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2013 PLSC Track, Four Corners Legacy: Monuments, Not Math (And 1,001 Reasons Why Surveyors Plant Pin Gardens Anyway) by Warren Ward
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2013 PLSC Track, Four Corners Legacy: Monuments, Not Math (And 1,001 Reasons Why Surveyors Plant Pin Gardens Anyway) by Warren Ward

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The Four Corners Monument was established in 1875, and despite challenges and news stories spanning 100 years that dispute the accuracy of its location, it is exactly in the right place for legal …

The Four Corners Monument was established in 1875, and despite challenges and news stories spanning 100 years that dispute the accuracy of its location, it is exactly in the right place for legal reasons.
The history of the survey of this monument gives us solid legal backing to accept monuments when doing retracement boundary surveys, yet many surveyors set multiple monuments anyway, confusing the public.
This presentation examines modern cases of multiple survey monuments, and explains how professionals and laymen can utilize legal rationale to determine which of several survey pins is the one property corner.

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  • 1. The FOUR CORNERS LEGACY Monuments, Not Math, Make Property And 1,001 Reasons Why Surveyors Plant Pin Gardens Anyway Warren D. Ward, CO PLS 25971 October 10, 2013 GIS in the Rockies University of Denver Copyright Warren D. Ward, all rights reserved. 1
  • 2. • “I took my PLS test in 1987, and I knew more THEN than I know TODAY”. Warren D. Ward, CO PLS 25971 2
  • 3. • “It was held that the east line of the street was where the original surveyor placed it, not where it should be according to resurveys or subsequent surveys; that subsequent surveys are worse than useless; they only serve to confuse, unless they agree with the original survey”. » Johnson v. Westrick, 200 Wis.405 (1930) 3
  • 4. - Four Corners monument set in 1875. - 2009 News report that the 1875 stone was off by 2.5 miles! 4
  • 5. • The true history is a good example of case law for surveyors to follow 5
  • 6. – Some surveyors practice the frustrating act of setting multiple monuments for one property corner, or “pin gardens” 6
  • 7. 1,001 reasons surveyors give for planting pin gardens, despite the legal precedent that discourages such confusing practice. 7
  • 8. 8
  • 9. Deseret News Four Corners marker 2 1/2 miles off? Too late • By Lynn Arave • Published: Monday, April 20, 2009 • Laypeople easily use modern GPS 9
  • 10. Laypeople can easily research surveying history, and make the wrong conclusion 10
  • 11. Deseret News Four Corners Monument is indeed off mark • By Lynn Arave • Published: Thursday, April 23, 2009 • After surveyors call in to insist that there is no 11 error
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  • 13. PID: NGS DATA SHEET Desi gnat ion: FOUR CORNERS 2010 Sta mpi ng: COLORADO UTAH ARIZONA NEW MEXICO 1992 BBCD57 Stab ility: Monument will probably hold position well Setti ng: Mat foundation or concrete slab other than pavement Desc ripti on: THE STATION IS THE CENTER OF AN 8-INCH DIAMETER BRASS USDOI/BLM DISK MARKING THE POINT COMMON TO COLORADO, UTAH, ARIZONA, AND NEW MEXICO. IT IS LOCATED AT THE NAVAJO NATION'S FOUR CORNERS MONUMENT, MANAGED BY THE NAVAJO PARKS AND RECREATION DEPARTMENT, TEL: 928-871-6647. THE FOUR CORNERS MONUMENT INSTALLED IN 1992 (NGS PID: AD9256, NOW CONSIDERED DESTROYED) WAS REMOVED AND THE DISK RESET IN 2010 DURING RECONSTRUCTION OF THE MONUMENT AND VISITOR PLAZA. THE DISK WILL EVENTUALLY BE STAMPED "2010." Obs erve d: 2010-07-07T22:39:00Z Sour ce: OPUS - page5 1009.28 13
  • 14. REF_FRAME: NAD_83(CORS96 ) EPOCH: 2002.000 0 LAT: 36° 59' 56.31568" ± 0.027 m LON: -109° 2' 42.62051" ± 0.011 m 1460.802 ± 0.003 m X: -1664599.638 ± 0.015 m Y: -4821995.076 ± 0.009 m Z: 3818181.565 UNITS: m SET PROFILE DETAILS ± 0.023 m 1481.544 SOURCE: NAVD88 (Computed using GEOID09) ± 0.016 m ELL HT: ORTHO HT: UTM 12 SPC 3003(NM W ) 4096544.982m 666054.142m 673944.597m 722137.487m 1.17671173° -0.72935591° POINT SCALE: 0.99997275 1.00005994 COMBINED FACTOR: 0.99974356 0.99983074 NORTHING: EASTING: CONVERGENCE: 14
  • 15. Denver Post Four Corners spot is off the mark • By The Associated Press • Published: Monday, April 20, 2009 • Updated: Thursday, April 23, 2009 15
  • 16. Cortez Journal On the mark Four Corners National Monument officials dedicate completion of $1M plaza work • By Hope Nealson • Published: Sunday, September, 19, 2010 • 18 months after first report, the monument is now correct. 16
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  • 24. FIELD NOTES OF THE RE-SURVEY OF THE BOUNDARY LINE • BETWEEN THE STATE OF COLORADO AND THE TERRITORIES OF NEW MEXICO AND OKLAHOMA EXECUTED UNDER CONTRACT DATED JULY 7TH, 1902 BY HOWARD B. CARPENTER U.S. SURVEYOR AND ASTRONOMER SURVEY COMMENCED SEPTEMBER 21ST, 1902 SURVEY COMPLETED OCTOBER 29TH, 1908 24
  • 25. (Six pages of instructions) • On Page 6, second to last paragraph: “ …..All evidence of corners or monuments set by Darling on the south boundary of Colorado will be carefully obliterated.” 25
  • 26. Letter from US GLO to Howard B. Carpenter • (Page 7) “Dear Sir: ………….Between the 5th and 6th astronomical stations there seems to be such a deflection from a true east line as would indicate that one of these monuments was not upon the 37th parallel of latitude……the result that the monument at this station was found to be 3” of arc north of the 37th. Parallel……it will be necessary for you to return to the field and place any such monuments so located upon the parallel……” 26
  • 27. Tourist Brochure 27
  • 28. • • • • • • • • • • • • • “How have modern measuring tools, such as, Global Positioning Systems (GPS), changed the accuracy of surveyors’ measurements?” GPS satellites circle the earth twice a day in a very precise orbit and transmit signal information to earth. GPS receivers take this information and use triangulation to calculate the user's exact location relative to true latitude and longitude. Surveyors use GPS to make measurements of the land with a higher degree of precision and in a much faster amount of time than with the old transit and chain. • • • • • • • • • Property lines, property rights, and surveyors monuments are regulated by laws, not by mathematics. Surveyors take great care in protecting property rights by retracing historical property lines where they were originally established on the ground. Surveyors do not move property corner monuments that were set with the old tools. They use modern tools to report more precise positions of existing property corner monuments. • • • • • • • By using GPS to measure the location of the Four Corners Monument, we observe with a high degree of precision that the monument is located at 36 degrees 59 minutes 56.32 seconds North Latitude, and 109 degrees 02 minutes 42.62 seconds West Longitude, compared to the intended 37 degrees North Latitude and 109 degrees 03 minutes West Longitude. • • • • • • • • The placement of the Four Corners Monument is a remarkable feat of surveying precision and accuracy accomplished by surveyors in 1875, especially considering the tools that were available and the desolate, rugged, roadless terrain that had to be traversed. The Four Corners Monument was and is – placed accurately and correctly. 28 28
  • 29. U.S. Supreme Court Monuments – Not Math, Make Property! • U.S. Supreme Court • • • • • New Mexico v. Colorado, 267 U.S. 30 (1925) No. 12 Original Decided January 26, 1925 267 U.S. 30 (a) That New Mexico, upon her admission as a state, was bound by the previous recognition and adoption of the earlier location by the United States, her predecessor, and could not be heard to disavow the boundary thus recognized. P. 267 U. S. 41. (b) The effect of this recognition of the earlier location by the United States was not impaired by the temporary recognition of the later one by the General Land Office. Id. (c) After Colorado's admission as a state, her right to rely upon the boundary previously established could not be impaired by any subsequent action of the United States. Id. (d) New Mexico was bound also by her own recognition and adoption of the earlier line upon and after her admission to statehood. Id. . 2. The boundary between the States of Colorado and New Mexico is the line of the 37th parallel as surveyed and marked by Darling (emphasis added) from the Macomb monument westwardly to the 109th Meridian, and as surveyed and marked by Major and Preston from the said Macomb monument eastwardly to the Preston monument on the 103rd or Cimarron Meridian. P. 267 U. S. 39 • • • • • • The lengthy, archived explanation includes recognition of the many problems that disrupt an orderly society when survey lines and monuments are changed. Page 267 U. S. 31 29
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  • 32. CORRECTING THE SECTION LINES 32
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  • 35. “GROUND RULES” • 1. EVERY MEASUREMENT MADE BY A SURVEYOR, REGARDLESS OF THE TOOLS USED, IS IMPERFECT TO SOME DEGREE. • This phenomenon is the essence of surveying and being a surveyor. The public does not understand this, but surveyors do, and importantly, the courts DO TOO. • This concept can not be learned from a book. It takes experience in the field dealing with conflicts on the ground to understand this concept, and why it is important. 35
  • 36. • 2. THE TERM “PRECISION” APPLIES TO THE REPEATABILITY OF A MEASUREMENT, IN MATH TERMS. • THE TERM “ACCURACY” REFERS TO LEGAL APPLICATIONS. • Lack of precision does NO public harm. Lack of accuracy CAUSES public harm. 36
  • 37. A (property) CORNER is a point of reference determined by the survey process. • A monument is the physical object set in the ground to identify a corner. • The above concept is stated in the BLM Manual, and codified by many state statutes. • End result: When a duly licensed surveyor places a monument, they have established a legal property corner. Subsequent surveyors DO NOT have some self-anointed right of superior math to discard previous surveyors’ work. Retracement, retracement, retracement! 37
  • 38. • 3. MONUMENTS CONTROL BOUNDARIES OVER CALLS FOR BEARINGS AND DISTANCE, in the event of conflicting positions. • Paraphrased from numerous sources. 38
  • 39. • 4. SURVEYORS PROVIDE TWO BASIC FUNCTIONS FOR SOCIETY: WE EITHER ESTABLISH NEW PROPERTY LINES, OR, RETRACE PREVIOUSLY ESTABLISHED PROPERTY LINES. • 5. A BOUNDARY IS THE LINE WHERE PROPERTY RIGHTS CHANGE. 39
  • 40. USEFULL DOCTRINES • 1. 1857 legal opinion: • “The center of a section is the intersection of straight lines between opposite quarter-corners”. Abraham Lincoln - Attorney and Deputy County Surveyor • 2. Justice Cooley: “Surveyors maintain order – they are not expected to make corrections that only cause chaos”. (paraphrased). 40
  • 41. QUOTED PRINCIPLES • PRINCIPLE 8: “An original corner, once created, cannot be replaced or redefined by coordinates created by modern survey measurements using more precise modern methods”. (Evidence, 4-12.) • PRINCIPLE 1: “Surveyors are presumed to know the laws of evidence pertaining to the location of land boundaries described by the writings, and they are charged with the responsibility of knowing how to apply the laws of evidence when they locate deed boundaries”. • (RETRACE VERSUS POINT-STAKE?) 41
  • 42. TYPICAL DEFINITION OF LAND SURVEY • • • • • • • 6.5.1 Definition of Land Survey. A land survey as defined in Sections 38-51-102(11) and 38-53-103(11), C.R.S., includes, but is not limited to, one or more of the following: (a) The establishment of boundaries or the (c) The determination of the position of any monument, reference point, or any other mark, when such monument or mark restoration or rehabilitation of any monument marking a corner that controls the location of real property. (b) The location on the ground of any encumbrance affecting the rights or enjoyment of real property. controls the location of boundaries or rights of ownership in or use of real property. (d) The preparation of maps, plats, descriptions, or any other document for the purpose of preserving the location or conveyance of any and all rights in real property and the subdivision thereof. (e) The measurements and computations made to determine the size, shape, or area of parcels for the purpose of marking on the ground, or the conveyance of, any or all rights of ownership in real property. (f) All other applicable services that are defined in the Section 12-25-202(6)(a), C.R.S. 42
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  • 45. Part of old garage ordered removed after appearance of new pin. 45
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  • 49. Colorado Case Law: Monuments, Not Math Make Property! • • • • • Morales v. CAMB, a partnership Colorado Court of Appeals, March 22, 2007 2007 Colo. App. LEXIS 482, 2007 WL 851628 Boundary dispute; subdivision monuments; monuments vs. calls. In this boundary dispute between the owners of adjoining subdivision lots, a simple issue was presented. The location of the boundary as described on the metes and bounds descriptions on the subdivision plat, and as shown on the plat map, favors one lot owner. (Note: Monuments set accurately throughout 1980 subdivision, two corners “off” by 13’) • The location of subdivision monuments on the ground, placed pursuant to C.R.S. § 3835-105(1), and approximately 13 feet south of the platted line, favors the other lot owner. • The subdivision plat contains the required surveyor’s certificate attesting that appropriate monuments had been placed on the ground. Applying rules of survey interpretation, the latter owner wins. • Monuments prevail over metes and bounds description (sic – see note), even if they are graphically depicted on a subdivision plat map.(emphasis added)(note: Subdivision Lots are simultaneous conveyance, not metes and bounds). • • • • All monuments in 10Lot subdivision otherwise set correctly in 1980, and all acreages correct as reported on 1980 plat. Two 1980 monuments were set in error, or blunder, by 13’, along a 100’ lot line. Both Lots vacant. In 2003, surveyor during a “replat” discovered the discrepancy, set two new monuments in the accurate mathematical location, and filed a plat that showed the discrepancy. Indeed, in this situation, the monuments are “conclusive.”See Everett v. Lantz, 126 Colo. 504, 514, 252 P. 2d 103 (1952). This is the holding even if (as here) the plat’s legal description does not “close” if one defers to the monuments, implying that the monuments were • misplaced at the outset. (emphasis added) 49
  • 50. Some of Many Biblical References • Deuteronomy 19:14: Thou shalt not remove thy neighbor’s landmark, which they of old time have set…. – Proverbs 22:28: Remove not the ancient landmark, Which thy fathers have set • Deuteronomy 27:17: Cursed be he that removeth his neighbor’s landmark. And all the people shall say, Amen. 50
  • 51. Dykes v. Arnold, Oregon • The court ruled that an existing center ¼ corner defined the legal property corner over a newly-set monument, despite the understanding that the existing center ¼ corner set by a county surveyor 100 years prior was set incorrectly by “stubbing out”, and disagreed by a large distance from the newly-set monument that was positioned correctly and precisely at the intersection of ¼ lines. 51
  • 52. ASKED CREW CHIEF TO FIND ORIGINAL MONUMENT, HE SAID IT WASN’T THERE. SET NEW PIN. SAME CREW CHIEF 10 YEARS LATER AS PLS WITH OWN COMPANY FINDS ORIGINAL MONUMENT, REJECTS NEW PIN ON PLAT. 52
  • 53. A COMPILATION RETRACEMENT 53
  • 54. NOT THIS GUY 54
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  • 56. ORIGINAL 1970 REBAR NOT GOOD ENOUGH? GREAT JOB OF CALCULATING, POOR JOB OF SURVEYING! 56
  • 57. 1970 TRANSIT/TAPE SUBDIVISION 57
  • 58. One Lot 58
  • 59. 2005 DEVELOPMENT (surveyor “rejects” 4 of 6 original monuments) 59
  • 60. ONE SURVEYOR’S EXPLANATION • Mr. Ward, • “……While we generally consider holding found monuments whenever possible, this particular rebar and cap was determined to be significantly out of position and was NOT held as the southeast corner of Lot 2. • Reference is made to Bylaws and Rules of the State Board of Licensure for Professional Engineers and Professional Land Surveyors. Specifically Board Rule No. 6.5.4, pursuant to which we assure that a monument established or re-established conform both in LOCATION and physical character……..” 60
  • 61. The Board Rule 6.5.4 • 6.5.4 Monuments Shall Conform to Statutes. The professional land surveyor will assure that the monuments established or re-established conform both in location and physical character with the specifications called for in Section 38-51-104, C.R.S. Each found monument verified in location shall be restored or rehabilitated as necessary so as to leave it readily identifiable and reasonably durable. Physical standards for Public Land Survey System monuments can be found in Rule 6.4. 61
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  • 63. PLAT ERROR – solved 30 years too late 63
  • 64. WITH NEIGHBOR’S HELP 64
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  • 66. 3 LAWSUITS, 1 PIN 66
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  • 70. OLD PIN, NEW FENCE 70
  • 71. OLD PIN, NEW FENCE, NEW PIN 71
  • 72. SECTION BREAKDOWN 72
  • 73. Proposed Statute Addition • • DRAFT BY WARREN WARD 12-10-1138-51-104. Monumentation of land surveys.(1) (a) The corners of lots, tracts, other parcels of land, aliquot corners not described in subsection (4) of this section, and any line points or reference points which are set to perpetuate the location of any land boundary or easement shall, when established on the ground by a land survey, be marked by reasonably permanent markers solidly embedded in the ground. (b) A durable cap bearing the registration number of the professional land surveyor responsible for the establishment of the monument shall be affixed securely to the top of each such monument embedded pursuant to this subsection (1).(2) If the points CORNERS designated in subsection (1) of this section fall on solid bedrock, concrete, stone curbs, gutters, or walks, a durable metal disk or cap shall be securely anchored in the rock or concrete and stamped with the survey point and the registration number of the professional land surveyor responsible for the establishment of the monument or marker.(3) (a) If the monuments or markers required by subsection (1) of this section cannot practicably be set because of steep terrain, water, marsh, or existing structures, or if they would be lost as a result of proposed street, road, or other construction, one or more reference monuments shall be set.(3)(b) THE CORNERS OF LOTS, TRACTS, OTHER PARCELS OF LAND, OR ALIQUOT CORNERS NOT DESCRIBED IN SUBSECTION (4) OF THIS SECTION THAT HAVE ALREADY BEEN ESTABLISHED ON THE GROUND, MAY BE PERPETUATED BY SUBSEQUENT PROFESSIONAL LAND SURVEYORS. 73
  • 74. Proposed Statute – statement of justification (5) a description of all monuments found or set including the size and material and all pertinent information stamped or printed on any cap or tag; a found monument which the surveyor has rejected as a true property corner shall be designated as such; (6) A STATEMENT DESCRIBING WHY A REJECTED FOUND MONUMENT IS NOT LEGALLY COMPLIANT AS THE TRUE PROPERTY CORNER; (Suggestion by Warren Ward, 05-16-13) 74
  • 75. CONTACT INFORMATION WARREN WARD COUNTY SURVEYOR WEBSITE www.co.grand.co.us click “surveyor” EMAIL: wward@co.grand.co.us 75
  • 76. HELPFUL STATUTES • In 1987, Land surveys must DEPOSIT certain Land Survey Plats showing found and set monuments, with the County Surveyor. (CRS 38-51-107) • In 1994, The Colorado State Board required that PLSS monuments set must conform to similar BLM size standards, and PLSS monuments FOUND must be upgraded. 76
  • 77. Suggested Plat Note • “( ) – DENOTES RECORD PLAT DATA DEPICTING THE SAME LINE AS RETRACED BY THIS SURVEY.” 77
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