Legal Description Formatting Effect on Transcription Efficiency
Surveyors create legal descriptions to describe newly subdivided property and use existing legal descriptions to retrace property boundaries. In common practice, the body of a legal description is composed as a single scrolled compound sentence with individual courses set off by semicolons. These long, usually single spaced, descriptions routinely require most of a page of text. Persons transcribing legal descriptions can easily lose their place and accidently skip or transpose data. An alternate legal description format is described that isolates each course of the description as a separate line. Examples of legal description formats from 1815 to the present are explored. Text books used in surveying classes are examined to gain an understanding of how legal description formatting is addressed in surveying education. Legal description formats are tested for speed and accuracy of transcription by measuring the performance of survey students as they plot legal descriptions using AutoCAD. Transcription test results are analyzed, and it is suggested that practitioners consider adopting a block-formatted legal description template.
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