Survey Descriptions

Confused about what type of survey you need? Review our descriptions below or simply email us or give us a call. We provide free estimates!


Stands for American Land Title Association/American Congress on surveying and Mapping. Comprehensive survey covering all features and characteristics of a property. Is a boundary survey prepared to a set of minimum standards, showing improvements, easements, rights-of-ways, and other elements. Often prepared for commercial properties, as it provides title company with information required to ensure that title to land and improvements have minimal ambiguity. Table of optional elements is included in ALTA/ACSM standards.

As-Built Surveys

For purpose of showing features constructed to provide a record of construction and to verify the construction has been completed according to approved design plans.

Boundary Survey

Detailed measurement of the property with the corners marked on the ground. Can also include a legally binding drawing of the boundaries and major improvements. Reference Certified Surveys, Act 132 of 1970.

Cadastral Surveys

Subfield of surveying specializing in establishment and re-establishment of real property boundaries. Applies both spatial-measurement principles of general surveying and legal principles.

Commercial and Business Surveys

Includes topographic surveys, boundary surveys, mortgage inspections, utility mapping surveys, as-built surveys, hazardous waste site mapping, construction staking, volume computations, and communication tower surveys.

Communication Towers

Includes boundary and easement staking, construction staking, federal location/elevation certifications, and any needed as-built surveys. May be considered a subset of the ALTA survey process


Defined as the enclosed air space by State Law 559.172b (property consisting of a separate legal parcel in space that is considered the air space over a fee, improved or unimproved, in real property law). Recognized that multiplexed residential and office building have been developed as Condominiums but can also be residential lots, marinas, mobile home parks, and industrial use. Boundaries of space are specified by legal document known as Master Deed and filed of record with local governing authority. Reference Condominium Act, Act 59 or 1978 as revised.

Construction Staking

Detailed layout on ground of Engineering specifications for placement and/or elevation of improvements for benefit of construction firm. Documentation outputs as required by client.

Descriptions of Property

Text that legally defines the property. Westshore can help you find, understand, and/or write your property’s legal description.

Engineering and Construction Surveys

Includes topographic surveys, ALTA surveys, riparian surveys, as-built surveys, route surveys, pipeline surveys, site development surveys, and volume computations.

Expert Testimony

We offer expert testimony in several areas, including boundary determination, riparian rights, easements, and right-of-ways.

Flood Plain Certification

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) insurance program requires homeowners living in a flood plain to purchase flood insurance. In some cases where the homeowner believes they are not located in a flood plain, Westshore can help reduce or eliminate the insurance premiums by providing elevation data in the form of a certificate of elevation,  or a letter of map amendment (LOMA, eLOMA).

Hazardous Waste Site Mapping

Detailed measurement of specific area plotted onto drawing to show relationship of features on ground to each other with intent of helping client maintain compliance with all local, state, and federal regulations. May or may not include elevations and /or boundaries.

Hydrographic Surveys

Involves measurement and description of features which affect maritime navigation, marine construction, dredging, etc.

Land Divisions/Private Roads

Land Division/Parcel Split process used to divide parcels into smaller units, using allowable division rights given under State law. Pieces are created without extensive costs of the Subdivision or Condominium processes. In some cases, private roads can be designed by Westshore to maximize the land utilization. Reference Land Division Act, Act 288 of 1967/Act 591 of 1996.

Mortgage Inspection

Basic sketch showing the Surveyor’s opinion of the location of the major improvements on a parcel. Generally used by lenders to limit liability. This instrument does not constitute a boundary survey or estimate of property lines.

Property and Homeowner Surveys

Westshore’s services for property and homeowners includes topographic surveys, boundary surveys, mortgage inspections, riparian surveys, flood plain certification, land divisions and property splits, descriptions of property, and zoning and permitting assistance.

Riparian Surveys

Detailed survey dealing with the rights of land owners to areas of water (lakes, rivers, and streams). Riparian/Littoral (Water) rights is a system of allocating water body bottom lands usage rights among those who possess abutting upland rights. Westshore is considered an expert in this field.

Route/Pipeline Surveys

Extends over relatively long distances (greater than 2 miles) and can cross multiple governing and property boundary lines. Common for energy companies such as gas and petroleum pipelines, as well as communications fiber optic cable.

Site Development Surveys

Process followed to bring undeveloped parcels to the point of sale. Westshore can help you navigate the local, state, and federal regulations for property development (including the Engineering, Surveying, and Environmental aspects). Includes subdivision design, condominium surveys, as-built surveys, ALTA surveys, land divisions, private road surveys, and riparian surveys.

Subdivision Design

The partitioning or splitting of a tract of land into a configuration allowing for a higher density population than would otherwise be allowed. State of Michigan has stringent requirements for platting process. Output is map documenting boundaries of ownership, approved by local governing authority, and recorded with State of Michigan, per the Land Division Act, Act 288 of 1967 as revised, Act 591 of 1996.

Surveys for Banks, Realtors, and Lenders

Mortgage inspections, ALTA surveys, boundary surveys, riparian surveys, riparian surveys, and as-built surveys.

Topographic Surveys

Detailed measurement of a specific area plotted onto a drawing to show the relationship of features on the ground to each other. May or may not include elevations shown as contour lines or spot elevations. May or may not include boundaries.

Utility Mapping

Detailed measurement of utilities that are then plotted onto drawing to show relationship of features on ground to each other. May include overhead wires, underground wires, storm and sanitary structures and pipes, water lines and valves, fiber optic cable, telephone equipment and lines, cable TV panels and lines, substations, antennas, etc. May or may not include elevations and/or boundaries.

Volume Computations

Method of determining inventory of material quantity (i.e., aggregate, sand, peat, coal, etc). Survey grade measurements combined with latest CAD software and techniques can provide very accurate inventory control numbers.

Wetland Survey

Westshore Consulting can provide both surveying and environmental services for wetland surveys, including locating and delineating wetlands and waters of the United States. We are experienced in the permitting process and can help ensure that your project complies with all aspects of the Clean Water Act.