Surveying and Mapping Glossary


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Abut, Abutting  Reaching or contacting without interval.

Acre  Unit of area measure equal to 43,560 square feet.

Adjacent  Near to but not reaching or contacting.

Adjoiner  Adjoining owner and/or adjoining land of record.

Adjoining  Touching or bounding at a point or along a line.

Along  On and coincident with; same as upon.

Alley  Narrow service roadway created by land platting.

Aliquot  Division of a whole into parts without remainder.

And  Informative term of inclusion; in addition to.

Angle  Angular measure between directional lines.

Angle Right  Clockwise  horizontal angular measure.

Angle Left  Counterclockwise horizontal angular measure.

Appurtenances  Accessorial property, rights and/or interests.

Astronomic North  North by celestial observation of Sun or stars.

Assumed North  North by arbitrary definition and/or reference.

Azimuth  Clockwise angle from a North or South reference.

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Bank  Upland acclivity adjoining a waterway.

Bank, Left or Right  Referred bank of a stream, creek or river as one faces downstream in direction of flow.

Bearing Quadrantal angle East or West of North or South, from 0° to 90°.

Bed  Land underlying a water body or roadway.

Beginning  Informative term of commencement and/or origin.

Benchmark  Object of known elevation by datum reference.

Block  Platted lots; normally bounded by public streets.

BLM  Bureau of Land Management of U.S. Department of the Interior; formerly the General Land Office(GLO).

Boundary  Border line or exterior of a described parcel.

Bounded by  Informative term of location or limitation.

Bulkhead Line  Established line limiting land improvements into an abutting waterway.

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Canal  Artificial open channel for waterway purposes.

Cardinal  North, South, East or West directions only.

Centerline, center of  Line or point of equal division or separation.

Chain  Unit of lineal measure equal to 66 feet.

Ch.  Chain or chains abbreviation.

Coincident with  Contacting a line or point without interval.

Commencing  Informative term of beginning and/or origin.

Complementary Angle  Remnant angle of 90 degrees less smaller angle.

Continue, continuation  Extension of a line or course; normally a curve.

Contour  Defined line of equal elevation on a map or plat.

Control  Surveying and mapping reference infrastructure.

Corner  Juncture of intersecting lines; locative point.

Course  Line or boundary defined by bearing and distance.

Covenant  Real property restriction and/or encumbrance.

CSM  Certified Survey Map abbreviation.

Crest  Highest elevation, uppermost level or height of.

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Datum  Standard or common reference base or system.

Deflection Angle  Angle measured left or right of a line extension.

Dedicated  Land granted for public or special purposes by an expressed intent in a conveyance or upon a plat.

Departure(dE)  Longitudal interval between points.

Dia.  Diameter  abbreviation.

Direction  Angular measure by reference to a defined line.

Distance  Lineal length between points on a straight line.

Due North  Normally infers True North; use of term is not recommended without a basis of reference.

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Easement  Non-fee land title right or interest.

Easting  Coordinate value by longitudinal reference.

Egress  Exiting or emerging right of access.

Elevation  Vertical height from a defined reference datum.

Encumbrance  Restrictive real property interest or right.

Equator  Standard parallel of 0 degrees latitude.

Excepting  Informative term of exclusion and/or withdrawal.

Extension of  Continuation of defined line, boundary or course.

Exterior Angle  Exterior angle formed by intersecting lines of an polygon or land parcel boundaries.

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Flowage Line  Defined contour line for water control purposes.

Frac.  Fraction or fractional abbreviation.

Fractional lot  Non-aliquot PLSS section division land remnant; normally abutting north and west township lines.

From  Informative term of origin and continuance.

Frontage  Land boundary abutting a roadway or waterway.

Ft.  Feet or foot abbreviation.

Forty  Quarter/quarter tract by aliquot PLSS division.

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GLO  General Land Office; now known as BLM.

Government lot  Non-aliquot riparian land remnant by PLSS survey and designated upon an official GLO/BLM Township Plat.

Grade  Surface level of ground or rate/degree of slope.

Grantee  Person(s) or legal entity granted title rights and/or interests by a grantor.

Grantor  Person(s) or legal entity granting title rights and/or interests to a grantee.

Graphic Scale  Bar type scale upon a map or plat graduated by a representative length ratio; such as 1″=200′.

Grid  Equally spaced parallel lines intersecting at right angles or 90°; normally upon a plat or map.

Grid north  Central meridian of referred mapping projection.

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Half  By equal area except for PLSS divisions which are aliquot partition per S.59.62 Wis. Stats.

Heretofore  Informative term of preceding/previous referral.

High water mark  Highest level of a waterway at normal rise.

Horizontal angle  Angular measure between intersecting lines in a level or horizontal plane.

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I.D.  Inside diameter abbreviation.

Ingress  Entering right of access.

Included Angle  Interior angle formed by intersecting lines enclosed polygon or land parcel boundaries.

Interior Angle  Same as included angle above.

Intersection  To meet or cross at a point; a road junction.

I.P. or I.R.  Iron pipe or iron rod monument abbreviation.

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Lane  Narrow traveled way; normally created by usage.

Landmark  Artificial or natural object defining lands; a boundary corner monument of public record.

Latitude(dN)  Latitudnal interval between points; angular arc distance north or south of the Equator along a meridian of longitude.

Line  Boundary, course or extension between points; may consist of straight or curvilinear segments.

Link  Lineal measurement equivalent to 1/100th of a chain equal to 0.66 feet or 7.92 inches.

Lk.  Link or links abbreviation.

Longitude  Angular arc distance east or west of the Prime Meridian along a parallel of latitude.

Lot  Smallest area of land suitable for building or occupational purposes; normally by platting.

Low water mark  Lowest level of a waterway at normal ebb.

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M.  Meter or meters abbreviation.

Magnetic north  Direction of north seeking end of compass needle.

Map  Graphical representation of land to scale.

Main Channel  Navigible channel of waterway; may not be center.

Mark  Defined object, point or line of reference.

Meander line  Line established along a waterway for purposes of surveying and mapping riparian land frontage.

Meander corner  Boundary and meander line point established on the bank of an intersected or abutting waterway.

M.C.  Abbreviation for meander corner.

Mean Sea Level  Elevation datum referenced to averaged sea level observations over an extended period of time.

Meter  Metric measurement equivalent to 3.280833>feet.

Mid-point  Center or halfway point of a line segment.

Monument  Natural or artificial physical object intended as a landmark; normally at a property corner.

Monumented by  Informative term of monumentation or identity.

More or less  Precautionary term of quantitative uncertainty.

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Navigable  In Wisconsin, capability of floating a canoe at any time of the year; normally, any waterway with a defined bed and banks.

Normal To  At right angles to a line or radial to a curve.

Northerly, etc.  General directional term; normally by reference.

Northing  Coordinate value by latitudal reference.

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O.D.  Outside diameter abbreviation.

Of  Informative term of inclusion and/or association.

Offset  Perpendicular interval; to parallel and continue a preceding course, line or boundary.

On  Same as along or upon.

One half  Same as half; divisional unit by protraction.

Outlot  Sub-standard land parcel; a platted land remnant.

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Parallel with  Separation by equal interval or spacing.

Parcel  Area of land enclosed by defined boundaries.

Part of  Informative term of division or protraction.

Perch  Lineal measurement equal to 16.5 feet; a rod.

Plat  Map of a survey; normally a recorded subdivision.

PLSS  Public Land Survey System abbreviation.

Point  Spatial location without defined dimensions.

Point of beginning  Beginning and ending point of a defined boundary.

P.O.B.  Point of Beginning abbreviation.

Pole  Lineal measurement equal to 16.5 feet; a rod.

Portion  Informative term of division or protraction.

Prolongation  Continuation or extension of a straight line.

Proration  Equitable distribution of excess or deficiency.

Proportionate  Ratio of record to measured quantities.

Protraction  Division into relative parts; land partitioning.

Principal meridian  Line separating East and West PLSS Ranges.

Prime Meridian  Standard meridian of 0 degrees longitude.

Private claim  Legal foreign nation land grant, claim or title transfer; not included by original PLSS survey.

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Quadrant  Quarter circular sector of 90 degrees.

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Radial  Line radiating from the center of a circle.

Random Line  Non-monumented trial or temporary survey line.

Range  North/South tier of PLSS townships.

Reference Mark  Same as Mark above; normally monumented.

Reserved  Retained existing title rights and/or interests.

Reserving  Normally refers to new rights and/or interests.

Reservation  Established Military or Native American tract.

Restriction  Informative term of limitation; an encumbrance.

Retracement  Confirmation or reestablishment of land boundary lines and/or corners according to a prior survey.

Reversion  Legal repossession of land title rights and/or interests; such as vacated street right-of-way.

Right angle  Angular measurement of 90 degrees.

Right-of-way  Land by dedication, grant or easement for roads, utility or other designated purposes; normally described as a strip or corridor type parcel.

Riparian  Land and/or ownership abutting a waterway.

Roadway  Land and improvements for vehicular usage.

Rod  Lineal measurement equal to 16.5 feet; a pole.

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Said  Informative term of referral to a preceding term.

Scale  Relative ratio of map to ground distances.

Scale Factor  Mapping projection distance conversion parameter.

Setback Line  Zoning regulation boundary clearance limitation.

Shore, shoreline  Riparian land boundary or frontage subject to the rise and ebb of the abutting waterway..

Slope  Surface deviation from level or horizontal grade.

SPCS  State Plane Coordinate System abbreviation.

Sq.Ft.  Square feet abbreviation.

Station  Computed or surveyed point; normally by standard measurement intervals along a defined centerline.

Street  Improved public transportation corridor; also known as a boulevard, avenue, road or highway.

Subdivision  Division of land into lots, blocks and streets by a survey upon a duly approved and recorded plat.

Subject to  Qualifying referral to an existing encumbrance.

Supplementary Angle  Remnant angle of 180 degrees less smaller angle.

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Thence  Informative term of continuance.

Thread  Waterway centerline at ordinary or normal stage.

Tie  Direction and distance measurement from a defined point to a nearby object for reference purposes; normally used for perpetuation of landmarks.

To  Informative term of termination; exclusionary.

Toe  Lowest or bottom edge of a land bank or slope.

Togetherwith  Informative term of inclusion; in addition to.

Township  Divisional PLSS unit containing 36 sections.

Tract  Normally a land area enclosed by indefinite boundaries.

True north  North by celestial observation of Sun or stars.

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Vertical Angle  Angular measurement in a vertical plane.

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Waterway  Lake, pond, river, stream, creek, canal, etc.

Witness Corner  Reference monument to an inaccessible corner, and normally established on the related boundary by a directional and distance offset.

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Yard  Lineal measurement equal to 3 feet.

Yd.  Yard or yards abbreviation.

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