Marvin H. Davis & Assoc.

(520) 836-6223

Casa Grande, Arizona

member ACSM / NSPS

To send e-mail questions or files:
Marv Davis

Serving Pinal County, Gila County, Pima County and all of Central Arizona with professional surveying services.

A person may have occasion to employ a Land Surveyor only once or twice in a lifetime. Since such employment is so infrequent, the average person is not aware of the logical steps to be followed when employing a Land Surveyor.

To help you to know the steps to follow, the answers to a few common questions are contained herein.

What is a Land Surveyor?

A Professional Land Surveyor is a person who has qualified by education and experience, and who has passed an examination for registration required by the State of Arizona to practice Land Surveying in Arizona.

When might I need a Survey?

  • 1. When buying or selling land, the location of which is not clearly defined on the ground.
  • 2. Before land is divided.
  • 3. If a lending institution requires a survey.
  • 4. If a line or corner is not defined.
  • 5. Before building close to a line.
  • 6. Before a lot is conveyed from a larger tract.
  • 7. Before developing the property.
  • 8. When you believe someone has built on your property.
  • Which type of survey do I need?

    There are five basic types of surveys.
  • 1. Corner restoration / re-monument survey
  • 2. Arizona Land Boundary Survey
  • 3. American Land Title Survey
  • 4. Engineering Surveys
  • 5. Construction Surveys
  • NOTE: In late 1998, Pinal County implemented a MINOR LAND DIVISION ordinance. All parcels being created in Pinal County which do not fall under the Arizona subdivision laws, now require a MINOR LAND DIVISION plat before the parcel division will be recorded and issued a tax I.D. number. Some properties within the incorporated boundaries of towns and cities are exempt. Check with your local officials before attempting to divide any parcel. We are working on a page to help the owner through this process.

  • Please note that the plats on file with the County ASSESSORS Office do not constitute a survey. A recorded subdivision plat or Record of Survey will be recorded with the County RECORDER. Assessors maps are for tax purposes only and lack the information necessary to perform a survey.

    A corner restoration survey would be one where an adequate record plat exists of the parcel to be surveyed. This would include most residential lots within cities. As long as there are no material discrepancies found between the record plat and the results of the survey, no new plat would be necessary. Should there be discrepancies between record information and the results of survey, or if there is no plat of record ( as would be the case in creating a new parcel), the surveyor must prepare a plat within the guidelines required for Arizona Land Boundary Surveys. This mapping will usually add to the cost of the survey. The Arizona Land Boundary Survey plat would be suitable for recording and will provide future surveyors with all data necessary to re-create the boundaries of the parcel. 

    Some mortgage institutions will require an A.L.T.A. lenders policy prior to close of escrow. This type of survey is probably the most involved of all boundary surveys. The surveyor must communicate closely with the lender and the Title insurer to determine the extent and requirements of the survey. If you have been required to provide an A.L.T.A. survey, please visit the ACSM / American Land Title Association (A.L.T.A.) site. The requirements of an A.L.T.A. survey may cause the cost to vary dramatically.

    It should be noted that the Arizona State Board of Technical Registration dictates an accuracy requirement for all surveys performed in Arizona. The cost of the survey does not relieve the surveyor from providing a reliable survey. Whether you require a corner restoration or an A.L.T.A. survey, the same technical knowledge, skill and care must be employed in the performance of each survey. Arizona has four classes of boundary surveys. They are:

  • Class A, Urban Surveys
  • Class B, Suburban Surveys
  • Class C, Rural Surveys
  • Class D, Mountain / Marshland Surveys
  • A complete listing of the Minimum Standard Detail Requirements for Arizona surveys are available in .pdf form. (Adobe Acrobat required)



    An engineering surveys accumulates data for your engineer or architect to design from. This may include contour maps, "as-built" mapping, volumetric surveys or aerial photogrammetry. Your engineer will advise you as to his needs.

    Surveyors are instrumental in construction and development. They provide the lines, grades and elevations for the proper completion of your project. Your engineer or architect will provide you with design plans. It will then be necessary to employ a surveyor to provide the stakes necessary for your construction crew to follow the plans.

    How much will a Survey cost?

    Fees of Surveyors are on a level with other professions. The Surveyor's fees are not dependent upon the size of the tract . Other factors, including complexity of the legal description, the terrain and vegetation, accessibility, and if reliable survey monuments exist in the area may greatly affect the cost of a survey. Therefore, the Surveyor will estimate the approximate cost of the survey for you prior to commencing the work. However, do not depend on the lowest priced survey to be the best survey. Obtain the services of a reputable Surveyor.

    What can a Surveyor do for me?

  • 1. Advise you whether you need a survey or not.
  • 2. Examine your deed and adjoining deeds for problems.
  • 3. Find and mark corners and property lines.
  • 4. Establish new corners and property lines for new parcels.
  • 5. Survey subdivisions.
  • 6. Make contour maps.
  • 7. Cooperate with your attorney, title insurer, realtor, banker, architect, and engineer.
  • 8. Locate improvements such as: wells, buildings, fences, right-of-ways, encroachments, etc.
  • 9. Appear in court as an expert witness.
  • What does the Surveyor need from me?

    The more information you can furnish the Surveyor, the more you may expedite the Surveyor's work. However be sure the information you provide is reliable. The property description provided on your property tax statement is not always a reliable source.

    Such information includes:

  • 1. The purpose of the survey.
  • 2. A copy of your legal description as recorded with your deed in the County Recorders Office.
  • 3. Location of any known property corners.
  • 4. Information about adjoining land owners.
  • 5. Information about disagreements over corners and lines.
  • 6. Any title report of the property
  • 7. Agreement as to who pays and when.
  • What should I receive from the Professional Land Surveyor?

  • 1 . Plats or plats showing all desired and necessary information.
  • 2. A description of the survey suitable for deed use.
  • 3. Services which serve the purpose for which they were intended.
  • How can I obtain the services of a licensed Land Surveyor?

  • 1. Ask someone who has employed a competent Land Surveyor.
  • 2. Consult with your attorney, realtor, banker, or title insurer.
  • What if I have a complaint about a Surveyor's work?

      1 .Consult with the Surveyor and try to reach an agreement..
      2. If you still have a problem, contact the Arizona State Board of Technical Registration. A.S.B T.R. maintains vigilance over Surveyor's actions through its Code Enforcement Committee. All registrants are subject to a CODE OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT, which dictates a complete and high standard of work. If you feel you have a legitimate complaint, please contact the Code Enforcement Committee in Phoenix at 1951 West Camelback Rd., Suite 250, Phoenix AZ., 85015, or phone them at (602) 255-3737.
    If you have comments or suggestions, email me at