"The surveyor, having made an evaluation of the evidence, forms an opinion as to where he believes the lines would be located if fully adjudicated in a court of law. The typical modern day surveyor sees himself as an expert evaluator of evidence. He strives to arrive at the same opinion of boundary location regardless of whether he was hired by his client or his client's next door neighbor."1 If only this were true.
Unfortunately, many surveyors (and, from my own observations, possibly the majority of surveyors) do not believe their role to be "expert evaluator of evidence." Instead, they see themselves as "expert measurers," restricting their evaluation of evidence almost exclusively to measurement evidence. And as I have been discussing over the past several installments of this column, many surveyors see their only role as using their expertise in measurements to put deed descriptions on the ground, all other evidence to the contrary notwithstanding. This will generally be a losing position to take when or if the case goes to court. The case-in-chief I will discuss in this article, Dykes v. Arnold,2 is just the latest example of the land surveyor's misunderstanding of boundaries and the surveyor's role in the process--to form "an opinion as to where he believes the lines would be located if fully adjudicated in a court of law."