ALTA/NSPS land title surveys are utilized to provide information about a particular property to the title company. Then, the title insurance company can issue title insurance without a problem.

ALTA/NSPS land title surveyThe American Land Title Association (ALTA) and the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping (ACSM) came together to create this standard. To help you better understand what an ALTA/NSPS land title survey is, we will take you through it step by step.

The role of title insurance

Before going into details about what an ALTA/NSPS land title survey is, you need to understand how the land tenure system works in the United States, and how the title insurance is involved in the process.

Title insurance is mainly found in the United States and Canada. It exists to insure financial loss which might come from investing your money in a property.

Why do we need title insurance?

Say you are buying a new house. When the house is bought, the transaction is recorded in the respective county where the house or the property is located. When you sign for the documents, it is added to the trail of ownership that has been documented for years. This is when the title company steps in and searches the previous owners’ details to find out if there were any problems with the property or any unpaid bills.

The title company is the trusted third party that ensures a safe transaction while protecting the buyer, seller, or the lender.

After the title search, the company issues a title insurance policy for both the lender and the buyer. This primarily protects the buyer and the lender from any missteps that may have been made in public records regarding the previous ownership.

The title company will then issue assurance regarding your ownership rights. They will also continue to protect the rights of your children or anyone who has the right to inherit or take over your home after you.

History of ALTA/NSPS land title survey

The American Land Title Association (ALTA) and the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping (ACSM) created the land title survey in 1962. This was mainly introduced to provide the requirements of the title insurer. The survey has become a mandatory aspect of commercial transactions and is updated every four to five years.

In this survey, the land surveyor’s responsibilities were mentioned in the “Minimum Standard Detail Requirements for ALTA/ACSM Land Title Surveys.” This survey was later renamed as the ALTA/NSPS (National Society for Professional Surveyors) Land Title Survey.

The purpose of creating such standards combined by two organizations is to survey a property and bring accurate information to the respective title company. After this survey, they can issue the aforementioned title policy.

Who benefits from an ALTA/NSPS land title survey?

The ALTA/NSPS land title survey creates a common standard for everybody. Regardless of the property’s location or the title Insurance company, everybody who is involved in the transaction can be confident moving forward with the transaction.

The surveyors are required to find accurate information and show them to the clients, insurers, and lenders in order to confirm that the property is clear and free from all survey complexities.

What is involved in an ALTA/NSPS land title survey

  1. After the client requests the survey, they are responsible for paying for it.
  1. Surveying Standards and Standards of Care should be properly followed for the survey.
  1. It is the title insurance company’s responsibility to provide the surveyor with evidence of the most recent title commitment.

The surveyor should be informed about recorded easements etc. This records research should be comprehensive and thorough.

  1. The survey commenced with the Fieldwork. This Fieldwork is included with analyzing Monuments, getting information on Rights of Way and Access, learning about any Lines of Possession and Improvements in the boundaries, buildings, finding evidence of any easements or servitude in the particular property, any burial grounds or water features such as ponds, lakes, streams, etc.
  1. There are optional survey responsibilities that can be added after a negotiation between the surveyor and the client. These include underground utilities, contours, elevations, parking space inventory, etc.
  1. Finally, a Plat or a Map is created with all the data that are collected.
  1. The data are presented in a standard engineering scale, with Surveyor information, etc.
  1. Then the title company, lender, buyer, or the client (any involved party) will review the data and comment on them.
  1. The survey should be given the proper certification and delivered to the client and the insurer.

What are the Data shown in an ALTA/NSPS land title survey?

  • Boundary, Dimensions, Descriptions, and Closures are properly indicated in the survey.
  • Enough information such as directional, distance, and curve data to gain a surveyed boundary’s mathematical closure.
  • Information about contiguity, gaps, overlaps, etc.
  • Data on the location, rights of ways, width, easements, encroachments, servitudes, and people who are benefiting from the property.
  • Improvements that would affect the property later.
  • Water features that might affect the property in the long run.


The ALTA/NSPS land title survey is known to be one of the best choices when someone is looking to buy or sell a property avoiding any hidden plots. Because of this, survey standards go to great lengths to collect data about a property. These are said to be more effective than a normal boundary survey.

We understand that property transactions can be a labyrinth. One question leads to three more. We’re here to help. Contact us today for more information regarding land title surveys.