Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Track Your Maps Status Online

Have you submitted a map and want to know its status?  Maybe your client wants to keep tabs on the status of their map.  Did you forget whether you submitted a particular map?

The answers to all of these questions are now available online and this post will walk you through the steps.

For this step by step, we'll use the permit number that our system has assigned to a Record of Survey.  This number can be found in the lower right corner of most plan checks performed by the Public Works Surveying and Map Checking group.  Don't have the number...don't worry, the system also lets you search by parcel number and address.

Let's get started by getting to the County's Planning and Building Online permit tracker (click to launch or use the following link):

On the screen shown above click "Active Permit / Project Center"

From the "Public Works" tab at the top, enter the permit number assigned to your map in the "Permit Number" field and click the "Search" button at the bottom.

The screen above will appear when a valid DPW permit number is entered showing some key information about that permit.  For more details click on the "Print/View Summary" button.

Enter the same DPW permit number in the "Case Number" field and click the "Submit" button.

This is a more detailed summary of the maps history.  Each time the status of the map changed, there will be a date and a description of what has changed.

The Survey and Map Checking group strives to keep the map status current but a one or two day lag is possible during our busy times.  We highly encourage you and your clients to use this when checking the status of a map.  If this system is down for an extended period of time, feel free to contact us (click for Survey and Map Checking Website).

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Great Find in Pescadero

Have you ever been on your way to a survey and had the gut feeling that you're not going to find enough monuments to come up with a good boundary? We've been tasked with providing a map of North Street in Pescadero and after looking through decades old maps and field books from the 60's and 70's it felt like it was going to be tough one.

Could not have been more wrong!

Here is what I'm calling the find of the day.  An old wood hub that was found by LS 3138 to which he added a spike and made it much easier to get with the Schoenstatt metal detector...thank you!

A few of these near the intersection of Pescadero Creek Road:

As long as the animals don't charge us, we'll measure it:

Too bad it's pointed the wrong way but gives us the confidence our calculations are pretty good:

We'll even take just the shank of the nail:

Not much found on the surface but that doesn't stop us.

Here is probably the second best find of the day; an old nail in the centerline of Stage Road in the bridge over the creek.  The old records indicate one on each end but we only found the Southerly nail.

Many more here (Google Album) and a map will follow soon.

Monday, October 27, 2014

ArcGIS Online - Mobile Access to Survey Data

This post will continue the discussion about ArcGIS online and mobile access to the online maps.  There are two ways to access the maps: via the mobile app or by connecting directly to the website via your mobile browser.

The App:
There are three mobile applications that I'm aware of.  There are in depth descriptions available at their website and at the app store but for now, I'll focus on the "ArcGIS" application.

The "ArcGIS" application is a great bridge from data stored in the GIS space to the physical site.  The application has a "find me" button, a search function for other ArcGIS online maps, measuring tools and a search within the current map function.

Image-Typical screen showing tools.
The "find me" button is shown as a bulls eye in the lower right corner next to the information button.  When the location services is enabled for this app, the map will center on the users location and display all available data in the vicinity.  Panning and zooming will cause the map to refresh.

Searching for other ArcGIS online maps is shown at the top right.

Measuring distances and areas is available through map tools shown as a wrench.

Searching for data on the current map is shown at the top left.

Selecting Data
Once users find their desired area, any symbol that contains data can be selected by a quick tap or tap and hold for a magnifying glass.

Quick data will display in a pop up text box.  Additional information can be accessed by tapping on the " > " symbol in the text box.

Image-Additional information.

Mobile Website Access:
As an alternative to the app, users can access the ArcGIS Online website directly at  Once users find the map they're interested in, the map acts very much like the mobile app version with much of the same functionality.
Image-Mobile version of

Whether users access the information via the app or the mobile version of the website, it is a very powerful tool that is essentially free.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Arc GIS Online - Organizing and Displaying Survey Data

Keeping geographic data organized for any agency can be a full time job all by itself.  In reality though, most agencies have stretched their survey staff very thin and their GIS group is focused on projects with a broader audience than just land surveyors.  After our survey group consulted our in-house tech gurus, the suggestion of ArcGIS Online came up.

We found out that if we tweaked our existing workflow a bit we could not only get better organized internally but also create a space that allowed external users easy access to our data and even customize it.  While the possibilities of what data types can be input are endless, we are only focused on an inventory, if you will, of survey monuments.  We began inputting RTK data to an ArcGIS Online map in the beginning of 2014.  These are locations that we visited in connection with our road project surveys discussed on October 15th.

To access the San Mateo County DPW ArcGIS Online map click here or paste the following link into your browser.

Like most GIS sites, users locate the area of interest and access the data by turning layers on and off or clicking on objects.

Arguably the most powerful feature is the ability to link your map to others.  For example, we thought it would be helpful to link to the NGS ArcGIS Online map to easily locate NGS points and datasheets.  We've also linked to USDOC NOAA control points and the BLM's PLSS layout map.  This means any user that wants to access San Mateo County data will be able to see and access NGS, NOAA and BLM data together.

The description, purpose and user tips, credits (and much more) can be accessed through the maps "About" button or click here (same link as above).

Coming Up...
We'll continue the ArcGIS Online topic in the next post but we'll highlight the mobile access via smartphone or tablet.

Mobile Access Preview Images:

Thursday, October 16, 2014

San Mateo County - Survey Research Resources

Online Resources

Click here to access the online survey and subdivision map website for San Mateo County or paste the following link into your browser:

Use this application to view, download or print survey and subdivision maps.

Description: A survey research themed GIS map that has subdivision and parcel maps, records of survey and corner record layers that can be turned on/off.  The footprint of existing maps are visible when layers are turned on/off.  Step by step instructions here (PDF).

Please also visit the Surveying and Map Checking website for additional online resources.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

San Mateo County - Unincorporated Areas

San Mateo County Department of Public Works Surveys

Public Works projects take our crews all over San Mateo County.  The majority of the survey work revolves around San Mateo County's road network.  The areas shown in green on the image below represent unincorporated San Mateo County.

We will update here with the highlights of our involvement in Public Works projects in unincorporated San Mateo County.