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Office of Planning, Environment, & Realty (HEP)

AASHTO 2006 Clearinghouse Report

Qualifications of Right Of Way Plans Section Management And Related Questions

The Arizona Department of Transportation requested a survey of the other states regarding:

  1. Does your agency require the production of Right of Way (R/W) plans for land acquisition
  2. If so, what is the name of the Department or Section that is responsible for this
  3. Are the R/W plans produced by in-house staff or by outside consultant Survey/Engineering firms?
  4. Are the R/W plans based on current field survey information, or only record information?
  5. Are the R/W plans required to be sealed by a registered land surveyor (RLS)?
  6. Is the R/W Plans Manager or equivalent individual (the position) who oversees the production of the R/W plans required to be an RLS?
  7. What are the significant and/or unique qualifications and/or credentials that are required of the Manager position?
  8. What is the median salary of the position?
  9. Does the position have to be held by a full-time employee of the agency or can it be held by a contract employee (employed by a consulting firm, but assigned to work only for the agency on a full-time basis)?


  1. Yes.
  2. The Right of Way Bureau.
  3. Both, some are produced in house and some by consultants.
  4. Current field survey information.
  5. No.
  6. No.
  7. Must qualify for ALDOT's Transportation Manager classification and should have experience in highway design with surveying experience desirable.
  8. $1,891.80 to $2,881.80 byweekly.
  9. Full time employee of ALDOT.


  1. Yes.
  2. Engineering Section, Right of Way Division.
  3. Both (Approximately 90% in-house).
  4. Both.
  5. No.
  6. No.
  7. Proficient in Right of Way and Surveys and knowledgeable in Highway Design.
  8. $68, 000 +/-.
  9. Full-time employee.


  1. Yes.
  2. Right-of-Way.
  3. Both.
  4. Both.
  5. Yes.
  6. Yes.
  7. Licensed by the Colorado State Board as a Professional Land surveyor.
  8. What is the median salary of the position? $65,000 annual.
  9. Full-time employee of the agency.


  1. Yes.
  2. Design.
  3. Both - mostly consultant.
  4. Field survey.
  5. No. In Delaware engineer's signature on plans has same bearing.
  6. No.
  7. Must hold PE license.
  8. $77,000-$92,000.
  9. Can be held by consultant.


  1. Yes, this is an agency requirement, not a statutory requirement in Illinois.
  2. Land Acquisition, Plats and Plans Section.
  3. The R/W plans are produced by both in-house staff and outside consultants.
  4. Illinois DOT R/W plans are based on current field survey information.
  5. The R/W plans are not sealed. We are required by statute to prepare R/W plats that are signed, sealed and recorded in the county in which the parcel is located.
  6. The Plats and Plans Chief is required to be a PLS, Registered Professional Land Surveyor.
  7. The Plats and Plans Chief's responsibilities include:
    • Plans, coordinates, directs and supervises all right-of-way design activities to prepare plans, plats, legal descriptions and related documents necessary for the acquisition of right of way.
    • Reviews all work to ensure its completeness and accurateness and that it meets scheduling dates.
    • Signs and seals all plats developed by the Department.
    • Ensures that all work by staff and consultants is accurate and in conformance with standard specifications, policies and professional engineering practices.
    • Prepares FHWA authorization and agreement submittals.
    • Directs the research of ownership and title records, and maintains permanent library of all warranty deeds, easements and title policies.
    • Trains and evaluates staff.
  8. $5165 per month (bracket is $3650 - $6680).
  9. At present we have full time employees in these positions.


  1. Yes.
  2. Location and Survey Section.
  3. 90% produced by contracted consultants.
  4. Acquisition maps are based upon both current property surveys and property title abstracts.
  5. Yes.
  6. Yes.
  7. Possession of a current Louisiana license to practice professional surveying plus minimum of 6 years professional land surveying experience including 2 years at the managerial level.
  8. Medial salary $72,528 yearly.
  9. Position held by the Location and Survey Administrator, a full time employee of the La. DOTD.


  1. Yes, they are called R/W Plats and are a separate drawing from the construction plans. Since the early 70's all plats produced by and for MDOT State Highway Administration must be Metes & Bounds Plats with all Property lines set by field surveys.
  2. The name is The Plats and Surveys Division.
  3. They are produced by both. The Plats and Surveys Division has several (20+) open end consultant contracts that produce approximately 75% of plats and survey work.
  4. In most cases new Metes and Bounds R/W Plats are based on current Metes and Bounds and Topographic field surveys, but there are times when we do use Old M & B Surveys. The RLS must OK this.
  5. Yes, all MDOT Plats are signed and sealed by a Maryland RLS (in-house and consultant).
  6. Yes, this manager is called the Assistant Chief of the Plats Section.
  7. The Manager in the Plats section is called the Assistant Division Chief. He must be a Professional Land Surveyor or Property Line Surveyor registered in the State of Maryland. He oversees, directs, and manages the operation of the Plats Section. He signs and seals all in-house plats.
  8. $65,000.
  9. Yes, this position is held by a full time state employee.


  1. Yes.
  2. Design.
  3. Both.
  4. Both.
  5. No.
  6. An engineer (project manager) oversees the plans. The surveyor supplies information added to the plans.
  7. Unknown.
  8. Unknown.
  9. Full-time.


  1. While both the existing and proposed R/W are shown (to an informational level of accuracy) on the Construction Plans, Mn/DOT does not produce separate R/W plans. However, we do produce a number of other graphic products used in the R/W Acquisition process. These are described in the Mn/DOT R/W Manual and the Mn/DOT Surveying and Mapping Manual (available online at These products, with the exception of the Final R/W Map, are produced by the Districts, with the Central Office's Office of Land Management providing policy direction and oversight. They include:

    Property Base Map – produced by District Surveys, this is a map depicting the existing R/W, adjoining property boundaries, and other land interests (easements, etc.) that exist within the project area. It is built upon the Photogrammetric Base Map and used to produce the Authorization Map, and R/W Work Map, described below.

    Authorization Map – produced by District R/W, this map consists of placing the proposed R/W acquisitions on the Property Base Map. It is circulated to various functional areas within the District to inform them of the intended project and obtain approval for the proposed takings.

    R/W Work Map – produced by District R/W once they have obtained the Construction Limits from District Design, this map consists of placing the proposed R/W acquisitions on the property Base Map. Unlike the Authorization Map, the Work Map identifies the boundaries of each individual parcel, as well as providing detailed information for computing and staking the proposed taking. It serves as a guide to the creation of the R/W Acquisition Plat.

    R/W Acquisition Plat – produced by either District Surveys or District R/W utilizing information from the Property Base Map and R/W Base Map. The R/W Plat is filed for record and used for reference when writing descriptions for R/W acquisition. The R/W Plat contents are dictated by State Statute and Mn/DOT policy.

    Graphic Commissioner's Orders – Minnesota Statutes require that the Commissioner of Transportation must issue "orders" establishing the "definite location" of each highway (to include the R/W). These orders may take the form of a map or plat. When R/W is acquired through plat reference, the R/W Acquisition plat serves as the order. When R/W is acquired by narrative description, rather than by plat reference, the Commissioner's order may be either narrative or graphic.

    Parcel Sketch – produced by District R/W, the parcel sketch is a graphic depiction of each individual parcel and is used to show the affected property owner the extent of the proposed taking involving his property.

    Final R/W Map – produced by the CO OLM Final R/W Mapping and LIS Unit, these are graphic depictions of Mn/DOT R/W holdings and serve primarily as a guide to the necessary documentation to accurately determine and locate the R/W on the ground.

  2. As described above, most of these products are produced in one of the eight Districts, either by the Surveys or R/W staff. As each District is task organized for their unique situation, the Survey and/or R/W personnel involved may report to their own unit supervisor, a designated Land Management supervisor, or to some other functional area supervisor (not necessarily the same supervisor for both Surveys and R/W). The Final R/W Maps are produced by the Final R/W Mapping and LIS Unit of the Surveying and Mapping Section in the Office of Land Management in the Central Office.

  3. Depending upon staffing and workload, Mn/DOT uses a combination of in-house staff and consultants to produce the various products described above.

  4. The Property Base Map, from which most of the other products described above derive, is based upon analysis of the record, as well as occupation and monumentation information gathered in the field. Additionally, the R/W Acquisition Plat boundaries are monumented in the field and any PLSS corners referenced by them (the plats are tied to the PLSS) must have a Certificate of Location of Government Corner filed with the appropriate County.

  5. By statute, the R/W Acquisition Plat must be signed/certified by a licensed land surveyor, as well as the Certificate of Location of Government Corner.

  6. Mn/DOT requires that the Property Base Map be produced under the supervision of a licensed land surveyor, whether produced in-house or by a consultant. The R/W Plats and Certificates of Location of Government Corner must be created under the supervision of a licensed land surveyor. Each District has at least one licensed land surveyor on staff to supervise the in-house work and to provide oversight for that work being done by consultants. In the Surveying and Mapping Section of the Office of Land Management in the Central Office, licensed land surveyors supervise the Platting, Legal Descriptions and Commissioner's Orders, and Final R/W Mapping and LIS Units.

  7. Strictly speaking, the "Manager," is the Assistant District Engineer (ADE) to whom the District Surveys and R/W Units report. At the District Surveys and R/W level, the unit heads are "Supervisors," not "Managers." At the "Supervisor" level, the individual is usually either a Professional Engineer or a Licensed Land Surveyor, although there have been other classifications (Real Estate Agent, Planner) in these positions from time to time. Again, there must be a licensed land surveyor in charge of the R/W Platting and Property Base Map work, though not necessarily the other products identified in response to Question 1 above.

  8. The District R/W and/or Survey supervisors are either at the Senior or Principal level (Engineer or Surveyor). The following is the pay range for these positions. This does not reflect a just negotiated pay raise that averages about 2%.
    Engineer/Land Surveyor, Senior $46,375 - $65,897
    Engineer/Land Surveyor, Principal $49,945 - $73,623

  9. As stated previously, while work may be farmed out to consultants, each District maintains at least one staff licensed land surveyor to oversee the consultant's work.


  1. Yes.
  2. R/W Design and Plans. The Five Districts also prepare plans as well as Consultants.
  3. Both.
  4. Current Field Survey and Cadastral Information.
  5. No.
  6. No.
  7. Knowledge of Survey rules and regulations, R/W Design criteria, Ability to deliver projects per schedule.
  8. I believe it is $32.55/hr.
  9. Full Time Employee.


  1. Yes.
  2. The Right of Way Design Section of the Right of Way Division.
  3. Both.
  4. Both.
  5. In Nebraska, plans are required to be sealed by a Professional Engineer.
  6. P.E.
  7. P.E.
  8. Don't know but salary of incumbent is $66,500 per year.
  9. Full time employee.


  1. Yes.
  2. Our Division of Design is responsible for the production of In-House ROW Plans. The Division of ROW monitors (reviews) both the In-House ROW Projects and the consultant designed ROW projects.
  3. Both.
  4. Both, however, they are not based on property surveys.
  5. They are required to be signed and sealed by a professional Licensed Land Surveyor (LLS).
  6. No for the In-House ROW projects. However, consultant designed ROW projects must be signed & sealed by an LLS.
  7. None for the In-House projects other than a four year Engineering degree. The NJDOT prefers a PE but to my knowledge this is not a requirement.
  8. I believe that the title Manager 2 is between $75,000 - $90,000 right now.


North Dakota's response to survey questions regarding the qualifications of Right of Way Plans Section Management is shown as follows:

  1. Yes.
  2. DeLane Meier
    Survey & Photogrammetry Section
    Design Division
    Phone No. 701-328-2640
  3. Both.
  4. Both.
  5. Yes.
  6. Yes.
  7. RLS, 2 years college, more than 3 years working on right of way plats and descriptions, special knowledge in survey, CADD & legal description writing.
  8. $3,300.
  9. Yes - full time position.


  1. YES.
  2. Road Design and Right-of-Way Office.
  3. In-house staff.
  4. Current field survey information.
  5. Not when done in-house. By statute the State of South Dakota produced plats for land acquisition do not need to be sealed. However, we seal them with a RLS anyway - it is better for the surveying community and public.
  6. No. However, the person that signs the plats must be an RLS.
  7. That is a long question to answer. Must have knowledge of surveying practices, legal requirements, Federal regulations, State regulations, management skills etc...
  8. Good question. Since I am not sure if you are talking about the person responsible for plats or the manager I will refrain from an answer. Also, there is only one person in either of these positions so there is not an average or median salary.
  9. Ours is held by a full-time employee.


  1. Yes.
  2. Map, Survey, & Utility Section of the ROW Division performs administrative reviews and the Districts are responsible for the production.
  3. 90-95% by outside consultant.
  4. Current field survey information.
  5. ROW plans are not, but the property descriptions (field notes & plats) which are used to convey title must be signed & sealed by the RPLS.
  6. It is required for the Section Direction of Map, Survey, and Utilities to be a RPLS as part of the job description.
  7. To be registered as a RPLS.
  8. The ability to develop and maintain manuals and guidance for the department on surveying and mapping to serve as a liaison to other state agencies to assist in the resolution of boundary conflicts.
  9. Not answered by TXDOT.
  10. Full time employee of the agency.


  1. Yes.
  2. Right of Way Design.
  3. Both.
  4. All physical features are surveyed (Section corners, houses, utilities, fences, etc.) but each property is not surveyed, just plotted from records.
  5. Yes.
  6. The managers of Right of way design are not always an RLS, but they have one or more on their staff. Three of four Region Right of Way managers are and RLS, The other has an RLS on staff.
  7. PE or an RLS.
  8. $70,000.
  9. Full time employees only.


  1. Yes.
  2. VT Agency of Transportation, ROW Section.
  3. Both but those produced by outside consultants must be reviewed and approved by the ROW Section.
  4. Both.
  5. No.
  6. No.
  7. The following are some of the qualifications for this job which is called ROW Chief of Plans and Titles: Supervisory experience. A clear understanding of the entire ROW process. An ability to read and understand technical and ROW plans, survey maps, and other drawings. An excellent knowledge of title searching and documents such as deeds, mortgages, leases, etc. A working knowledge of drafting plans including such things as CADD.
  8. There are 15 steps in the salary range which is approximately $43,000 to $67,000. Step 8 in the range is approximately $55,000.
  9. It must be held by a full-time employee.


  1. Yes, basically all projects where contract plans are developed a companion set of R/W Plans are developed. These R/W Plans emphasize the existing improvements and other issues for appraisal needs. Some cluttering constructions items are removed, i.e. matting.
  2. The designer of the contract plans of the project develops the R/W Plans whether the project is In-House or consultant.
  3. As stated above both in-house and consultants are used and they develop the R/W plans with the contract plans.
  4. Both are used. Boundary surveys of property is NOT performed.
  5. No, our R/W Plans are sealed by a Professional Engineer (PE) only. A surveyor's seal is specifically not placed since it is our position that these are engineering plans showing the DOH acquisition, not the location of property lines.
  6. No.
  7. There are currently two positions for this one in In-House and one in Consultant Review of Engineering Division. The Unit Leader in Consultant Review is a PE currently titled HE-4, which is two levels below the Division Director. The position in In-House is held by a Senior Technician.
  8. The two positions salaries range from mid 40's for the Senior Tech and mid 60's for the Engineer.
  9. A full time employee only of the DOH. Our contract employees are truly consultants. We don't have contract employees working within our operations.


  1. Yes.
  2. The plats are prepared in the regional offices by the Technical Services Section (Plat Unit).
  3. These plats are then sent to the Central Office Technical Services Bureau (Surveying and Mapping Section) for review prior to recording them at the Register of Deeds Office.
  4. The plats are produced by a combination of in-house staff and by consultant engineering firms.
  5. The base map for the plats is based on current field survey information. The location of the US Public Land Survey Corners and any existing property pipes are based upon current field survey information. The location of the property boundary lines are usually determined by recorded information. We do not do a property survey for the parcels that we purchase.
  6. Plats prepared by Wisconsin DOT staff are not required to be signed and sealed by an RLS at this time. We are moving toward the goal of requiring that all in-house plats be signed and sealed by an RLS by year 2010. All plats prepared by consultants are required to be signed by an RLS.
  7. Our Central Office (Surveying and Mapping) staff who review these plats are required to be an RLS. The staff that prepare the plats in our regional offices are not now required to be an RLS. However, the current plan is to require these folks to be an RLS by the year 2010. The supervisory staff who oversees the production of the plats is not required to be an RLS.
  8. The person who manages the plat unit is currently not required to be either an engineer or a registered land surveyor. There are no unique requirements for that supervisory position. In addition, there currently are no unique qualifications required for the plat preparer. Most have learned this by on the job experience.
  9. The plat preparer's salaries do vary considerably. A good average may be $23.00 per hour. The Supervisory position would be about $30.00 per hour.
  10. All of the plat preparers and their managers are full time employees of the Department at this time.
Updated: 10/20/2015
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