How To Survey Land Yourself With A GPS | askBAMLand

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A land survey is a complex process that requires a surveyor to do. However, how can you survey a land using a GPS by yourself? We have the answers.

How can you survey land using GPS? How do you use a smartphone with GPS to do land surveys? What are the different survey applications you can use? What are the processes involved in conducting a land survey using a smartphone?

As long as your smartphone has an inbuilt GPS, you can carry out land surveys without hiring a professional. You will only need to install a survey application and open it to access features and survey tools that will help you conduct land surveying.

This article will take an in-depth study of how you can perform a land survey using a GPS and whether you can use a smartphone with GPS to do a land survey. It will also cover conducting a land survey using a smartphone and the different kinds of survey applications you can use. So, if you plan to take a land survey without experts but do not know where to start, this article will guide you on these.

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Table of Contents


GPS is an essential technique that employs satellites to obtain any location on the earth’s surface through signals. The receivers get the waves from satellites to identify their location. Additionally, other satellites will link with the receiver to give details such as the time the Satellite sends information, the position of the Satellite, and the gap between the receiver and Satellite.

GPS is known to play an essential role in determining an area's distance, height, and location. Initially, the military mainly used GPS to locate enemies at ease, but today, various fields of expertise implement GPS. The benefit of using GPS is that it gives precise data about a location without estimating the distance between different points. Additionally, you can use GPS for navigation, object or people tracking, mapping and time measuring.

How to survey a land using a GPS

Today, many smart devices such as phones, laptops, and tablets use an in-built GPS. These devices can collect geographical data at any point on the earth's surface through GPS chips that receive signals from the satellites, and in turn, the satellites track their location. The benefit of using a smartphone GPS is that it is available, and you do not need an internet connection to use it.

Technological improvement has made it possible for smartphones to handle complex tasks and procedures that you might have to pay an expert. It becomes an expensive and time-consuming process. Depending on the size and land location, hiring a surveyor in the US will cost you $ 500 or more. The best thing about using a smartphone GPS is that it is easy and takes a short time for you to complete the survey process. It is also free, and therefore, you will save a lot of money that you could use to hire a surveyor.

You should follow various steps when using your smartphone GPS to perform a land survey. They include;

A smartphone and GPS

You will need a mobile device that has a GPS. To perform the land survey effectively, ensure that the GPS in your smartphone is strong. You need to confirm this by moving around with the navigation application. Then, open your map-reading application and enable the movement mode. On the application, search for your location and then use the zoom tool to zoom in until you can identify yourself.

The land survey application should mimic and follow you as you move from one point to another. On the one hand, if your smartphone responds to these movements, your GPS signal is strong. On the other hand, if your smartphone does not respond to these movements, your GPS signal is weak.

The use of land survey applications

When you confirm that your signals your GPS signals are strong, you can then install a trusted land survey application on your smartphone. There are various kinds of survey applications to choose from. However, before you install one, ensure that you have reviewed other people's comments and how the rate of the application. Typically, the rating should be three and above.

After installing the application, open it and familiarize yourself with the information and control buttons on the screen. Compare the preciseness of the survey application with the inbuilt GPS, where doing this will prevent inaccurate measurements and calculations. Press the control buttons on the screen and look at the different features it has and the steps you will use to do a land survey. These control buttons also help you to produce an estimation of the land you are surveying.

There are various credible land survey apps that you can download from the app store and install on your smartphone. They include;

Land calculation app

This application is practical and systematic for those people who want to access more survey features and tools. It has a rating of 4.5 and a lot of positive comments in the review. Access to these features and tools is helpful in engineering, farming, and GIS.

Gps land area calculator app

This application is suitable for those unwilling to purchase land survey applications. It provides free access to features and survey tools that are simple to follow. This application has a rating of 4.2 and a lot of positive reviews from its users.

Land surveyor app

A land surveyor application provides a systematic and transparent way to measure and calculate land area. Unlike most applications, a land surveyor can work without the internet and offers a place where you can save your work for future use and reference.

Mapit GIS app

Mapit GIS is an application that offers free survey tools and other features. It is easy to understand since a guide shows you the function of each tool and feature present. It helps the users to estimate the area and distance between different points using GPS tracking.

Gland measure app

The application equips you with the survey tools and features you need to estimate the length and land area. Additionally, you can download and share the pictorial view of the area using clear steps provided by the application.

The land survey process

Once you are familiar with the steps and the features of the application, you can now start performing a land survey. However, for this to be successful, you will need to go to the location of the land you want to survey because the GPS needs to monitor your movements before doing calculations and measurements. Give your survey a name to avoid confusion when you plan to do more surveys in the future using the application.

To begin the survey process, look for a place that will be suitable to use as your starting point on the land. Typically, the use of corner parts of the land is ideal as starting points. Then, open the survey application and ensure that the GPS location is the same as the physical location. You can do this by using the zooming tool to enlarge the map until you have a precise location of yourself. If the indicator in the application contours with your area, press a starting point and start the survey.

Move to the second corner of the land to make your first estimation by walking linearly to avoid getting inaccurate data. The land survey application should stick to your movements, making measurements for each step. When you are at the second corner, press the indication point again to start moving to the third corner of the land. Repeat the process until you go around the entire perimeter of the land to finish the survey process.

The method is simple for land parcels that have definite corners. However, it is complex when dealing with curvy lands and has no solid shape. Additional control buttons have 'arch' and 'curve’ that will help provide accurate data.

Modern and advanced land surveying

If you want the application to meet more than one activity when measuring the land area, then use advanced surveying. This process will require you to add more movements and generate the reading of each characteristic feature you want to reckon with the survey application.

Apart from measuring the perimeter of the land, you can also include other areas such as the front lawn and the back yard part of the land or property. The project you will create should have specific names to avoid confusion when you want to review them. The applications have additional features such as color modification that you can use to help your work become clearer. Taking the advanced measurement method on the land will help you get the measurements of every single feature present on the land.

Wrapping it Up

Using smartphone GPS to perform a land survey ensures that you cut down on the cost you could have used to hire a surveyor to do the job. Additionally, the access to different applications that you can download and install on your smartphone will guide you in using the features and survey tools available to the survey area with ease.


Brittany Melling

Brittany Melling

Brittany has been in the land business since 2020 when the world was starting to shut down. Since then, we’ve sold to dozens of people from ATV weekend warriors to camping enthusiasts to retired truck drivers. Our inventory spans mostly in the western United States. We’ve been trained by experience, land acquisition courses, and hundreds of hours meeting with county assessors and clerks, zoning officials, realtors, and land investors. We’ve answered hundreds of questions from people regarding the buying and use of land.

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