LAND & PROPERTYLand SurveyCorner Certificates   


Filing a Corner Certificate

A CERTIFICATE OF LOCATION OF GOVERNMENT CORNER, a.k.a. Corner Certificate, is a document developed by a licensed land surveyor to mark a Public Land Survey (PLS) corner location.  When a survey or plat is made, proper recording of a Corner Certificate(s) is required, with its location referenced to local landmarks and or referenced to other adjacent PLS corners.

Pursuant to section 3-4(1) of the Minnesota Department of Transportation hand book SURVEYING AND MAPPING MANUAL, dated April 20, 2007:
"The Certificate of Location of Government Corner is the written record of the present condition and the history for the public land survey corner.  To be useful for posterity, this document must be properly completed, provide an unquestionable location, and assure the total perpetuation of the government corner when made of public record.  A monument without a history is of little value as evidence and a new monument marking the location of a government corner is worthless if it cannot be identified in the future."

Preparation Filing Reimbursement Program Applicable Statutes

Pursuant to section 3-4.01 of the Minnesota Department of Transportation hand book SURVEYING AND MAPPING MANUAL, dated April 20, 2007: (also see applicable statutes)

The Certificate of Location should be a complete document relating to the location, monumentation, perpetuation and history of a corner.  If done properly, the need for future surveyors to research the past record evidence will be greatly reduced or eliminated.  The following outline provide a guideline for preparation of a Corner Certificate.  See template documents available below.

  1. Corner Index System
    • Identify the lowest Township number common to the corner.
    • Identify the lowest Range number common to the corner.
    • Identify the lowest Section Number common to the corner.
    • Identify the corner location in the identified section. i.e., North Quarter, Northeast, East Quarter, etc.
    • Identify closing corners in the proper section.
    • If a corner is on a county line it should be identified and filed in each county.
    • List Section, Township, Range, Principal Meridian and County.
  2. Monument
    • Check the appropriate statement on the Certificate of Location for monument at corner location.
    • Indicate date of recovery and/or placement of monument.
    • Describe the monument in detail and give relationship to ground elevation.
    • If a monument is removed, during construction or for other purposes, explain fully under statement of evidence (on back of page).
  3. Sketch of Reference Ties
    • Make a minimum of two ties, more if practicable.
    • Identify the reference points in detail, e.g., nail and disc on S.W. side of (diameter) burr oak, distance above ground.
    • Reference tie distances are horizontal unless clearly stated on sketch.  Show difference in elevation and direction of slope for slope measurements.
    • Direction of reference point from corner should be given by:
      1. Point of compass. i.e., N, NNE, NE, ENE, E, etc., or
      2. By a bearing (preferred). i.e., N50°E.  For bearings indicate on sketch their basis of orientation and accuracy.
    • Show the improvements in the immediate vicinity such as roads, including name or number, buildings, fences, tree lines, retaining walls, field lines, and their relation to corner.
    • Indicate if corner is on a Correction Line.
  4. Statement of Evidence
    • Include all record evidence that relates to the history of this corner chronologically beginning with Public Land Survey.
    • Include all parol evidence and testimony concerning corner location.  List name, age, residence, address, job title, and how information was obtained.
    • Include all information on field search and excavation.  Indicate extent and depth of excavation; soil profile characteristics; present and original ground elevations could be added.
    • Include information on monument found in place.  Identify type and size of monument; who, when and how it was placed in addition to a photo.  Indicate in statement of evidence if no information is found on the origin or history of monument.
    • Method used to set lost or obliterated corners must be stated in a short summary with supporting evidence.
    • When a coordinate value is known, the coordinates may be listed.  If the coordinates are enumerated, the reference coordinate system must be indicated.
    • Analyze all of the information on the document.  Indicate the reasons for the decisions made in the form of a summary or conclusion statement.
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