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The Pincushion Effect: The Multiple Monument Dilemma in American Land Surveying
American land surveying has a dilemma; it’s called the “pincushion corner.” This is a name used to describe the phenomena of multiple boundary monuments being set by land surveyors when only one boundary corner exists under legal contemplation. Property law and the law of boundaries demand that an existing monument that has already been placed to represent a property corner be honored by all following land surveyors. In this way a land surveyor is either an original surveyor establishing boundary lines and corners for the very first time, or the land surveyor is a following surveyor whose only duty is to “follow in the footsteps” of those who went before. Nevertheless, surveyors routinely ignore this core principle and the pincushion corner is a direct result. Many surveyors do not see the pincushion corner as a problem. They see multiple monuments at a corner as just a difference of opinion. However, the pincushion corner has not gone unnoticed by the legal profession, real estate professionals and the landowning general public. It is now common knowledge in these circles that no two land surveyors can agree on the location of any given property corner. The pincushion corner is physical proof of that notion. Not only is the pincushion corner becoming a public relations disaster for the land surveying profession, it is causing those who might otherwise consider commissioning a survey of property to decide otherwise. And herein lies the dilemma; no one wants to hire the surveyor because of the way land surveying is practiced, the pincushion being emblematic of that practice. This book explores the full effect of the pincushion corner by exploring how the phenomena started and why it exists, and explores remedies to end the practices that allow the pincushion corner not only to exist, but to flourish.