Confused on Coordinates

  • Confused on Coordinates

    Posted by srstephe on November 4, 2022 at 5:21 pm

    Hi Forum, I am a homeowner working off of a subdivision map that was completed in 1991. A property corner is marked with latitude/longitude coordinates. I would like to use these coordinates to locate the corner on the ground. Where I am confused is the map is showing a north coordinate of 89 degrees when my area is more like 40 degrees (not at the north pole). Is there an adjustment that I would need to use? I will attach pictures of what i am talking about. Thanks in advance for your time and any comments.


    fairbanksls replied 1 year, 1 month ago 11 Members · 11 Replies
  • 11 Replies
  • peter-lothian


    November 7, 2022 at 5:21 pm

    There are no lattitude/longitude coordinates on the plan images you posted. You are looking at a bearing (direction) and distance notation between two points on the plan. The bearing is 89 degrees, 24 minutes, 19 seconds of angle to the East of North, and the distance is 200.16 feet. I can’t tell if the direction is from Point 58 towards Point 57, or the other way around, since the North arrow is not shown.

    I don’t know what the notation in parenthesis below it indicates. I’m not familiar with that notation.

  • Norman_Oklahoma


    November 7, 2022 at 5:35 pm

    I concur with Peter. Those are bearings, not lat/longs.  1991 was a time before GPS was fully operational, – few surveyors had GPS units – so determining lat/longs was an infinitely more difficult process at that time than it is today. Even today surveyors rarely put coordinates of any kind on a boundary survey.

    The parenthetical notation appears to be a reference to the bearing and length of the line per some earlier survey or deed. 

  • MightyMoe


    November 7, 2022 at 5:51 pm

    I’ve had similar requests from landowners. The bearings and distance notations common to plats seem to confuse people wanting to plug the location into a handheld device. I agree that the parenthetical citations are references to older record calls. 

  • JPH


    November 7, 2022 at 7:06 pm

    Must be the YouTube phenomenon.  Thinking that the location of lot corners can be had by plugging some mysterious numbers shown on any random plan from years ago into an app.

    Sorry, no offense

  • holy-cow


    November 7, 2022 at 7:42 pm

    A couple of the lines shown are North 00 degrees East, so that direction would be the NORTH chosen by the surveyor.

    In the continental US all latitudes would be positive numbers and the longitudes would be negative numbers.

  • dave-o


    November 7, 2022 at 9:00 pm

    If you could scan the entire subdivision map to a better resolution, not just a piece of it so we can see references, symbology and legible words, I bet a few here would take the bait or at least fill in some more details for you.



    November 7, 2022 at 9:13 pm

    You are on a slippery slope, thinking you can find your property corners with coordinates entered into your smart phone.

    You’re best off hiring a Professional Land Surveyor to find them for you. The little bit of money you spend today, will be better than the thousands of dollars you will potentially spend later.

    You can download onX Hunt and get a free trial. It’s not always accurate; it’s an app hunters use to help find the property they are hunting on. But it might be able to get you close. Even if you find something, you can’t be sure it’s correct without getting a professional opinion.

    Good luck; let us know what you find!




    I hope everyone has a great day; I know I will!
  • holy-cow


    November 7, 2022 at 10:13 pm

    Then you get into the can of worms of trying to determine what one second of latitude and one second of longitude are at a specific latitude/longitude.

  • Williwaw


    November 7, 2022 at 11:48 pm

    I can see how a layman might jump to the conclusion that a bearing on a plat is part of a latitude and longitude coordinate because they use similar degree, minute and second notation, but they aren’t at all related, although with a little coordinate geometry those bearings and distances can be turned into local coordinates The important thing to know when you have recovered a pin that you suspect is your property corner, is where it sits in relation to other pins in the subdivision based on your subdivision plat and that is where the surveyor comes in. In too many instances a property owner finds a pin and makes the assumption that it’s their corner when it actually isn’t, or represents another location and then goes and builds off it, fence, garage, whatever. Later it comes to light it’s not what the property owner assumed it to be and the consequences can get way more expensive than what it would have cost to get it surveyed in the first place. Good luck!

  • Jim in AZ


    November 8, 2022 at 1:51 pm

    What RADAR said…

  • FairbanksLS


    November 8, 2022 at 2:12 pm

    Whatcha going to do after you find it?

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