Establish a strong competitive edge on ALTA surveys with AI

People get their land surveyed for numerous reasons. Land developers are always seeking out their next 25-lot residential subdivision.

Commercial real estate developers need a survey to permit and construct a commercial or industrial facility. Homeowners find surveys helpful for something as simple as putting up a fence. 

When it comes to providing the most detailed, accurate, high-level property survey, there is none more valuable than an ALTA/NSPS Survey. It is the gold standard of land surveys. 

An ALTA/NSPS Survey must abide by the standards set forth by the National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS): 

  • Property boundary 

  • Monuments 

  • Rights of Way (ROW)/Site Access 

  • Curb cuts/driveways 

  • Encroachments 

  • Site improvements – structures, fences, walls, sidewalks 

  • Utilities – sewer, drainage, water, gas, telephone, electric, fiber optic 

  • Easements and Servitudes 

  • Cemeteries

  • Water features – springs, ponds, lakes, streams, rivers, canals, ditches, swamps

As you can see, an ALTA/NSPS Survey is fairly complex. But why would anyone need the level of detail found on an ALTA/NSPS Survey as opposed to a standard boundary and topographic survey? If a civil engineering firm designs from that type of survey, what makes an ALTA unique? 


Why Choose an ALTA/NSPS Survey? 

There are a couple of reasons why you’d opt for an ALTA survey instead of a standard boundary survey.

  • Commercial Real Estate: When buying, selling, or refinancing a piece of commercial real estate, title insurance companies or lenders require an ALTA/NSPS Survey. The main reasons are due to potential issues such as boundary line disputes, encroachments, and easements associated with the property. These unknown issues that come to light from the survey can make or break the financial transaction.

  • Vacant Land: Vacant land in some instances might never have been surveyed. Or it could’ve been surveyed long before technological advances improved surveying accuracy. So, it’s possible that there are unknown potential issues with regards to a boundary dispute or an encroachment existing in that parcel.

A real estate developer who’s looking to invest a large sum of money, not only in the land purchase but also the permitting and construction, is best served by having an ALTA/NSPS Survey performed before acquiring the tract.


ALTA/NSPS Surveys and Technology 

Most ALTA/NSPS Surveys performed involve commercial properties. Those sites are quite detailed since they were previously developed. Buildings, parking spaces, loading zones, sidewalks, curbing, drainage structures, visible utilities, and signage. There is a lot to survey on those sites. 

Land surveyors are just like any other industry when it comes to technology. They employ equipment that allows them to perform a survey faster and more efficiently. 

UAVs/UASs are such pieces of equipment that afford a surveyor the ability to finish a job faster while spending less time on the site. This is especially helpful with ALTA/NSPS surveys. 

These aircraft work in unison with the survey crew. Sure, the survey crew still needs to spend time setting up a traverse, looking for existing monuments, and performing the boundary survey. But the drone can handle locating the existing physical features of the site once the crew sets the control using LiDAR.


Time, Efficiency, and Productivity 

UAVs/UASs are ideal for locating developed existing conditions due to the tremendous time savings in the field and in the office. 

The more developed a site, the more shots necessary to complete the survey. More shots mean more time on-site for a survey crew. More time equals more dollars spent equals a costlier product. 

What about generating the plan? 

If more shots translate into more field time for a survey crew, wouldn’t that also mean more office time for CAD to draft the plan?


Not if you’re using AirWorks. 

AirWorks’ AI-powered software can quickly convert your orthomosaic, point cloud, and boundary files into CAD files. This negates the lengthy process of creating the CAD basemap used as the foundation of the ALTA plan.  

The land surveyor can focus on boundary determination, reviewing the title commitment, and ensuring that the necessary ALTA requirements have been satisfied.  

CAD drafters are now free to either draft any parts of the site that didn’t clearly come through, adding additional layers manually, or work with civil engineers in the firm to draft their site designs. 

The use of drones in combination with AirWorks' technology allows you to complete ALTA/NSPS Surveys faster, more efficiently, and at less cost to your client. 


Contact AirWorks today to see how our software can assist with your land surveying and civil engineering needs. To learn more, visit our website at