Using GPS to Track You – Is It Real?

GPS tracking

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Many have heard of “Big Brother” being able to track our movements. One of my favorite TV shows is “Person of Interest” where a secret machine keeps track of all conversations and people’s “criminal intent” in order to help the heroes stop the crimes before they happen.

While I’m SURE that there are tracking capabilities in most cell phones and different government agencies CAN track our locations, we might be a ways away them being able to determine criminal intent. But there IS a recent application in England that I found very interesting.

Nestle (yes, the chocolate company) is placing GPS Trackers in six KIT KAT bars in their aptly named “We’ll Find You” marketing campaign in the UK. When the person opens the package it notifies KIT KAT and the prize delivery team will find them within 24 hours and present them with a check for £10,000 (about $16,000.)

Just about all new type cell phones, all smart phones, iPads and other tablets, lots of cars (more than you think), public transportation vehicles, golf carts, and watches have GPS devices in them now days. Another place they are, and rightly so, are in ankle monitors used by law enforcement. But, what you might not realize is that the electronic devices mentioned above can work just like the ankle monitor.

Now, while it is true that you can disable the GPS tracking device in your cell phone or tablet, that doesn’t give all of us complete comfort in walking around with these devices on us.

Now, I’m not trying to be a conspiracy wonk here, but it is POSSIBLE that this could be taken advantage of by well-meaning agencies. And, as we know, law enforcement can make mistakes in identifying the correct suspect. Of course, we WANT emergency services to be able to find us if and when we need their service, so this is a double edged sword. Most of us probably have nothing to worry about in this regard, but if you worry about this sort of thing, it could keep you up at night.

Even as a licensed land surveyor, having used GPS technology in land surveying for almost 20 years, I still trust them more than I should. One example is when I was in an unfamiliar town my GPS navigation device told me to take a “road” to the right. I slowed down and attempted to turn but it was a power line. Not wanting to believe that Gizell was wrong (yes I named her), I went to the next street and turned and tried to find the “road” further back. I ended up driving down the sandy power line, which turned into a bike lane until I was finally stopped by a gate.

As I backed down the bike lane looking for a turn-around spot I thought, “maybe this wasn’t a road and maybe my GPS device is fallible.” Of course, I soon justified Gizell by recalling that a human had to “digitize” the roads in and she just did what they programmed her to do.

If you need to turn off your GPS tracking device in order to sleep tonight, call your device’s customer service line and stay away from KIT KAT bars. If you would like to find out how GPS surveying technology can help you in surveying your property boundary, call a Licensed Land Surveyor at Munford Land Surveying at 256-854-9503.


Land Surveying – How Do I Know if I Need A Land Survey?

Land surveying is needed for different reasons. It’s not inexpensive, but there’s also no other better way to protect your home and property than to hire a professional land surveyor.

Typically, the client is handed a copy of the survey drawing after the land surveying is done. Sometimes the drawing gets lost or misplaced. The land surveyor will typically keep a copy of the survey in his files.

Because land surveying can be costly (depending on a number of factors), people sometimes wonder if they can use the results of the last survey on their property again.

Generally, the answer to this varies per state but there are general guidelines:

First, it really depends on what kind of survey you had. There are different kinds of survey, each with different functions. A boundary survey, for instance, determines the boundary of a property while a flood elevation survey finds out if a certain property is at risk of flooding.

Because they were done to find different results, you cannot use the results of a flood elevation survey if you’re trying to find the boundaries of your property.

It also depends on how long ago the survey was done. Surveying pins that mark the boundary corners are made of permanent materials but that doesn’t mean they will always be where the surveyor put them. You’d be surprised at how these “move” over time. In most cases they’re just destroyed or disturbed. Sometimes your neighbor or kids can pull them up on purpose.

If the last survey was done 20 years ago, for instance, then you might want to have the property surveyed again, just to locate the corner monuments again. This will also identify if there have been any additional encroachments onto your property.

If you lost the copy of your survey, the first thing to do is to contact the surveyor who worked on your property. If you don’t know how to contact him, the stakes put around your property should have his license number on them. You can use this to get his name (if you don’t have it anymore), search for him online and then contact him to ask for a copy.

land surveying

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In some States, surveyors must file a copy of the survey with the county recorder. You can also go to them and check if they have a copy of the survey done on your property. If they do, it’s really not that hard to obtain a copy. But, you should know that this copy is only good as of the date of the survey, not later. As we’ve discussed the conditions change over time.

The last resort is to call another surveyor in your area. They may already be familiar with your property (from working around it) and they may be able to help you reach the surveyor you’re looking for. Some may even be able to assist you by calling around to find out which surveyor surveyed your property, and only charge you for the cost of their time. If all else fails, another new survey may be in order.

If you are considering adding a fence on your property, by all means, contact a surveyor. They will identify your corners so the fence can be placed within your boundary lines, and not too far within them.

If you are considering a home addition, contact a surveyor to find out how much room you have. Local surveyors will also be familiar with local zoning ordinances and can help you with knowing the building setbacks and easement locations on your property for planning purposes.

Surveyors can also draw a site plan showing the addition planned for your home. Then, when you’re ready to build, they can provide staking of the corners to insure they are placed in the correct location.

Finally, when you’re done, a surveyor can then prepare an as-built survey for your bank or mortgage company to insure them it was built in the correct location and doesn’t encroach on your neighbors.

For land surveying needs in Munford,AL and the surrounding areas, call Maxwell Land Surveying at 256-854-9503 or fill out our contact form.

The Land Surveying Process

There can be a dozen reasons why anybody would need land surveying. One of the most popular is to check the boundaries of a property, to determine if a property is prone to flooding (a certificate for this is usually required by insurance companies) and to subdivide a property, among others.

When someone learns or decides that they need to have their property surveyed, they don’t know where to begin. Because of that, we’d give you a simple guide on the land surveying process.

The first step is to hire a land surveyor. You can find a land surveyor in your area through searching it on the internet, looking it up on the Yellowpages or asking around. Be clear on what kind of services you need, and what you expect of the outcome.

Surveyors usually give price quotes free of charge, and being clear on what you need will help the surveyor give an accurate price quote.

Your surveyor might also ask you for documents like records of title, deeds and survey maps. These will help the surveyor find out necessary information about your property.

land surveying process

After signing a contract, your surveyor will proceed with the surveying itself. He will find more information about your property by going through County Clerk’s offices as well as other agencies.

He will also review the documents you provided to make sure that they are accurate. After all these pieces of information are gathered, your surveyor, along with a crew will perform a field survey on your property.

Depending on the type of survey that you need, they might start looking for physical evidences that may affect your property’s boundary. They might also look for stakes or monuments left by previous surveyors. Other tasks might also involve percolation testing and wetland delineation.

Once the results of the surveying are in, the surveyor will proceed with uploading them into a computer using specific software and then it will be drafted into a parcel. You will get a copy of the results of the surveying done from your land surveyor.

You can use this for future reference as well as evidences in case you have to bring a case (such as encroaching into your property) into court. For help on land surveying, give us a call at 256 854-9503 or send us a message through our contact form.