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GPS for Marking Property Lines

ltlredwagon 0 Points
edited November -1 in GPS Recommendations
I know nothing about GPS devices. Total novice. Never had one or used one for car or anything else.

I recently purchased a property in the mountains. It is rectangular in shape, about 350 by 1200 feet. Tomorrow a surveyor will complete placing monuments on the 4 corners. The surveyor is going to give me the coordinates for the monuments that he places. Much of the property is in a densely forested area so it is not possible for me to sight between the monuments. I want to be able to walk the lines between the monuments and place intermediate markers, so I need to be able to walk 40 - 50 feet and know whether or not I am on the line.

Does one pay more for accuracy? I'm not sure how close to the line the GPS device can mark. I'd like to know I was within a foot of the line.

It would also help if I knew distance between the points and the elevation of each point.

I don't have a GPS for my car, so if there is a device that I can use for both driving and mapping that would be good, but car use is much less important to me. I'd like recommendations for a device that will accomplish the above.


  • Tim 1466 Points
    Consumer GPS devices will be accurate to 10 meters or better, 95% of the time. If you are in an area covered by WAAS and can get a good WAAS connection you can improve that to about 5 meters. To get better than that (about 15 feet) you would need to spend four figures or more on a surveying/commercial grade GPS. You won't get the accuracy you seek with a consumer GPS.
  • Boyd 1853 Points
    I own a similar piece of densely wooded property, and in the past have owned larger ones. I've played around a lot with a variety of devices (Magellan Meridian Gold, Garmin eTrex Legend C, GPSMap 60csx, Oregon 400t) attempting exactly what you're doing.

    To cut to the chase: you won't get enough accuracy for what you want unless you're willing to pay quite a lot ($5,000 ?). All of the consumer devices you will see widely available from Garmin, Magellan, Lowrance, DeLorme, etc. typically have accuracy specs of +/- 10 meters. That is probably more like a worst case, but even optimistically I would expect less than 3 meter accuracy most of the time. You will end up with a pretty wavy property line.

    It can be a fun experiment to try though. In that case, I don't think it matters a lot what you purchase because all of the consumer units will give similar results. My own land borders on a pretty inaccessible part of state forest where nobody is going to be too particular about where the property line is. I plotted a few points down there with the GPS, then sighted between them and the property corners to approximate a line.

    That is about all you can expect IMO, and your neighbors may not agree with a line you create this way. Regarding the use of one unit for the car and the woods, see this thread:
  • Good answers. Thanks very much.
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