A boundary survey is the most basic type of survey. This type of survey is also known as a mortgage or loan survey as it was traditionally what would be provided at a home loan closing. The survey crew will visit the property to collect the necessary data. From this data, a scale drawing (plat) is drawn which illustrates property lines, bearings and distances along these lines, and total acreage. The survey will also show any improvements that may exist, such as buildings, driveways, fences, pools, etc. This type of survey will also show encroachments on site if indeed any exist. The survey crew will also make sure that all property corners are well flagged and will re-set any pins that are missing.
This type survey is also available for commercial sites.
A boundary survey is conducted to locate land ownership based on the deed of record. Based on "recorded" deeds, plats, wills, etc. a chain of title is determined that then helps the surveyor determine junior-senior rights associated with adjoining parcels. From the legal findings a surveyor can determine the "record boundary" to a parcel. Once this is done the surveyor's goal is to find as many of the original corners as possible. If any corners are missing the record boundary will be tied to the original corners and then the original boundary lines will be reestablished. Keep in mind no two pieces of property are the same and legal terms and findings do differ. Because of this sometimes surveyor's opinions vary.
He who has the most accurate legal findings and original corners will do a survey closer to the original boundary lines than one who has had information intentionally withheld from him. Two licensed surveyors with exactly the same information and the same findings rarely differ, but it is their professional opinion and it ultimately will be a court of law who can settle these differences in boundary surveys if their opinions ever do differ.