Public Land Survey Office
The Public Land Survey Office (PLSO) is a section within the Washington State Department of Natural Resources that collects, preserves and indexes land survey records and issues permits for removing survey monuments.
The office helps fulfill the state's responsibility to provide a means to identify and preserve survey points that describe common land boundaries, and maintain a system of permanent reference to boundary monuments.
Established in 1951, the PLSO collects land boundary data — currently more than half a million documents — many of which were privately held by corporations and individuals and not available to the public. Through the Survey Recording Act of 1973, the state legislature authorized the PLSO to collect all surveys. The PLSO also continues to collect pre-1973 property records which are considered "historical" but valuable in establishing new surveys.
The work of the PLSO is not funded by tax dollars and is completely supported by user fees and sales of its data and maps.
Survey Research Online Service (WebXtender)
Now online, at no charge, is a database of more than half a million maps and documents of land boundaries in Washington State dating back to the mid-1800s. We highly recommend that, prior to accessing the database, you:
Sign up using Mail Chimp to get notifications about our services, the DNR Survey Advisory Board and other information important to the land surveying profession.
PLSO Services, Products and Pricing
The following is a list of charges for the Public Land Survey Office (PLSO) products and research services. Please contact the PLSO at 360-902-1190 (toll free 888-902-1190) or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org with your research requests or if you have any questions about our services. You may also visit us in person (there is a public research station available on site) at 801 88th Ave SE, Tumwater, WA 98501 between the hours of 8:00 am to 4:00 pm Monday through Friday.
- There is no charge for the first 15 minutes of staff time research. Any maps or documents recovered will immediately be indexed into WebXtender for you to retrieve. If you are unable to access WebXtender at that time and the images are needed immediately, please let us know and we can email the digital images to you.
- After the complimentary first 15 minutes, research will be billed at a rate of $30/hour (no prorating of the hour) and the cost of copies provided.
- Survey maps = $5/map page (11” x 17”)
- Recoveries, Monument Data Sheets, Land Corner Records = $1/page
- The PLSO no longer researches GLO information
- Certification = $5 each occurrence
- 18” x 24” prints (not necessarily to scale) = $10/map page
Forms, Guidebooks and Manuals for Download
Available here are a number of forms, guidebooks and manuals for download.
- Land Corner Record Form (with instructions)
- What is Required on a Record of Survey?
- Checklist for Survey Maps being recorded
- DNR Requirements for Records of Survey for Leases and Easements
- Washington State Plane Coordinates Refresher Class
- Restoration of Lost Corners and Subdivision of Sections
- Aquatic Land Boundaries in Washington
- Property Descriptions
- Land Survey Legal Reference Manual
- GPS Guidebook
- Surveyor's Guidebook on Relative Accuracy
- Report No. 1 (Revision of Report No. 156) - Surveys, Subdivision and Platting, and Boundaries- Washington State Laws and Judicial Decisions - Municipal Research and Services Center of Washington, July 1972
- Report No. 4 (Revision of Report No. 1) - Surveys, Subdivision and Platting, and Boundaries- Washington State Laws and Judicial Decisions - Municipal Research and Services Center of Washington , May 1977
- National Geodetic Survey (NGS) User Guidelines for Classical Single-Base Real-Time Positioning
- NGS User Guidelines For Classical Real Time GNSS Positioning
- Historical Indexes
State Laws affecting Land Surveying
- Title 58 RCW BOUNDARIES AND PLATS
- Chapter 332-120 WAC SURVEY MONUMENTS – REMOVAL OR DESTRUCTION
- Chapter 332-130 WAC MINIMUM STANDARDS FOR LAND BOUNDARY SURVEYS AND GEODETIC CONTROL SURVEYS AND GUIDELINES FOR THE PREPARATION OF LAND DESCRIPTIONS
- Chapter 332-150 WAC SURVEY, PLAT AND MAP FILING AND RECORDING FEES
- Title 196 WAC DEPT. OF LICENSING BOARD OF REGISTRATION FOR PROFESSIONAL ENGINEERS AND LAND SURVEYORS
- Title 65 RCW RECORDING, REGISTRATION, AND LEGAL PUBLICATION
- Title 64.90 RCW WASHINGTON UNIFORM COMMON INTEREST OWNERSHIP ACT
Removal of Survey Markers
When it becomes obvious that a survey marker must be removed, either temporarily or permanently, the professional surveyor involved must apply to the PLSO prior to beginning any fieldwork. The application must show the proposed method of referencing and/or reestablishing the monument. Under extraordinary circumstances, verbal permission may be granted pending the processing and issuance of the written permit. This permit system provides public record of changes that occur to survey monuments.
Application to Remove or Destroy a Survey Monument (with instructions)
Send new applications and completed report sections to:
Public Land Survey Office
801 88th Ave. SE
Tumwater, WA 98501-7019
or email to: email@example.com
New applications will be processed in a timely manner. A licensed land surveyor applicant is required to stamp, sign and date the application and each additional page. The county engineer or surveyor of the affected county is notified by the Public Land Survey Office (PLSO) of the application at the time of approval. If the monument(s) applied for in the application was set by a government agency (city, county, state or federal), additional processing time may be necessary to get approval from the appropriate agency.
When the stated action is complete, the report section of the application needs to be stamped by a licensed land surveyor, signed, dated and returned to the same address indicated above. Please reference the original application number on the report section. It is recommended the applicant retain a copy. The county engineer or surveyor of the affected county will be notified by the PLSO of the report received, thus closing the application.
If the estimated time of completion is incorrect and an extension is needed, please contact David Icenhower at 360-902-1230 or send an email to request an extension. Be sure to reference the application number.
Specific information on how to complete the application for permit and completion report forms is available by clicking on the "Application to Remove or Destroy a Survey Monument" link, above
Wanted: Historic Land Boundary Records
The Public Land Survey Office is looking for collections of survey records that could hold answers to property boundary questions. If you have information regarding any property boundary documents/land survey records please contact the PLSO at 360-902-1190 or by email. If you are interested in donating or loaning property boundary/land survey records to the PLSO, then please email a completed copy of the Records Intake Form to the PLSO. The PLSO continues to collect maps and data to improve the accuracy and documentation of this information.