Guidance on the contents of a cadastral survey dataset (CSD), the information to be included in a survey report and considerations for certifying a CSD.
A cadastral survey dataset (CSD) is defined by the Cadastral Survey Act 2002 (CSA 2002). It means the set of cadastral survey data necessary to integrate a cadastral survey into the cadastre. The Standard for lodgement of cadastral survey datasets (Lodgement Standard) establishes the Chief Executive’s requirements that must be met when lodging a CSD. The Cadastral Survey Rules 2021 (CSR 2021) specify the standards for CSDs. These three documents provide the basis for this guidance and what is required in a CSD.
- Cadastral Survey Act 2002
- Standard for lodgement of cadastral survey datasets - LINZS70000
- Cadastral Survey Rules 2021
Every CSD is required to include specific contents (r 71 and r 117). These contents are captured into Landonline as required by Lodgement Standard 3(a).
In Landonline, the contents are grouped into three components; record of survey, title plan, and other information which combine to form a CSD (refer to Figure 1).
Record of survey
This component holds survey information and is designed for survey users.
The information provides a record of the survey as lodged and certified, and is necessary to enable the accurate re-establishment of boundaries in the future.
This component holds title information and is designed for tenure managers and right-holders.
The information is necessary for the correct management and allocation of rights; to support the resource consent process (before and after lodging with LINZ); and to depict the rights for current and future landowners, right-holders and other interested parties.
This component holds information not required to be part of the record of survey or title plan, but necessary or beneficial for the integration of the CSD into the cadastre and to enable the tenure manager to issue the intended rights. It ensures future users of the CSD (including future surveyors) can see the evidence used by the certifying surveyor when certifying the CSD.
'Other information' will include the mandatory information plus non-mandatory information supporting the CSD.
Mandatory other information in a CSD includes that outlined by rules 71(d) to (f) but may also include other requirements found in the Rules, for example the surveyor’s certification under rule 73.
Non-mandatory information may be included in a CSD, such as traverse sheets, calculation sheets, correspondence printouts or additional diagrams. Where it is included in a CSD, it must be consistent with the other information in the CSD required by the Rules.
Integration of components into a CSD
A supporting document (SUD) is commonly how ‘other information’ is integrated into the CSD. It can be uploaded to Landonline and will bundle depending on its type.
While Landonline information is bundled to support rule compliance, consideration is required. For example, the surveyor’s certification under rule 73 is required by rule 76(g) to be included in the record of survey. However, as the certification is included in the Landonline survey header, the rule is met as the header bundles as part of the record of survey.
In contrast, while a height restriction for an easement can be recorded in a schedule of easements, by itself this will not satisfy rule 97(1)(a) as the schedule does not form part of the title diagram.
Scanned supporting documents
A survey report or schedule/memorandum can be created using the Landonline functionality or produced as a ‘paper’ copy from other software, then scanned, and attached as a supporting document.
A Territorial Authority (TA) Certificate can be created using the Landonline functionality where it can be signed electronically by the TA. Alternatively, a ‘paper’ copy can be produced manually, then signed by the TA, scanned, and attached as a 'Territorial Authority (TA) Certificate' SUD. Neither will bundle in the record of survey or title plan.
Any multi-page documents should be scanned as a 'multi-page' file. This means that all the relevant pages for that supporting document are contained within one SUD. If they are not scanned as a 'multi-page' then each page must be attached individually using the correct supporting document type.
Every CSD must include a record of survey (r 71(a) and r 117(b)).
The details in a record of survey required by rule 71(a) are specified in rules 76 to 91.
The details in a record of survey required by rule 117(b) are specified in rule 119.
For guidance on the simplified record of survey requirements refer to:
Information in a record of survey
A record of survey consists of both diagrammatic and non-diagrammatic information.
The diagrammatic information must be depicted on the survey diagram as required by rules 82 to 91. This information is mostly digitally captured using Landonline functionality to enable its depiction, and to comply with the capture requirements of the Lodgement Standard.
The non-diagrammatic information required by rule 76(b) to (g) and rules 77 to 80 must be digitally captured using Landonline functionality.
The record of survey component must include occupation information (r 81).
If a field note is used to depict occupation, this note should be included in the CSD as an 'occupation diagram' so that it bundles as part of the record of survey.
All occupation must be in a graphical form (r 81(2)). This enables other users to easily interpret the relationship between the occupation and the boundary. If there is no occupation, the graphic must be annotated ‘No Occupation’ against that boundary point (r 81(4)).
CSDs such as unit and cross lease plans use Landonline functionality to capture survey header and parcel intent information, but most of the data will be aspatial information depicted on plan graphics.
Aspatial plan graphics require additional quality assurance procedures as they will not contain the required information that can come from the Landonline plan generation process. An example is the automatically generated page numbering required by rule 76(f).
Where the record of survey information is included aspatially it is attached as a 'Plan graphic' supporting document. Landonline will bundle it as part of the title diagram. The title diagram, in turn, bundles with the record of survey therefore meeting rule 71(a).
When is a title plan required?
Rule 71(b) requires a CSD to include a title plan whenever a new parcel is created. Where a new parcel is not being created, such as a CSD that records only survey information or the placement of a boundary mark, the title plan component is not applicable. Title plan requirements are specified in rules 92 to 96.
A title plan holds title information and is designed for tenure managers (for example the Registrar-General of Land and the Māori Land Court), right-holders, and other users including lawyers and local authorities.
The information is necessary for the correct management and allocation of rights, to support the resource consent process (before and after lodging with LINZ), and to depict the extent and location of rights for current and future landowners, right-holders, and other interested parties.
Information in a title plan
A title plan consists of both diagrammatic and non-diagrammatic information.
The diagrammatic information must be depicted on a title diagram as required by rules 97 to 107.
Non-diagrammatic information requirements are specified in rule 92(b) to (j) and rules 93 to 96.
The requirements of rule 92(b) to (j) are generally met by digital capture of the information using Landonline functionality. The requirements of rules 93 to 96, schedules etc, generally require the inclusion of tables and text in the title plan. Some of which can be created using Landonline functionality or otherwise attached as supporting documents.
Every CSD must include a dataset description (r 71(c) and r 117(c)).
The dataset description required for simple boundary reinstatement CSDs is specified by rules 117(c)(i) and (ii). Rules 71(c)(i) to (iii) specifies what is needed in any other CSD.
While rule 71(c) states the survey purpose and the appellation for the land under survey is only required for land transfer CSDs, including the survey purpose and appellation of the land under survey for survey office plans and Māori land plans, may be suitable in some situations.
- Lots 1 and 2 being a subdivision of Lot 3 DP 456789
- Areas A and B being easements over lease Area C DP 456789
- Restricted Roadway Area A over Rangitira 1B2C Block
- Sections 1 to 3 being a legalisation of Sec 45 Blk VI Gorge SD
For further information on capture and depiction of the dataset description, see:
A CSD is required to contain a survey report (r 71(d) and 117(a)), with the requirements stipulated by rule 72 and 118.
There are two ways that a survey report can be incorporated into the CSD:
- using the Automated Survey Report functionality in Landonline
- attaching an image in Landonline.
The report is added to the CSD as part of the ‘other information’ component.
All relevant field information must be included in the CSD, in a form that ensures permanent useability (r 71(e) and r 117(d)). Note field information is only required where the record of survey includes measurements to a survey mark.
For example, field information is not required for a CSD recording the location of an easement when the dataset type is parcel without survey information (PWSI). However, a record of the utility asset location may be useful in the future, therefore the Rules do not restrict the submission of other data. Also, it may be that an electronic data file recorded observations to topographic or setout features. However, the impact of the additional (topographic) data on the usability of the submission should be considered.
What is Field Information?
Field information consists of entries made at the same time as the facts of a survey are ascertained. It is therefore particularly important as evidence of the survey, as recognised in the Cadastral Survey Act 2002 and by the New Zealand courts.
Historically, relevant information has included the:
- types of equipment used including serial numbers and when it was calibrated
- date(s) of field work
- weather conditions
- field surveyor’s name.
Field information can be more than just traditional field notes and the format will sometimes be different to the scan of a paper field note.
A lot of information is currently recorded electronically, however the traditional principles remain. Field information is the original record of the survey as determined in the field at the time of survey. Thus it has greater evidential value than a subsequent depiction of the record such as in a traverse sheet or plan diagram in which mistakes could have occurred.
What is permanent usability?
The Rules do not specify what format the field information must be in, however it must be available to future users in a form that ensures it is understandable. This is so its relevance to the data captured can be determined.
The field information is useable only when it is possible to identify the relevant information in the submission. Field observations may be named or numbered. The captured CSD and the field information should have consistent naming. Therefore, some cross referencing, or updating of mark names may be required in the field information to ensure relevance. Care would be required to limit the amount of manipulation that is undertaken to preserve the originality of the data. Field information should not be manipulated further, or reproduced, creating ‘office notes’.
Where the information is not a scan of ‘dumb data’ (paper field note) but is in an electronic file, then the information should be attached in a readable PDF format. This will allow the copy and paste of data to support reproduction while minimising errors, and the ability to find (CTRL+F) a relevant entry. Note there is no specific requirement to convert traditional field notes to an electronic format.
Field Information will be submitted as a SUD as part of the ‘other information’ component of a CSD.
The correct Landonline SUD type is: Field Information.
The commencement of the 2021 rules has included a Landonline release supporting new functionality for the supporting document type Field Information. Field Information can include colour, searchable pdf files. Note Landonline has a file size limit of 10Mb. File sizes larger than 10Mb can be compressed using free online software.
An accurate record of the position of a new water boundary must be included in the CSD (r 71(f)). It needs to be in a form that will allow future surveyors to accurately reproduce the water boundary.
This requirement is generally over and above the requirement to provide field information in rule 71(e). Field information is the documentation of the raw observations, while the water boundary record will often be a reduction of the raw data. It may be produced in the office after accounting for any offsets, corrections or supplemented by other data.
While the format of the water boundary record (WBR) is not specified by the Rules, any WBR needs to include the relationship to the data in the CSD.
Possible methods suitable for recording the position of a water boundary include:
- List of radiations from a known point.
- Radiations can be calculated vectors or a record of measured vectors from a known point.
- The known point should be captured in the CSD.
- Coordinate listing which includes 2 points also captured in the CSD.
- Any coordinates should be in terms of the same datum and projection as the CSD and should be represented as northings and eastings.
- Traditional field notes documenting fixes to the water boundary.
- To ensure the observations accurately represent the position, any field fixes may need to be supplemented. For example, corrections to observations or a diagram may need to be included.
- Where manual field notes have been included in the CSD under rule 71(e) and they include suitable information to accurately record the position of a water boundary there is no extra requirement to include a duplicate copy under rule 71(f).
The water boundary fixes should be identified to demonstrate the sequence along the water body. This could be supported by a scale diagram showing the relationship of the fixes and the shape of the water boundary.
Most, if not all, position fixes listed in a WBR do not need to be captured in the CSD. Their main purpose is to enable accurate reproduction of the position and shape of the water boundary in the future.
Virtual fixes created by digitisation or sampling of a remote sensing data source may be suitable if the position and physical feature measured to is readily recognisable in the source.
A point cloud, aerial image or other remote sensing data source by itself will likely not be suitable as a WBR. Any data used from these remote sensing sources will likely need to be simplified to a number of virtual fixes. The density and format of the virtual fixes should be listed in a way that allows future surveyors to readily decipher the data and reliably replicate the boundary.
The WBR can be attached as a ‘Water Boundary Record’ supporting document. There is no specific requirement to convert traditional field notes to electronic format if they meet the requirements of rule 71(f).
However, the commencement of the 2021 rules has included a Landonline release supporting new functionality for the supporting document type Water Boundary Record. Where the WBR is not a scan of ‘dumb data’ (paper field note) but is in an electronic file, then the vectors or coordinates should be attached in a readable PDF format. This format will allow the copy and paste of data to support the water boundary being reproduced while minimising errors. Also, the ability to find (CTRL+F) a relevant entry. Note Landonline has a file size limit of 10Mb. File sizes larger than 10Mb can be compressed using free online software.
While DP 461690 was prepared and certified under the Rules for Cadastral Survey 2010 the supporting document ‘Field Note’ is an example of a WBR that would meet the intention of rule 71(f).
Every Cadastral Survey Dataset (CSD) is required to include a survey report (r 71(d) and 117(a)).
The specific requirements to meet rule 71(d) are found in rule 72. Reduced requirements for simple boundary reinstatement CSDs are provided in rule 118. Survey reports also require an assessment of CSD prevalidation tests as detailed in Lodgement Standard 7.
- Standard for lodgement of cadastral survey datasets - LINZS70000
- Simple boundary reinstatement and CSD requirements
Where information is required, it should provide the right level of detail. The requirements include providing the ‘basis’, ‘details’, ‘reasons’, ‘assessment’, ‘descriptions’ and ‘decisions’ pertaining to the survey. Very high-level or general comments may be adequate on simple surveys but are generally not sufficient. For example, ‘All boundaries and intersections with existing boundaries have been defined by survey’ is likely to not provide enough information. The details help others to follow in the surveyor’s footsteps.
The purpose of the survey
The survey report must include the purpose for which the survey was conducted (r 72(a)).
While Lodgement Standard 4.6(b) requires a survey purpose to be captured in Landonline, the simplified categorised Landonline selection is usually insufficient if copied into the survey report. Further explanation is typically needed. Reference to the enactments relevant to achieving the purpose must also be included where it is not otherwise clear.
For example, “This survey has been carried out for a claim for adverse possession under section 155 of the Land Transfer Act 2017.”
Additional information that assists in identifying the purpose of the survey can also be provided. This could include:
- the relevant underlying plan number if it is not identified by its appellation, for example
- Sec 45 Blk VI Gorge SD as depicted on SO 98765
- Rangitira 2A3B Block (ML 56789)
- recognition of any erosion parcels
- confirmation the CSD includes easements over abutting land
- identification of parcels being vested
- acknowledgment of parcels with height limited boundaries (HLB)
- information relevant to a process that is less common, such as Treaty settlement deeds or legislation, or special Acts of Parliament.
Crown subdivisions - Legal requirements
Unless there is a specific statutory exemption, land owned by the Crown is subject to the same fee simple subdivision requirements and restrictions as privately owned land. A CSD with a survey purpose of 'Crown subdivision' must include either:
- a section 223 Resource Management Act 1991 certification, or
- an explanation as to why that certification is not required.
An appropriate exemption from the requirements of Part X of the Resource Management Act must be explained (r 72(b)).
Further information may be found in section 21 of the Guideline for the deposit of survey plans for the subdivision of land provided by the Registrar-General of Land (RGL).
Basis for determining the orientation of bearings
The basis for determining the orientation of bearings is an important element of the survey report because the Rules do not specifically require the identification of origin marks. Rule 72(c) requires the report to describe how the survey orientation was achieved.
The information could include:
- a description of the method used to orientate the survey in terms of the official geodetic projection. Examples include:
- GNSS orientation (with details of any local site calibration/localisation)
- bearing observations from control marks
- by a traditional three mark origin from existing marks including confirmation that the orientation is in terms of NZGD2000.
- the reasons for not having to be in terms of an official geodetic projection. For example, where the survey does not include field measurements as in the case of new non-primary parcels or where all the boundaries have been adopted or accepted.
Basis for any bearing adjustment
Note the term ‘bearing correction’ as used in the Landonline survey header and vector capture of a CSD means the same as ‘bearing adjustment’ in the CSR 2021.
All bearings on a survey need to be shown relative to a single horizontal orientation (r 16(3)). When adopting information from other surveys a bearing adjustment is sometimes required to achieve this. Rule 72(d) requires the report to describe the basis for its determination, such as how the value was established.
It is useful to explain why an adjustment that has been previously determined and applied by an approved CSD in the location of the survey is not applicable.
Basis for determining the origin of levels
A survey that includes reduced levels must express those levels in terms of a single official vertical datum (r 18(1) and Schedule 5). The datum must be included in the record of survey (r 77(b)), which is achieved by capturing it in the survey header in Landonline. The survey report must include details about the basis for determining the origin of those levels (r 72(e)).
The information could include:
- a description of the method and equipment used to determine the levels are in terms of an official vertical datum
- details of the origin marks used to obtain the reduced levels
- a description of how levels were determined where an unofficial datum is used for an existing unit title development under rule 62.
Conflict is an unresolved difference between boundary information from different sources that is outside of the applicable accuracy standard under rule 27.
For the full definition of ‘conflict’ refer to:
Schedule 2 – Dictionary – ‘conflict’
Rule 72(f) seeks the details of any boundary conflict that has been identified and how this was resolved. If this is included in the section of the survey report on definition, the information does not need to be repeated in a conflict section of the report.
Note where occupation information is considered as evidence to resolve a conflict it should be covered in the reporting. Occupation details will need to be provided in the record of survey (r 81(3)(b)). The end points of the boundary in conflict are required to be defined by survey and ground marked (r 13(d) & 35(2)(a)).
Information on old marks
As undisturbed old boundary marks are the cornerstone of the cadastre, they are high up in the hierarchy of evidence. They and the non-boundary marks that are used to re-establish their positions are fundamental in determining a boundary’s position. Rule 72(g) requires the reasons for not relying on marks found.
With the advancement of digital capture, to ensure the useability of data, rule 80(7) now requires the record of survey whenever possible to identify the details for
- marks searched for but not found
- destroyed marks.
If it is not possible to include this information in the record of survey, then it must be reported on (r 72(h)).
Existing boundaries defined by survey
Rule 72(i) seeks the reasons for, and details of decisions made regarding each existing boundary defined by survey, and the information considered to reach those decisions. Relevant evidence could include whether adjoining titles have been respected, the occupation that has been considered, etc. Ensure that any effects of ground movement are included where applicable.
Rule 6 requires a cadastral surveyor when defining a boundary by survey to gather and interpret all the evidence. Therefore, the reporting under rule 72(i) must include reasons why existing marks that could be relevant to the definition were not searched for. The number of old marks found must be adequate to define the boundaries and the historical practice of including a statement making this assertion is redundant.
Just stating that all boundaries were defined by survey is not sufficient. It gives little insight to future users. In complex cases an attached calculation sheet/diagram may be useful.
Moveable marginal strips
As the result of a government directive in 2007, moveable marginal strips are required to be surveyed and depicted on a CSD at the time when they are created by the disposal of Crown land. Marginal strips are created next to the foreshore and qualifying lakes, rivers, and streams on disposal. The requirements are specified in Part 4A of the Conservation Act 1987 and the Department of Conservation has produced a guideline to help surveyors identify water bodies that qualify. Rule 72(j) requires a description of the method used to determine the existence of any moveable marginal strip included in a CSD.
- Part 4A of the Conservation Act 1987
- Guideline: The Identification of Water Bodies that will qualify for Marginal Strips
A Qualifying Water Body (QWB) report is sometimes prepared in advance of the survey. There is no requirement to include the QWB report in the survey report, but sufficient reporting to satisfy the requirements of rule 72(j) is expected. The survey report may refer to the QWB report, but if the content of the QWB report is relied on to satisfy the requirements of rule 72(j) then the expectation is that the QWB report would be included in the CSD as a supporting document.
Accuracy of any water boundary, water centre-line boundary, or irregular boundary
Rule 29 outlines the accuracy requirements for positioning any water, water centre-line or irregular boundary.
Rule 72(k) requires reporting for new and adopted water, water centre-line or irregular boundaries. Reporting should consider the impact of the factors found in rule 29(2) and how the location and shape was determined.
Reporting under rule 72(k) and consideration under rule 29(2) is not required for accepted boundaries. Accepted boundaries do not have to comply with an accuracy standard, but as they are adopted (r 15(1)), the shape must be faithfully recreated from the source record. The risk of overlapping rights must still be considered under rule 28.
Water boundary movement
Rule 72(l) requires that if the physical margin of a water body is no longer coincident with the adopted water boundary then an explanation about the movement is required.
It is suggested the report outlines the evidence found supporting the determination of:
- Accretion (note whether claimed or unclaimed)
- Avulsion/artificial diversion
- Better survey fix
The report should also include information on the application of the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act 2011 where the mean high water springs (MHWS) adjoins or encroaches into the parcel under survey.
In New Zealand there is a presumption that boundaries are monumented. This supports the hierarchy of evidence when re-establishing a boundary. Landowners are entitled to rely on boundary marks as being the definitive markers of their estate. It is essential that:
- they are placed whenever the boundary is potentially in dispute, and
- when they are placed, they are recognisable.
There are exceptions to this presumption built into the Rules. Rules 35(1)(a) to (e) outline situations where marks are not required. Rule 72(n) requires details to be included in the survey report to support the use of an exemption under rules 35(1)(a) to (e).
Other than the exemptions in rule 35(1), there may be other situations where it is not practicable to mark a point. If it is impracticable to mark a boundary point in terms of rule 35 then rule 72(m) requires reporting of the reasons why. The Landonline mark condition field must also be set to ‘impracticable to mark’ to meet the requirements of rule 80(6).
Points identified by rules 35(1) & (2) that are not marked will still need occupation information (r 81(3)).
Meaning of the term 'practicable'
In terms of rule 35(1) & (2), practicable means it is reasonably possible in practice to achieve the requirement. This generally includes circumstances where ground marking is difficult or inconvenient.
Rule 72(o) requires reporting on the type of equipment and methods used to ensure compliance with the accuracy standards. While listing the equipment is useful, understanding the methods used to undertake the measurements is vital to allow others to follow in the surveyor’s footprints.
The equipment type for all measured vectors is also required to be captured in Landonline (r 78(d) and Lodgement Standard 4.2(b)).
Guidance on the reporting requirements for the accuracy and movement of water boundaries is discussed above (r 72(k) and (l) respectively). If not covered elsewhere in the report, rule 72(o) requires reporting on the equipment and methods used to establish a water boundaries position.
Prior correspondence with LINZ
The survey report must include reference to any prior correspondence with LINZ on issues relevant to the application of the Rules (r 72(p)). Examples include reference to a survey dispensation, correspondence with the RGL, or advice on a survey information complex request. Whenever applicable, the LINZ reference number should be included in the reporting.
There are specific reporting requirements under rules 72(q) and (r) to highlight any non-standard appellations or ground marking exemptions as notified by the MLC.
Other general information or directions from the MLC that affect other rule requirements can be included under their respective reporting sections. For example, court directions may influence the survey purpose or affect the location of boundaries defined by survey.
Lodgement Standard 7 outlines the requirements for pre-validation reporting. The reporting should discuss any
- C-rule conflicts and warning messages
- adjustment report test failures and warning messages
where they are material to the survey and haven’t been reported elsewhere in the survey report.
A summarised explanation to assist interpretation of the items in the pre-validation report is published for further explanation.
- Standard for lodgement of cadastral survey datasets - LINZS70000
- Summarised explanation of the items in the pre-validation report
Templates provide a consistent format which benefits future readers. The survey report templates discussed below, both the ‘Word’ document and the automated survey report template, include guidance on completing the questions and comments. A periodic review of copies with the incorporated notes, including a read of the ‘hover over’ comments in the automated survey report is recommended.
A survey report can be scanned and attached as a supporting document.
The survey report template has been prepared to assist surveyors lodge compliant datasets that can be readily validated by LINZ staff.
Additional information is provided against the report template headings as a guide to assist surveyors who wish to customise their own survey reports into a standard form. When developing customised reports please retain a similar heading sequence to aid validation.
For the RCS 2010 template, refer to:
For the CSR 2021 template refer to:
Reinstatement CSD survey report
A simplified survey report template has been prepared to record only the information required by rule 118 and the Lodgement Standard.
The automated survey report in Landonline can be used, however it is not tailored to the reduced requirements outlined for simple reinstatement CSDs.
Automated survey report
An automated survey report option has been created in Landonline and the survey report will be incorporated into the CSD using the Landonline functionality.
It can be found in the Survey Report tab on the CSL_S02 Manage Survey Transaction screen. This optional automated survey report is automatically populated with some information from the captured data. Further comments can then be provided, which in some instances are set as mandatory fields, while others are optional.
Comments should include sufficient explanation and justification for the decisions made and answers given. While a simple ’Not applicable’ might be suitable for some situations, enough detail is required to cover the specified requirements outlined by rule 72 and Lodgement Standard 7 .
Replacement supporting document for automated survey report
In some situations, LINZ may contact the submitting surveyor to request an amended report rather than sending the CSD back on requisition. If the optional automated survey report has been used, it is possible for the surveyor to do the amendments without LINZ sending the CSD back, provided the amendments are to the comments only and don’t require changes to the yes/no answers of the radio buttons.
The report can be accessed in the Survey Report tab in the Manage Survey Transaction screen even after having submitted the CSD. Make the amendments, export the amended survey report as a TIFF image or print as a PDF, and email it to the Property Rights Analyst (PRA) processing the CSD. These changes cannot be saved within the CSD.
Materiality of CSD certification
Rule 73 requires surveyors to certify as to the accuracy and correctness of a CSD and its compliance with the Cadastral Survey Act 2002 and the Cadastral Survey Rules 2021. The certification applies to all rules irrespective of whether the surveyor considers a particular rule is material to the survey or not.
In completing the certification, the surveyor is stating the dataset and its related survey were undertaken by the certifier (licensed cadastral surveyor) personally, or under their personal direction.
The certification is specifically required to appear in the record of survey by rule 76(g) or for simple boundary reinstatement CSDs in accordance with rule 117(d).
The certification applies to all the data contained within the CSD.
Irrespective of the tools used by the licensed cadastral surveyor to create a CSD (including tools provided by LINZ which predetermine the form of some of the data components), the data in the CSD as submitted and certified, will remain unchanged as submitted to LINZ. This means the responsibility for the correctness and accuracy of the CSD rests on the licensed cadastral surveyor.
Title Plan certification information
The name of the certifying surveyor and the survey firm is required to be part of the Title Plan (r 92(c)).
Where boundaries are defined by survey
The certification includes compliance with rule 6 which requires a surveyor when defining a boundary by survey, to gather and interpret evidence in accordance with all relevant enactments and rules of law. This means that in the context of a boundary defined by survey, the surveyor is certifying that they have properly considered:
- the Cadastral Survey Act 2002 and other legislative requirements particular to that survey and include statutory regulations, rules, and rulings. Examples include the Conservation Act 1987, Land Transfer Act 2017, Te Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993 and so on, and
- other rules of law. This includes relevant common law precedents such as recent legal judgments, the hierarchy of evidence, and the doctrine of accretion and erosion.
Record purposes only CSDs
There is no provision for a CSD of a lesser standard to be lodged for 'record purposes only'.
Every CSD must be fully compliant with all applicable rules. On acceptance by LINZ, every CSD will contain authoritative data.
No exclusions to certification
The surveyor may wish to include diagrams and information in the CSD that were prepared for other purposes. Examples include 'as built diagrams' or 'scheme plans'.
If this information is included, it must be correct. Any statements that were designed to limit liability for those other purposes must be removed before inclusion in the dataset. Examples include 'the users of this information must independently verify the information' or 'this information is subject to survey'.
Dispensation requests are made to seek an exemption from the requirements of the Cadastral Survey Rules 2021 or the Standard for Lodgement of Cadastral Survey Datasets - LINZS70000.
When a surveyor has had a dispensation granted by the Surveyor-General (or their delegate) allowing an exemption from a particular requirement or specifying alternative requirements, the dispensation becomes part of the rules for the purpose of the surveyor's certification for that survey (s 47(6) of the Cadastral Survey Act 2002). The surveyor must either fully comply with the terms of the granted dispensation or with the normal rule(s).
Surveyors need to be particularly aware of their obligations when certifying a survey which has been partially completed under the direction of another licensed cadastral surveyor.
Schedule 2 Cadastral Survey Act 2002 states that a licensed cadastral surveyor is guilty of professional misconduct if the cadastral surveyor is found in any proceedings or appeal under Part 4:
- (1)(b) to have certified to the accuracy of any cadastral survey or cadastral survey dataset without having personally carried out or directed the cadastral survey and the related field operations
- (1)(c) to have certified to the accuracy of any cadastral survey or cadastral survey dataset without having carried out sufficient checks to ensure the accuracy of the entries in any field book and the accuracy of all calculations, working plans, and other cadastral records that may have been made by any person employed by him or her in relation to the cadastral survey
- (1)(d) to have certified to the accuracy of any cadastral survey carried out by the cadastral surveyor or under his or her personal direction if the operation of pegging and ground marking, and all other requirements of the cadastral survey, have not been carried out in accordance with standards set under Part 5.
Copy of 2008 article - Directing and certifying cadastral surveys
Two useful articles were published in 2008. ‘Certification – Get it Right!’ by Ralph Jorgenson and a follow-up article, ‘Directing and Certifying Cadastral Surveys’ by the Surveyor-General of the time, Don Grant. This second article was first published in the Survey Quarterly (Issue 56, December 2008, p30) and is included here due to its ongoing usefulness. It remains unchanged apart from references to the current Cadastral Survey Rules.
The excellent article by Ralph Jorgenson in the September 2008 Survey Quarterly ‘Certification – Get it right!’ is very timely as there have been several recent cases where the certification of cadastral surveys has been questionable – perhaps as a result of misunderstanding by the certifying surveyor. One such area of misunderstanding appears to be over the meaning of the word ‘direction’ which is used in the Cadastral Survey Act 2002 and the Cadastral Survey Rules 2021 – including the certificate signed for each survey.
Direction of a Cadastral Survey
Note the following dictionary definitions.
Direction n. 1. directing, aiming, guiding managing (usu in pl) instruction what to do, order (7th Ed, Concise Oxford Dictionary)
direct v.t. 2. control, govern movements of; guide as advisor, principle; order (person) to do, thing to be done; supervise acting etc (of film, play, etc); give orders; (7th Ed, Concise Oxford Dictionary)
In order to provide direction for some activity, for something to be done, an essential element appears to be that the ‘director’ knew about the activity before it took place and provided instructions on how that activity should be performed by others. Can a surveyor claim to have directed some activity (for example survey field work) if they had no knowledge of that activity when it took place?
In an ideal world where surveyors do all the work themselves or personally direct their employees to do the work, there should be no problem. However there are a number of scenarios where this ideal is difficult to achieve and then surveyors must be very careful. Consider the following scenarios:
- The surveyor who carried out or directed the survey is unavailable (perhaps they are on leave, overseas, ill, or have died) at the time it is ready to be lodged and certified. Another surveyor in the same firm is asked to certify it.
- The surveyor who carried out or directed some of the field work leaves the firm and the survey is taken over and completed by another surveyor in the same firm.
- A surveyor who is unfamiliar with e-survey carries out or directs a survey but then engages another surveyor experienced in e-survey to capture, lodge and certify the survey into Landonline.
- A technician-based survey firm that does not have a licensed cadastral surveyor, completes the fieldwork and calculations but then engages (sub-contracts) the checking, lodging and certifying activity to a cadastral surveyor outside the firm.
- A survey is returned on requisition and the original certifying surveyor is unavailable, so another surveyor attends to the requisitions. In order to return the survey to LINZ, they have to re-certify it. This new certification covers the correctness of all of the survey – not just the matters raised in the requisitions.
In all these cases, what does the certifying surveyor need to do, to be able to claim that they directed the entire survey?
Does it matter?
Yes it does matter. Section 47(1) of the Cadastral Survey Act 2002 General duties in relation to cadastral surveys requires a cadastral survey to be ‘conducted by a cadastral surveyor or a person acting under the direction of a cadastral surveyor’. Also Schedule 2, clause 1(b) states as one of the grounds for a cadastral surveyor to be found guilty of professional misconduct:
(b) to have certified to the accuracy of any cadastral survey or cadastral survey dataset without having personally carried out or directed the cadastral survey and the related field operations.
Performing any of the scenarios outlined above raises questions about whether the certifying surveyor directed the survey – particularly ‘the related field operations’.
In a recent case, the Cadastral Surveyors Licensing Board noted that a large red flag should be raised in the mind of a surveyor invited to belatedly certify a survey. Extreme caution is required and further field work by or under the direction of the certifying surveyor – including personal checks in the field – may be required. Without this, if any error is later found, the certifying surveyor is likely to fall foul of the provisions in Schedule 2 and thus become guilty of professional misconduct.
What is required?
Advice I give in lectures to final year surveying students is that probably the best few minutes they can spend through their career is to carefully read every word of every certification they make and ask themselves ‘Is this true? Am I sure about this?’
I (Name), being a licensed cadastral surveyor, certify that:
(a) This dataset provided by me and its related survey are accurate, correct and in accordance with the Cadastral Survey Act 2002 and the Cadastral Survey Rules 2021, and
(b) the survey was undertaken by me or under my personal direction.
I listed 5 scenarios above where the question of direction is doubtful. Reviewing these again:
- Certifying the work of another surveyor who unexpectedly becomes unavailable is very risky. If a senior partner in the firm watches over and exercises direction and oversight of more junior cadastral surveyors, or if there is a thorough and well documented system of field and office processes, peer review and audit, including field audit, then a surveyor might be able to satisfy themselves (and the Board if there proves to be an error) that they exercised direction over that survey from the start. If not, then additional field and office checks should be considered to manage the significant risk that arises to the surveyor’s licence and reputation.
- The surveyor who takes over the work of another surveyor part-way through should consider including some well documented checks, including field checks, of work already undertaken, so that they can claim to have provided a reasonable level of direction of the whole survey (and to minimise the chance of there being an error).
- Capturing a survey and running validation checks of the data before lodging it is not, by itself, likely to be considered ‘direction ... of the related field operations’ by the Licensing Board. Any surveyor who does this is taking a significant risk. If there is any error in the survey, the lack of direction is likely to become apparent and may result in a complaint to the Board.
- If a licensed cadastral surveyor is sub-contracting to a firm with field staff but with no licensed surveyors, the licensed surveyor, in establishing the business relationship, should make sure they will be able to demonstrate in the future, if required, that they exercised direction over the surveys.
- Surveyors should not assume that all errors in a survey will be identified and requisitioned by LINZ – especially not field errors. If a surveyor attends to requisitions of another surveyor and re-certifies the survey, then at the very least they may be required to correct any errors made by the original surveyor that come to light later. But to reduce the risk of professional misconduct, they also need to carefully consider the extent to which it is reasonable for them to rely on the original surveyor’s certification – especially in light of the fact that the survey has been found by LINZ to not be as accurate as it was certified to be.
I suggest the following simple rules to licensed surveyors to reduce the risk of being found guilty of professional misconduct:
- Wherever possible, get involved before the survey work starts so you can demonstrate that you exercised appropriate direction over it.
- Decide on the level of trust you can reasonably have in the people carrying out the work under your direction. Complete trust in others is risky and seems incompatible with the requirement to provide direction.
- Read the certification. You are not just certifying that the dataset has been properly prepared. You are also certifying that all of the survey itself is correct – including field work.
- Document the instructions, orders, expectations and directions that you set for other staff for the conduct of the survey.
- For any survey that you certify, be able to show that your level of direction was reasonable in the circumstances.
- Permanently retain all documentation of the direction that you exercised. Note that survey mistakes often do not arise for decades, and giving up your licence does not release you from your responsibility for the accuracy of your surveys.