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How to read property boundary maps

Property boundary maps detail the perimeter boundaries of a piece of property. They are usually black and white maps that detail the actual boundaries, easement areas and any significant landmarks, such as boulders, streams or large trees. The map helps a land owner determine what belongs to her.

Locate the map key. The map key will be located outside the property detail drawing and in one of the four corners of the map document. The property key is a compass drawing that indicates which direction to consider when looking at the map. If, for example, the property is of a house that faces west, the map key will indicate that the house faces west and the map is drawn as though you were facing the property from the west.

Note the facing direction from which the map was drawn. You can read the map this way or turn the map to reflect the direction that best suits your view of the property.

Locate the map's legend on the bottom or side of the map. The legend will clarify what symbols noted on the property boundary map mean. An example would be a square, that, according to the legend, refers to a shed.

Review the map. Boundary lines on newer maps will be marked with coordinates for exact identification of the boundaries. Older maps will be punctuated by identifying markers and paces. Confirm the map provides you with the details that you seek. If not, a new survey may be required.

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About the Author

Kristin Jennifer began writing professionally in 2010, with her work appearing on eHow. She has five years of experience working as an immigration specialist in Houston and New York City. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science and a minor in economics from Barnard College.