How to Find Property Lines

Finding property lines is as easy as pulling up your smartphone or scrolling on your desktop. Property lines are public information available thanks to the zoning department of local municipalities. Getting all this information in one place isn’t difficult if you have the right tool. 

onX uses this information, along with other proprietary data, as the foundation for its house-built Private Lands Layer in onX Hunt. Pulling data from over 3,000 counties in the U.S., our GIS team builds accurate maps that include boundary lines and private landowner information.

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How to Find Property Lines for Free

Knowing the legal boundaries of private property is useful for many reasons. Whether you’re a hunter seeking permission to hunt private property or a landowner who wants to know the lines on your property, there are several free ways to find property lines. 

Anyone can visit their local county record or assessor’s office for a single public map of your street and look over the plats, which are maps drawn to scale that show land divisions. These are typically available for homes built less than 100 years ago. A plat will provide the exact dimensions of your lot and show boundaries in relation to your neighbors. 

You can also track down your deed. Some deeds have a “metes and bounds” survey attached to it, which describes the exact distances and directions from one established point on your property line to the next. But these surveys can be hard to decipher. 

Look for buried pins on the corners of your property. These are steel bars (often capped with plastic) placed by professional surveyors to mark common points. Not all bars are visible; some will require using a metal detector to locate. 

One trick for finding property lines is to look for visual clues. Street lights are typically placed on property lines, and sidewalk cuts and changes are typically right on the boundary line. 

Google Earth is no longer an option for finding property lines. U.S. Parcels Data was discontinued by Google on January 29, 2016.

Posted Private Property Boundary Lines

Finding Legal Property Lines

For purposes of building fences, roads, listing a property with precise acreage, or litigation purposes, it may be necessary to determine legal property lines. In most cases, this will require using a licensed land surveyor. 

The maps and land descriptions created by a land surveyor are usually considered legally binding. A surveyor will produce plats of surveys and describe the property and its boundaries. Remember, most states require the licensure of land surveyors, so it’s important to check your state’s requirements.

Surveying land uses a system based on the Rectangular Survey System (RSS). Another name for the system is the Public Land Survey System (PLSS). The entire country uses this system, which was developed and adopted in 1785. The concept for the system was to divide all land parcels into roughly one-mile sections so a network of meridians and baselines was established. Meridians run north and south, and baselines run east and west. Of course, roads, creeks, rivers, lakes, and tree lines often got in the way, preventing the creation of a perfect rectangular mile. 

Some land surveyors rely on GPS data to gather information and prepare their surveys. Hiring a surveyor will cost anywhere from several hundred to over $1,000 depending on the size of your property. 

How to Find Property Lines with onX Hunt App

Use onX Hunt to Find Property Lines

Over the years, we’ve have heard countless stories from customers who find onX Hunt useful far beyond their fall hunts. Most often, they tell us they pull out the Hunt App on their mobile device and walk a property line as they watch their current position shown as a blue dot. We love hearing stories like this from our customers. It goes to show that onX maps have multiple uses. 

It’s simple to find and navigate property lines online or through the App. Choosing from three different Basemaps built by onX: Satellite, Topo, or Hybrid, users just need to select the Private Lands Layer in the list under My Content. 

The property lines will be displayed with a red outline. Clicking on any private property or landowner name, additional information will be shown that includes the landowner’s contact information, tax address, and the size of the property. Currently, onX Hunt includes over 121 million private properties. This Layer is available to customers who have a Premium or Elite Membership

The same information is available on desktop when logged into your onX Hunt account.

Think you’ve found an error in property lines shown in onX Hunt? Here’s how you can report errors in the App

Remember, property line information within onX is based on third-party data which may contain inaccuracies or change at any time. It does not constitute a legal survey. You are responsible for verifying all information via official records before taking or omitting any actions. Always obey property line postings and use common sense regarding boundaries, roads, and paths. 

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Ryan Newhouse

Though raised hunting squirrels and whitetails in the South, Ryan Newhouse has spent nearly the last two decades chasing Western big game in Montana and writing professionally about his travels and the craft beers he’s consumed along the way. He loves camping, fishing, boating, and teaching his two kids the art of building campfires and playing the ukulele. And yes, he's related to Sewell Newhouse, inventor of the steel animal traps.