Topographical Map Sources
LESLIE: Now we’re going to take a call from Mike in New York.
Mike, how can we help you?
MIKE: Well, listening to your show and I just wanted to know – I’m looking at a couple pieces of property that I would like to develop and I want to know how I would go about getting a topographical map of the property. Do I need a geological survey or are they available readily?
LESLIE: Well, in doing some research on the internet, there are a lot of websites that you can check out and a really good one is www.Trails.com. And you can get a 14-day trial period to look at the site and you can really zero in on specific parts of the state and get a good idea of what the topographical information is there. And there’s a lot of advanced searches you can do as well to each area. And Tom found a site called Topomaps.com?
TOM: Actually, I found a site that’s put together by the state of New York and that’s one you might want to take a look at and that’s NYSEGov.com. And from there, there’s a link for Map New York which is a page that has all of the counties in the state of New York mapped, so there’s a place that you could check.
But if you’re building, it seems to me that you may have to hire an engineer to topographically map your particular piece of property. Because even though general topographic maps are available online and through mapping services, when you apply for building permits, you normally need to have one that’s certified by a surveyor or an engineer. So you still may need to actually take that step anyway, Mike.
MIKE: So the elevations would be on the maps that I may find but it would have to be certified; although they might be pretty close to accurate.
TOM: Exactly. So if you want to get a ballpark as to what the elevations are and perhaps use that in some of your initial planning, then you could review some of the map resources that are available online. But when it comes to actually building the home, you’re going to need a surveyor or a civil engineer to actually map the site for you, draw the plans, and position the building and where they need to go.
MIKE: That’s wonderful, that’s wonderful. Well, the first thing I just want to do is just get rough elevation.
LESLIE: Yeah, Trails.com is a good one. You can zero in exactly where in New York State you want to be and then there’s a lot of advance searches you can do to figure out exactly what is in that area. And you can do aerial versions, you can do topographically-shaded maps, and you get the 14-day trial period so you don’t have to worry about paying for it. (chuckles)
MIKE: Well, I certainly appreciate your show and thanks for the information.
TOM: You’re very welcome, Mike. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.