Frequently Asked Questions - All FAQs

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About using the site.

Most of the material is accessible to anyone who visits the website – no account is needed.
This includes Find a Surveyor, viewing Classified Ads or the Forum, checking Committee or Chapter activities, etc.
To post Forum comments or Ads or to access members-only material requires some type of account.

There are five account types

Registered: For anyone interested in Surveying. User can view most site material and post comments on the Forum.

Member: For WSLS members. Includes Registered access plus may post Classified Ads and has access to members-only material. Available for all WSLS membership levels: Student, Associate, Affiliate, CST, Regular, Sustaining, Fellow, Life, and Life Fellow Members

Sustaining: For Sustaing members. Includes Member access plus business listing on the website.

Student: For a student in a surveying or related educational program. Includes Registered access plus allows posting Student Employment Wanted* ads.

Firm: For a Firm, Company, or Government entity which provides or uses surveying or related services which would like to post Classified Ads*.

To create a Registered or Member account:

At the bottom of each page is a Member Login+ button. Click it and select Create an Account.

Complete at least the required fields on the User Registration form.

  • Be sure to include your first and last names in the Name field otherwise we can't verify if you are a WSLS member. A registration with a first or last name only or a nickname will not revceive a memebr account.
  • Your email address must be unique. Two accounts cannot share the same email address.
  • Your password must be at 6 or more characters and contain at least one each of an uppercase letter and numeric digit. Basic punctuation (-_,.) may also be included.

After clicking the Register button you will receive an email with an account verification link. Clicking the link will send your account request to a site administrator who will review it, assign you to the appropriate account type, and activate your account. You will receive an email when your account is activated.

If you are a WSLS member you will be assigned a WSLS Memeber account, otherwise a Regular account.

To create a Firm account to enable Ad placement

Complete the Firm Account Request form located in Resources | Contact WSLS.

To create a Student account

Complete the Student Account Request form located in Resources | Contact WSLS

If you are a Studnet Member of WSLS then please follow the "Registered or Member" instructions above.

Sustaining Member account

An account will be automatically created and log in credentials emailed to each Sustaining member. Please contact use via the feedback for if you have not received yours.

Because your password is encrypted it cannot be be recovered by a system administrator so it must be reset. To reset your password open the Member Login+ button at the bottom of any page, select Forgot your Password? and follow the instructions.

Your password must be 6 or more characters and contain at least one each of an uppercase letter and numeric digit. Basic punctuation may also be included.

Open the Member Login+ button at the bottom of any page, select Forgot your Password? and follow the instructions.

Your password must be 6 or more characters and contain at least one each of an uppercase letter and numeric digit. Basic punctuation may also be included.

Log in first then complete the Resources | Contact WSLS | Delete My Account form.

Fill out and submit the Resources | Contact WSLS | Website Feedback form.

We do not accept advertising on the website. If your company or firm would like exposure on the website, consider joining WSLS as a Sustaining Member. Among Sustaining Member benefits are:

  • Free Business Card in each issue of Wisconsin Professional Surveyor
  • A Sustaining Member Busines Listing page on the website.

Each Sustaining Member automatically receives a Business Listing page upon membership. The Business Listing allows you to include information about your company and services. The Business Listings use a standard format but each Member can modify their content as needed. Site visitors can access the Listings at Society | Sustaining Members.

Of course, there are other benefits for Sustaining Members. More information on WSLS membership and how to apply are at Society | Join.

General questions about surveying.

Property should be surveyed when:

  • it is to be sold, purchased or mortgaged
  • improvements, such as buildings or fences are planned
  • location of its boundaries are uncertain or in dispute
  • it will be divided into parcels for sale or development
  • government regulations require a survey and map of your property
  • trespass or encroachment is evidenced or suspected

One place to start is the Yellow Pages of your local or regional phone book.

Another source is a local WSLS Chapter – contact information for the chapter in your area is under Society | Chapters.

You can also use Resources | Find A Surveyor to search for a WSLS member surveyor by County and Type Of Survey needed. Not all WSLS members are included in Find A Surveyor but if you have a special survey need, this may be a good resource for you.

The cost of a survey is affected by several factors that are involved in the development of a boundary survey. Among the factors affecting the survey cost are:

  • Type of legal description
  • Location of the property
  • Use of the property
  • Size of the property
  • Lay of the land
  • Use of the survey
  • Survey history of the area

All property surveys also require land records research in addition to fieldwork. Complexity of the research depends on how and when the property was created and relationship with surrounding properties.

A property survey adds value to your property investment, helps protect that investment, provides security for you and your neighbors, and peace of mind behind all of which stands the Professional Land Surveyor.

Only a small portion of property records are included in an online GIS and the data shown may not be of uniform quality or at level of accuracy needed for boundary location. The surveyor must trace property lines back to when they were created which requires examining older written records that aren't, and may never be, available online. Most of these records are at the Register of Deeds but the surveyor may need to examine other public offices such as the Tax Lister, Dept of Transportation, and possibly private records.

According to Wisconsin law, Stat 443.14(9),

“A license shall not be required for an owner to survey his or her own land for purposes other than for sale.”

If the property is later sold then corners you set have no legal standing. A Professional Surveyor is required if the survey is related to the sale of a property. 

Although there are circumstance under which you can perform your own survey, remember that:

  • Your neighbors' property lines are also affected, and,
  • Local code and ordinances may be more restrictive than state law and further limit purposes for which you can perform your own survey.
  • A Land Surveyor has the expertise to properly research and evaluate conflicting written and physical evidence.

An incorrectly placed boundary can lead to strained relationships and, in some cases, very expensive lawsuits. 

Links for the Wisconsin County Surveyors Associaiton are located at Resources | Wis County Surveyors

Purchasing real estate is one of the most significant financial investments a person makes in their life. Having a survey done by a Professional Land Surveyor prior to purchase is an essential step in gaining peace of mind.

Land surveys can eliminate the costly expense of having to move a building, fence, garage or driveway. While most neighbors may agree where they think the property lines are, boundaries are not always where they appear to be. Agreements may not hold up in court if there is a discrepancy.

Land boundaries, especially those in question, should be located and mapped by a Professional Land Surveyor, and filed as a public record, prior to purchase.

Most municipalities also require a current survey be completed to acquire a permit for construction.

Questions surveyors may have about the profession or WSLS in general.

You may submit your map to the WSLS Survey Map Review Committee (SMRC) for a nonbinding review. SMRC consists of experienced WSLS members from around the state who can provide some guidance and advice. The SMRC's role is primarily educational, it has no enforcement authority. Check their page at Society | Committees | Survey Map Review for Wis Admin Code A-E 7 checklists and a Map Review Request form.

According to Wis Admin Code A-E 8.08 Maintenance of professional standards:

“An architect, landscape architect, professional engineer, designer or land surveyor:
(1) Shall furnish the board with information indicating that any person or firm has violated provisions in ch. 443, Stats., rules in this chapter or other legal standards applicable to the profession.”

If you are uncertain of the severity of the issue or want to provide the surveyor an opportunity to “learn from his/her mistake” before elevating it to a disciplinary action you may enlist the help of the Survey Map Review Committee (for map deficiencies) or the Ethics and Standards of Practice Committee. Refer to their respective pages under Society | Committees for more information.

Surveying's body of knowledge is growing at near exponential rates driven by technology and the needs of more spatial data users with higher accuracy and timelier acquisition requirements. In addition, procedures, standards, and regulations are also changing due to evolving societal and environmental issues. Taken in total, learning "on the job" is a costly and inefficient way to maintain competency, competitiveness, and protect clients' rights.

Continuing education is important on a personal level because it:

  • keeps you current on laws, regulations, permitting requirements, etc.
  • keeps you informed on evolving techniques and standards.
  • refreshes you on standards, rules, and concepts, particularly in areas outside your normal area of practice.
  • provides clients proof that you are continually learning processes and techniques necessary to perform a dependable project, which adds value and security to their property.
  • firms are increasingly using continuing education participation for hiring and promotion purposes.
  • provides opportunities to network with firms and other professionals.
  • shows you are a professional because you are continually improving yourself.

The overall profession benefits from individual continuing education efforts because

  • it provides a multi-perspective environment within which ethical questions or concerns can be discussed, both for the surveyor and the client.
  • regularly attended events promote new ideas and fellowship.
  • it can bring together individuals who as a group can work on issues affecting the profession.
  • it helps elevate the profession in the eyes of clients and society.

As professionals, we should never stop learning. Continuing education is more than just a requirement to maintain licensure: it's an essential element of professional growth. 

A Professional Land Surveyor (PLS) is suveyor who has a state regulated license necessary for conducting Property Surveys in Wisconsin. Each state has its own laws regulating the surveying profession but all require a license to perform Property Surveys. A licensee must understand federal and state laws affecting boundary creation and re-establishment. To obtain a license requires specific combination of education, experience, and examination.

A Certified Survey Technician (CST) is a national multi-level certification offered by the National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS). It is based on demonstrated technical competency. It does not authorize the certificate holder to perform Property Surveys. Generally CST is for field and office technicians who provide support for a PLS.

Collective voices are are generally more powerful than singular ones. Membership supports WSLS legislative and continuing education activities.

Specific individual benefits include:

Publications, sponsored seminars, and Annual Institute discounts

Subscription to the Wisconsin Professional Surveyor, the Society's award winning quarterly newsletter.

UPS Shipping discounts

Joinng WSLS includes membership in the National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS), the national voice of Surveying. NSPS memebership has its own benefits (link) including extensive liability, E&O, equipment, and vehicle insurance coverages for businesses. 

The Wis State Cartographer's Office website has a page devoted to the State and County Coordinate Systems at http://www.sco.wisc.edu/coordinate-reference-systems/coordinate-reference-systems.html. Included is information on the original Wis County Coordinate Systems (WCCS), updated Wis Coordinate Reference Systems (WisCRS), as well as State Plane, UTM, and WTM systems.

An excellent source of control information is the Wis State Cartographer's Office's ControlFinder (http://www.sco.wisc.edu/controlfinder/controlfinder.html). This is an online graphical interface to NGS, WisDOT Height Modernization, County, WISCORS, NGSCORS, and historic USGS control information. It provides various ways to search for control and in most cases provides direct links to the control information at the respective agency.

Member questions about Society services.

Send an email to info@wsls.org and update your Find A Surveyor profile.

Go to Society | Committees and click the Annual Institute Planning Committee link. There you'll find contact information along with a Institute Suggestions form.

If you're interested in a particular Committee, contact its Chairperson. Each Committee has its own page located at Society | Committees. The pages describe Committee responsibilities and activities and have Chairperson contact information.

Go to Society | Committees and click the TrigStar Committee link for contact information

Go to Society | Committees and click the Outreach Committee link.

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