Locating a Property Line

Locating your property line can be challenging.  Typically when a lot is originally drawn out, platted, or subdivided, surveyors will place iron or steel “pins” in each of the property corners. Property pins are often made of re-bar or they can be iron or steel pipes a little less than 1″ in diameter. The ends of these rods may stick out of the ground a little, but they are often just below the soil.  They mark the true corners of your lot. However, over time, these pins can go missing, making it much more difficult to locate your property line. If this has happened, the only sure way to determine the location is hire a licensed surveyor to resurvey the land. Before you take that step, here are a few helpful hints to help you locate your property pins:

  • Use the Champaign County Online Mapping Tool to overlay the an aerial image with the property lines.  This will give you a better understanding of the layout and dimensions of your lot.
  • Typically, the front property line is located about 1-foot towards your house from your sidewalk (if you have a sidewalk).
  • Sometimes if a small part of the pin extends above the dirt, it can be located by raking the area vigorously. A metal rake will make a louder sound when it hits the metal pin, but a plastic rake will remove thatch under your grass to help you better see a pin.
  • You can GENTLY use a sharp garden spade to probe beneath the surface of the ground until you hit a pin. Be cautious, gas lines and electrical conduit pipes are also buried underground, you do not want to damage one of these utilities.
  • You can try to use a metal detector to locate pins that have been driven deeper into the ground.
  • Over time, one or more of your pins may have been removed by a construction or landscaping project, but there is a good chance that at least one or two of the pins are still in place.
  • Try to locate at least one pin and then use the dimensions of your lot from the Champaign County GIS Consortium Online Mapping Tool to establish general locations for the remaining pins.

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