Practical location is one member of a nebulous pantheon of principles (also including acquiescence, agreement, adverse possession and estoppel) by which the courts attempt to fix disputed boundaries on the ground. The original dispute might have been caused by overlapping (or nonexistent) surveys and deeds, or by the inevitable loss of original monumentation over time. One theory holds that practical location may be considered a holdover from a much earlier method of property conveyance, where a potential grantor and grantee would consummate the sale of a parcel by acts on the land itself, rather than by the more modern method of conveyance by writing.
Surveyors deal with the rules of construction each time they read a deed and attempt to walk in the footsteps of the original surveyor. While it would be tempting to refer to these as basic principles, the permutations found among the many jurisdictions that make up the nation seem anything but “basic.”
At recent convention seminars in several states, one of the most contentious issues was the doctrine of merger. In particular, heated debates frequently arise over the necessity of creating a new easement after the original right was extinguished due to the operation of the doctrine of merger. This is a disturbing concept for many. How can an express grant of an easement that is clearly described in a recorded deed be considered void when the dominant and servient estate are presently under separate ownership?
While major flooding is a staple for headlines on the national news, another common flooding problem is less spectacular but may be equally problematic for the property owner and the surveyor. Surface flow water has often been the source of disputes between adjoining property owners.