LAND & PROPERTYLand Survey   

Land Survey

A land survey is generally meant to ascertain and mark existing or proposed land ownership boundaries.  Land surveys are normally accompanied by a map or ‘certificate of survey’ of the subject property prepared and signed by a licensed land surveyor.  Oftentimes structures and other improvements such as fences and driveways are shown on the map.  Topographic features may also be shown.  Chapter 326 of Minnesota State Statutes requires that all boundary surveys be performed by or under the supervision of a Minnesota licensed surveyor.  The web site for the state licensing board can be found at:


Plats Public Land Survey System (PLSS) Types of Land Surveys Applicable Statutes and Ordinances Land Survey Division Business Plan


James T. Foldesi, PE - Public Works Director/Highway Engineer
Thomas J. O'Malley, PLS - County Surveyor

Executive Summary

Mission: To maintain the records and landmarks of the Public Land Survey System (PLSS) while providing Land Surveying services for county government in Road and Bridge Construction, Subdivision Plat Approval, Resource Management, and Geographic Information Systems.


    • All Public Land Survey System corners (outside of large undevelopable areas such as the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness) will be monumented and certified with precise GPS coordinates.
    • Survey control for road and bridge construction projects will be readily available for use in design and implementation, and will be replaced where disturbed by construction per MS 160 upon completion.
    • Subdivision plat review as enabled by MS 389 and required by County Ordinances 34 and 60 will provide the necessary oversight to help protect public interest and welfare.
    • Resource Managers will have the necessary location information to complete projects efficiently.
    • The county's Geographic Information System parcel lines will be based on reliable survey control.
    • Public and interested parties will have access to county-held survey records, including certificate of survey documents filed under the authority of County Ordinance 21.

Numerous vision-driven workflows are in place and producing positive outcomes, including providing survey control and other services for Public Works, providing timely feedback on subdivision plat review applications, providing users with reliable PLSS data where it is available, and managing survey records.  Although we are making progress on county-wide PLSS remonumentation, our present pace puts completion on the distant horizon, and leads to a performance gap in areas where data is absent or unreliable.  Resource managers, private sector partners, and GIS interests could greatly benefit from reliable county-wide PLSS data.  The great need we see far outstrips our capacity, causing users to mitigate this information deficit with other, less desirable, less reliable substitutions such as calculated approximate corner positions.

To address these issues, management and administration should consider options including adding staff to the division, reallocating current resources, upgrading technology, streamlining workflows, and increased participation from our private and public sector partners.

View our complete Business Plan


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