Differences Between a Boundary and an ALTA Survey

by | Oct 21, 2022 | ALTA Survey, Boundary survey, Commercial

While boundary surveys and surveys are very similar in nature there are some specific differences between the two types of surveys. Here is a list of some of the similarities between the two types of surveys:

  1. Authorization to perform the survey work is provided by the client (the person who is responsible for paying for the services)
  2. A title commitment and/or legal description are provided to the surveyor
  3. Survey monuments are located and verified; the monuments are marked for the client to visibly locate
  4. Improvements such as buildings, concrete, fences, etc. are located during the field work portion of the project
  5. A report, map, or drawing are created based on the title commitment and field work performed

There are also some significant differences between boundary surveys and ALTA surveys. Here is a list of items that you would potentially find on a report for an ALTA but that you would not find on a boundary survey:

  1. Information pertaining to access to the property and the limits of the right of way along the property lines including visible evidence of physical access such as curb cuts and driveways.
  2. Information and evidence of access to and from waters adjoining the surveyed property such as boat slips, piers, docks, etc.
  3. Visible evidence of easements and utility lines. It is often requested for underground utility lines to be located by the utility companies and shown on the drawing. Actual utility lines both visible and non-visible can be requested. Any visible indicators of easements, such as pipeline markers, are required to be shown.

A boundary survey provides the foundational information that is then used to start the more labor intensive work of an ALTA survey. The ALTA takes the boundary and kicks it up a notch to have even more information provided to the client.

The survey is also required to be certified to have either met or exceeded the minimum requirements as outlined by the American Land Title Association and National Society of Professional Surveyors. This certification is issued to the client, the lender, the title company, and there insuring underwriter.


Cardinal Surveying would like the opportunity to earn your business. They service the greater St Louis Metro area, have been rated A+ with the Better Business Bureau since 2003, have surveyed over 35,000 properties and are a family-owned company who prides themselves on producing accurate results with exceptional customer service. They can be contacted via email at [email protected] or phone at 636.922.1001. They look forward to working with you for all your land surveying needs.