The Short Instructions
- Determine how many calls (lines) the deed contains.
- Add more lines to the form if you need them. Empty lines are ignored. You can add up to 30 lines.
- Enter the data, line by line. Each call can have 2 different units of distance, such as '16 poles and 5 feet'.
- If you need a meander, you will have to do it manually for now. "Rotate" your deed so that the first call starts from the top of the meander. The last call should end at the other side of the meander. You may have to draw the meander in by hand between the first and last points.
The Longer Instructions
The first thing to do is examine your deed very carefully. Depending on how long the deed is, you may want to begin with one of two possibilities:
- Type out a transcription of the entire deed. Some people say this helps to get a better overview of what the deed actually says, making it harder to accidentally skip parts. Once you have a transcription, make a copy of the text and pull out the part that describes the shape and boundaries of the parcel. This usually begins with "Beginning at...".
- Alternatively, make a photocopy of the deed itself and then circle or highlight the land description. This way, you won't accidently leave out any of the directions.
Either way, it is imperative to not skip any directions. Your plat will turn out very wrong if you miss even one line.
Once you've identified the directions, you need to abstract them into a list. This usually consists of a direction, a degree, another direction, and a distance. In rarer cases you may see a cardinal direction without the degrees or second direction. In this case, use the 'Due-<direction> menu items.
A small gap where the deed should close is nothing to worry about. Surveyors tools were pretty rustic compared to what we have now. (One book I looked at spoke of how the sun can cause a surveyor's tripod to expand by *millimeters*.) If the gap is large, though, go back and check your work to see if you missed a line.