Can I Use My Phone to Find My Property Lines?
December 19, 2023
By: Cook Surveying Engineer
can I use my phone for property lines

In an era where smartphones have become essential tools in our daily lives, a common question we encounter at Cook Surveying is: “Can I use my phone to find my property lines?” While technology has advanced significantly, the answer to this question is nuanced. This article explores the capabilities and limitations of using smartphone technology for identifying property lines, and why professional surveying remains critical.

Understanding Smartphone Capabilities in Land Surveying

GPS Functionality in Smartphones

Modern smartphones are equipped with GPS technology, which can provide general location information. Various apps claim to help users identify property lines using this GPS data. While these apps can offer a rough estimate, they are not always accurate. For more on GPS technology in smartphones, visit

Limitations of Smartphone Accuracy

The GPS in smartphones is designed for navigation, not for the precise measurement required in determining property lines. Factors like signal interference, satellite positioning, and the quality of the GPS receiver in the phone can affect accuracy. As such, these devices cannot replace the precision offered by professional land surveying equipment.

Professional Land Surveying: The Gold Standard for Property Lines

Accuracy and Legal Recognition

For legal purposes, such as defining property boundaries for construction, fencing, or resolving disputes, an accurate and legally recognized survey is necessary. Professional land surveyors use specialized equipment, like total stations and GPS units designed for survey-grade accuracy, to provide precise measurements. These are recognized by law and can be used in legal situations. Learn more about professional land surveying services at Cook Surveying’s website

Understanding Local Regulations

Professional surveyors are also knowledgeable about local regulations and requirements. They ensure that surveys comply with local laws, something that smartphone apps cannot guarantee. For detailed information on local land surveying regulations, the National Society of Professional Surveyors offers valuable resources.

When Can You Use a Smartphone for Property Lines?

General Purposes and Preliminary Assessments

For non-legal purposes, like general land assessment or preliminary planning, a smartphone app might be useful. It can give you a basic understanding of your property layout, but it should not be solely relied upon for any decision-making.

Complementing Professional Surveys

Smartphone apps can be used as a complementary tool alongside professional surveys. They can help you understand the surveyor’s findings or provide a quick reference, but they should not replace a professional survey.


While smartphones and GPS apps offer convenience and accessibility, they are not substitutes for professional land surveys when it comes to determining property lines accurately and legally. In matters involving property boundaries, investing in a professional survey conducted by licensed surveyors like those at Cook Surveying is crucial for accuracy, legality, and peace of mind.

Have any questions, give us a call here at Cook Surveying & Associates. (801) 364-4051

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