To my friends on the East Coast and in other areas of the country not influenced by the Public Land Survey System (PLSS)--yes, this is another column about the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM’s) Manual of Surveying Instructions, 2009 edition (2009 Manual). But the general discussion on the rules of evidence is applicable to all land surveyors who deal with property boundaries, no matter the jurisdiction.
When you are trying to prove any given fact, from a who-done-it to the location of a property boundary on the ground, evidence is necessary in order to build a case for or against a proposed outcome. Evidence alone doesn’t prove anything. But when enough evidence is gathered that points to a certain conclusion, then the weight of that evidence tends to prove the matter. This situation leads to several related issues, such as how much evidence is necessary, the relevancy of the evidence, conflicting evidence, and, ultimately, who determines when the evidence proves something to be a fact. Unfortunately, in this short article we will only be able to address the “how much is necessary” question.