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Will GIS Do Away With the Need For Land Surveys? In a word, no. Geographic Information Systems, along with Global Positioning Systems, are among the marvels of the 21st Century. For example, you may have tried using the satellite images and the locating technology on Google Earth to zoom in on your own property – and to zoom back out to see your tiny presence on this huge planet. The vast quantity of data, the capabilities of processing that data and the instant gratification of the internet have all come together to make that exercise possible. Within a few years, we may be able to use a GPS-enabled wristwatch to find a location that is accurate to within the diameter of a pencil point, and to give you every detail about that point and on what parcel of land it lies.

It is tempting to conclude, therefore, that you will also be able to download an extremely accurate map of your property with the associated GIS data, thus eliminating surveys and costly property line disputes forever. It’s tempting, but untrue. Here's why.

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