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Section 4: ROW Mapping Requirements

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Information in this section has been excerpted in its entirety and/or adapted and modified by the Standing Committee on Surveying (SCOS) from the TxDOT Right of Way Division’s ROW Manual Volume 1 - Procedures Preliminary to Release.

The TxDOT Right of Way (ROW) Division has published procedures for right of way surveying in its Right of Way Manual Collection. The Volume 1, Procedures Preliminary to Release, contains the updated policies and requirements of ROW surveying for TxDOT. The current requirements for ROW mapping and surveying are available on-line.

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Surveying for ROW Acquisition

Necessity for Correct Property Descriptions. Property descriptions prepared with the intent to convey title to the state must define adequately and clearly 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 Land Surveying (TBPLS).

Surveying for ROW Acquisition. Right of entry must be obtained from each landowner before performing any type of surveying on private property. TxDOT will provide standard right of entry forms that should be signed by each landowner before entry is attempted. A verbal right of entry may be obtained but every attempt shall be made to secure a written right of entry before the survey is completed.

All surveying necessary for ROW acquisition must be performed under the supervision of an RPLS. All surveying must conform to all applicable surveying laws and the Professional Land Surveying Practices Act and must follow the General Rules of Procedures and Practices of the TBPLS. The Texas Society of Professional Land Surveyors Manual of Practice may be used as a guide in determining accuracy requirements and specifications in the preparation of the survey.


Texas State Plane Coordinate System

All projects must be tied to the Texas State Plane Coordinate System and must be located relative to all adjoining projects. The Technology Services Division has a published set of standard electronic graphics seed files with the correct map projection parameters for a particular area of the state.

Metadata, including the state plane zone, combined adjustment factor (CAF), mapping angle (theta angle) horizontal datum and adjustment, and (if CORS stations were used for a GPS tie) the epoch date shall be shown on the title sheet of the ROW map. A control sheet of the ROW map showing survey control stations, coordinate values, and type of adjustment used for the survey may be prepared.

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General ROW Map Requirements

A ROW map is a compilation of engineering data, property descriptions, parcel plats, appraisal information, and improvements related to a transportation project. All ROW maps must be prepared under the supervision of an Registered Professional Land Surveyor (RPLS). Under an agreement between TxDOT and the Texas Board of Professional Land Surveyors (TBPLS), ROW maps are not required to be signed and sealed by an RPLS. ROW maps are recognized as internal engineering plans and asset management documents. ROW maps are not considered to be survey plats.

  • Preparation of ROW maps normally begins after obtaining schematic design approval.
  • During schematic design, the design engineer determines the amount of ROW needed to accommodate the proposed transportation facility.
  • The surveyor is responsible for the boundary analysis of the proposed ROW parcels and preparation of the property descriptions (parcel plats and metes and bounds descriptions), ROW maps, and surveyor’s reports.

All ROW maps are reviewed and approved for technical completeness, compliance with TxDOT guidelines and adherence to the Professional Land Surveyors Practices Act by the district. The ROW Division will conduct an administrative review of all maps and advise the district of any deficiencies found. Sample ROW map sheets and title sheets are available as guides for preparing maps.

All ROW map sheets for a project must be uniform in size, form and arrangement. The uniformity must conform to TxDOT standards and guidelines and include similar font styles and sizes for each map sheet, as well as a neat and legible arrangement of data on each sheet. The entire ROW map will be bound by the left margin of each sheet.

All ROW projects are authorized by the Texas Transportation Commission and include defined limits. If the Commission authorization for a project does not cover continuous procurement of new ROW, then the map must show both existing and new ROW.

All sheets will consist of double matte, 4-mil Mylar sheets measuring 22 inches by 34 inches. The border shall be positioned ½ inch from the top, bottom, and right edge, and 2 inches from the left edge of the sheet.

Sufficient topography shall be reflected on either side of the centerline of the highway to show the required ROW parcel and the parent tract of land from which the parcel is to be acquired or a distance of 600 feet, whichever is lesser. Details of all improvements bisected by or within 50 feet of the ROW line not reflected on topographic information furnished by the state shall be shown on the drawings.

All utility easements within or crossing the proposed ROW shall be shown or identified. Proposed roadway planimetric details shall be shaded and shown on each plan sheet.

The surveys, along with their abstract numbers, shall be shown and identified throughout the entire project. Portions of existing subdivisions along the route shall be shown to clearly and accurately reflect the required ROW parcels. The name of the subdivision and intersecting streets, together with lot and block numbers, shall be appropriately shown on the drawing. Each tract of land required for highway ROW purposes shall be identified by a parcel number, by ownership, by amount of required land (in acres for rural land and in square feet for urban land), and the approximate amount remaining in the parent tract of land.

ROW maps may contain the following sheets:

  • Title Sheet.
  • Parcel Index Sheet - Shows an overall view of project parcels and plan sheets. This sheet may be omitted if all applicable data can be placed on individual map sheets.
  • Control Sheet - Shows an overall view of the project and the relationship of monumentation and control. Alternatively, this information may be included on the Parcel Index sheet.
  • Plan Sheets.

For additional references for preparation of ROW maps and general surveying, see the following publications:

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TxDOT ROW Manual Vol. 1- Procedures Preliminary to Release

TxDOT ROW Division

TSPS Manual of Practice

Texas Society of Professional Surveyors

Professional Land Surveyors Practices Act Rules and Regulations

Texas Board of Professional Land Surveyors

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ROW Parcel Numbering

General Objectives in Parcel Numbering. The methodology of numbering ROW parcels must be correct and consistent to avoid problems in the appraisal process or with record maintenance through the ROW information system. Anyone preparing ROW maps must communicate regularly with the district for uniformity of methodology.

There are specifics of parcel numbering which may be unknown by surveyors or district design engineers. For example, on an urban project one or more contiguous properties may be under common ownership. If the preliminary data shows contiguous properties have a unity of use, then two or more properties may be combined into one marketable unit having one parcel number.

If the appraisal data shows contiguous ownership, but the properties do not have unity of use, then assign each property a separate parcel number, and compute a separate value for each.

Rural projects are usually handled the same as urban projects, with the focus being placed on the parent tract. A parent tract is simply defined as a single property not divided by a public way or platted as a subdivision.

However, a parent tract may be defined by several smaller purchases that comprise one large tract of land under a single ownership. If an undivided tract has common ownership but discrete land uses, then each land use area must be partitioned into separate parcels with a unique number. Parcel numbering does not necessarily have a one-to-one correspondence to property boundaries.

In addition, one parcel may be composed of more than one part. For additional guidance, see the examples in Table 5.3 Parcel Numbering System of this chapter.

Usually, properties divided by existing public ways or by separate ownership are considered separate parcels, although they may have common ownership. However, sometimes the unity of use supports combining parcels. In this case, assign the whole property one parcel number, with each divided property being an associated part.

TxDOT uses the term “parcel” to denote a real property acquired by the state, whether through purchase, donation, or exchange. In the event TxDOT sells or exchanges state land, the term “tract” is used to describe the land unit. The terms should not be used interchangeably. Careful use of these definitions allows the instant identification of the ownership of a property adjoining a state ROW.

Standard Numbering System for ROW Parcels. Number ROW parcels from left to right on each ROW map sheet, based on ownership and land use data available when the preliminary map is prepared. Parcel numbering should begin with number 1 and continue in sequence throughout the limits of the project.

If practical, the stationing should increase from south to north and west to east; or, it should match stationing on the schematic.

This system is typically easier to use on rural projects than on urban projects, because rural parcels are often comprised mainly of larger tracts having the same ownership for many years.

Variation of the number sequencing is sometimes acceptable due to hardship acquisitions or protective buying.

The following are examples and explanations to clarify the standard parcel numbering system and are also found in the TxDOT ROW Manual Volume 1 - Procedures Preliminary to Release. Figure numbers in this manual differ slightly from the above ROW manual.

NOTE: Links to figures 5-1 through 5-11 are provided on page 5-19 in this section.

Anchor: #i1013003Table 5.3 Parcel Numbering System


Parcel No.



1, 3, 4, etc.

Normal parcel numbers. See Figures 5-1, 5-3, 5-4, 5-5, and 5-7.



Usual outfall or channel easement. Easements of this type are located outside of actual ROW and differ from ROW easements sometimes acquired on County/City acquisition projects which are shown as normal ROW parcels. See Figure 5-2.


2-Part 1

Part 2

One parcel composed of two parts. Both parts will be included in a single appraisal report, only one value will show on value forms, and only one deed and one title policy or title certificate is to be obtained. See Figure 5-6.


3(E)-Part 1

Part 2

Two channel or outfall easements from one tract. Same as Example 3 except that a channel or outfall easement is involved rather than a ROW parcel. See Figure 5-3.




Normal parcel with one outfall or channel easement. See Figure 5-1.



3(E)-Part 1

Part 2

Normal parcel with two channel or outfall easements. Each appraiser will make one report setting out separate values for the ROW parcel and the easements. Values for both easements will be combined into one value on value forms. One deed and one title policy or title certificate will be obtained for the ROW parcel and only one instrument of conveyance and one title policy or title certificate (State Acquisition Projects) will be secured for the channel easements. See Figure 5-3.




Normal Parcel No. 2 divided into two parcels. Could be caused by error in original numbering or due to part of original parcel having been sold since ROW map was prepared. See Figure 5-8. The original Parcel No. 2 cannot be used alone again.




Usual outfall or channel easement divided when parcel as in Example 6 is divided. See Figure 5-8.





2B(E)-Part 1

Part 2

Parcel divided with one easement with one parcel and two easements with second parcel. See Figure 5-9.


26-Part 1

Part 2

Figure 5-10 shows parent tract in two counties and two projects with one parcel number divided into parts. Only one appraisal but has division of values. This is applicable to both state and LPA acquisition projects and also to a combination involving both state and LPA acquisition on a project.



Crossings held in joint use with a railroad (operating a railroad ROW) by joint use agreements, license, or permit should be numbered in the same manner as a regular parcel of land with the addition of the designator “RR” (e.g., parcel 1RR). To be used for crossings only.



Joint Use Agreement - Joint use of TxDOT right of way with others.



Wetlands - used for property that is acquired for wetland mitigation.



Overlooked Improvement - Used when a parcel has been acquired and an overlooked improvement (e.g., private water, water well, root cellar, etc.) is found on the parcel that still needs to be removed.



Temporary easements acquired through the normal acquisition process.



Mitigation: Environmental mitigation, except wetlands.



Access rights only. NO ROW TO BE ACQUIRED! See Figure 5-11.



Outdoor Advertising Sign Only - NO LAND ACQUISITION!



Advance Acquisition Parcel - Acquired in advance of ROW project release.


Tract 4UR

An uneconomic remainder parcel.



A number assigned to uniquely identify a utility facility; does not involve land.

Land taken for widening projects that adjoin existing parcels are best numbered with the original parcel numbers but with an alphabetic letter added after the number.

Sample figures are available from the TxDOT ROW ftp site:

Figure #

Sample Name with Link

Figure 5-1

ROW Parcel Numbering Convention


Figure 5-2

ROW Parcel Numbering Convention


Figure 5-3

ROW Parcel Numbering Convention


Figure 5-4

ROW Parcel Numbering Convention


Figure 5-5

ROW Parcel Numbering Convention


Figure 5-6

ROW Parcel Numbering Convention


Figure 5-7

ROW Parcel Numbering Convention


Figure 5-8

ROW Parcel Numbering Convention


Figure 5-9

ROW Parcel Numbering Convention


Figure 5-10

ROW Parcel Numbering Convention


Figure 5-11

ROW Parcel Numbering Convention


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