Chapter 4: Surveying, Maps, and Parcels


Section 1: Surveying for ROW Acquisition

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Necessity for Correct Property Descriptions

Property descriptions prepared with the intent to convey title to the State must clearly define the location of the property. State law stipulates that any property description prepared with the intent to convey title to the State constitutes a boundary survey, falling under the jurisdiction of the Texas Board of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors (TBPELS).

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Surveying for ROW Acquisition

Before performing any type of field surveying on private property, right of entry must be obtained from each landowner to include a range of dates the services shall be performed.

All surveying necessary for ROW acquisition must be performed under the supervision of a Registered Professional Land Surveyor (RPLS). All surveying must conform to all applicable surveying laws, the Professional Land Surveying Practices Act and the General Rules of Procedures and Practices of the Texas Board of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors.

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Texas Coordinate System of 1983

All projects must be based upon the Texas Coordinate System of 1983 in U.S. Survey feet and be relative to the published values of the National Geodetic Survey (NGS) Continuously Operating Reference Station (CORS) network. The TxDOT Survey Manual is an additional reference about the Texas Coordinate System.

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Elimination of the Requirement for a Traditional Right of Way Map

To better serve the needs of all the stakeholders and to save time and money in the mapping process, the department has implemented an online mapping system linked to its databases.

The following is an excerpt from the “New Requirements for Right of Way Mapping” policy memorandum dated May 3, 2016:

"In an effort to reduce the amount of time to deliver a ROW projects, effective the date of this memorandum, the ROW Division will no longer require the creation or submission of a ROW map sheets (paper and MicroStation files) as a requirement for the 'Authority to Proceed'.

The Right of Way maps as currently used are being replaced by the a web based mapping application known as the “TxDOT Real Property Asset Map” that is available to internal users and the public on ROW Division's webpage.

The two main requirements to start the acquisition process for a project will be an ArcGIS geodatabase populated with parcel features and a signed and sealed Property Description. The geodatabase template and submission standards are presently available on for internal users and Consultants.

Some parts of the acquisition process (title and appraisal) can proceed with only the ArcGIS geodatabase populated with schematic footprint. The final signed and sealed Property Description will be needed in the later stages of acquisition for the title policy, certified appraisal and as part of the deed.

Under the new standards, the ArcGIS geodatabase and Property Descriptions can be submitted as they are completed, instead of waiting for the submission of a complete ROW map."

ROW Project Delivery staff will coordinate with District ROW mapping staff to set the priority of submission of parcels.

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Definition of Right of Way (ROW) Mapping

The definition of the term 'Right of Way Mapping' as used in this chapter is the creation of GIS parcel features for the department's online mapping system (Real Property Asset Map) and signed and sealed property descriptions for each parcel.

The right of way mapping deliverables required in this chapter must be completed and submitted to the ROW Division in the chronological order detailed in Chapter 4, Section 4, Submission and Approval of ROW Mapping.

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