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.”