surveying and Land Information Science (SaLIS) is the official publication of the American Association of Geodetic Surveying (AAGS) and the Geographic and Land Information Society (GLIS).

    SaLIS is a scientific journal devoted to reporting research and new work conducted to advance geodetic surveying, land surveying, large-scale mapping, and geographic information systems designed to advance the development and management of the cadastral parcel data layer and other land information applications. SaLIS publishes research articles, technical papers, technical notes, papers on the current state of surveying education, surveying history, book reviews, and current literature reviews. Every four years, the journal publishes the U.S. Report to the International Federation of Surveyors (FIG). The Proceedings of the Surveying Teachers Conference are published bi-annually.

    For information about AAGS visit
    For information about GLIS visit

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