On Site: Learning All About ALTA Surveys

Bonnie Dunkel By: Bonnie Dunkel

Last week I met up with a Timmons Group survey crew on site at a new mixed-use, multifamily development in Richmond’s Jackson Ward neighborhood. I spoke with Jeff Moore who told me more about the project and taught me all about the ALTA survey process.

What can you tell me about this project?

This project is a mixed-use development that will include both residential apartments and retail space. The site, which includes three newly-constructed buildings, will include multifamily units as well as low-income senior housing.

What is an ALTA Survey and how does it differ from a Boundary Survey?

The main purpose of a Boundary Survey is to locate the property corners on a site. The ALTA Survey creates a detailed land parcel map that includes the property’s boundary, but also identifies anything that’s within the site. We’re looking to locate any type of physical improvements as well as any marked utilities on the site.

What type of equipment are you using for this?

The two main pieces of equipment we are using are the Total Station and Prism Pole. The Total Station is an optical instrument used to calculate angles and distances. The Prism Pole is used with the Total Station for distance measuring and allows us to take accurate and precise measurements quickly. This is a 360-degree Prism, meaning it can be shot on any side, even if it isn’t facing directly at the Total Station. The Total Station can lock onto the Prism and it will follow me wherever I go with it as long as I’m within sight.

What do you enjoy about your job?

Every day is different. It’s nice to spend a lot of the day outside and have the opportunity to work on so many different types of projects and sites. It’s also neat to see a project through from start to finish – when we started on this project it was mainly just an empty field. To see how far it has come and the impact it will have on the community is really cool.

To learn more about Timmons Group’s Land Surveying services, click here.

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