Gary R. Kent PS

Gary Kent is in his 33rd year with The Schneider Corporation, a surveying, GIS and consulting engineering firm based in Indianapolis, and with offices in North Carolina, Florida, Texas and Iowa. He is chair of the NSPS committee on the ALTA/ACSM (now NSPS) Standards and is liaison to NSPS for the American Land Title Association.  He is a past-president of both ACSM and the Indiana Society of Professional Land Surveyors.  From 1999-2006, Gary taught boundary law, legal descriptions, property surveying and land survey systems for Purdue University in Indianapolis where he received Excellence in Teaching and Outstanding Associate Faculty Awards.  He is in his twelfth year on the Indiana State Board of Registration for Professional Surveyors and is frequently called as an expert witness in cases involving boundaries, easements and land surveying practice. Gary regularly presents programs across the country on surveying topics, and he writes columns for The American Surveyor magazine and for NSPS News and Views.

Gary's Courses

ALTA/NSPS 2016 Standards (Course 1) – Concepts, Purpose and Standards Essentials

This tutorial introduces the audience to the ALTA/NSPS Land Title Survey Standards: why they exist, their history and what purposes they serve. The topic of ordering a Land Title Survey will also be addressed, including what form the request should take and what needs to be provided to the surveyor. Finally, a variety of basic, but very important issues are discussed including how the standards relate to jurisdictional requirements and the normal standard of care, and whether or not an ALTA/NSPS Land Title Survey is actually a ‘boundary survey.’

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ALTA/NSPS 2016 Standards – An Overview

The long-standing ALTA/ACSM Standards have been revised and the new version – the 9th iteration – became effective on February 23, 2016 as the Minimum Standard Detail requirements for ALTA/NSPS Land Title Surveys. This course provides a brief overview of the new 2016 Standards to help those surveyors who may not be as familiar with the Standards as they would like and to refresh the memory of those who would like to be prepared for the 2016 version.

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ALTA/NSPS 2016 Standards – What’s Changed

The ALTA/ACSM Standards have been revised and the new version became effective on February 23, 2016 as the Minimum Standard Detail requirements for ALTA/NSPS Land Title Surveys. In this short course, we will provide a brief look at the primary changes that the surveyor will find in the 2016 standards as compared to the 2011 version.

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ALTA/NSPS 2016 Standards (Course 2) – Measurement Standards and Uncertainties

There are random errors in every survey measurement, but how do surveyors manage and account for them? It all starts with understanding the sources and magnitude of those errors. Once armed with that information, surveyors can logically analyze the quality of each individual measurement and the resulting impact of those errors on the overall survey. Surveyors also expend a lot of time avoiding blunders and analyzing and accounting for random errors in their measurements. Yet the effect of random errors on a boundary determination is minuscule compared to the potential uncertainties in a boundary associated with field or record evidence of questionable lineage. As the 2016 ALTA/NSPS Standards say, "...a boundary corner or line may have a small Relative Positional Precision because the survey measurements were precise, yet still be in the wrong position (i.e. inaccurate) if it was established or retraced using faulty or improper application of boundary law principles." So, in this Course, in addition to providing background and details related to the issue of measurement uncertainty on ALTA/NSPS Land Title Surveys, we will also explore the uncertainties that can impact the integrity of a boundary survey that are not related to measurements - and that are often the answer to the question "Why can't two surveyors ever agree?!"

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ALTA/NSPS 2016 Standards (Course 3) – Records Research

The ALTA/ACSM standards have always spelled out in detail what records research and other information is to be provided to the surveyor for use in preparing an ALTA/NSPS Land Title Survey. The 2011 standards attempted to clarify and expand some of those responsibilities, in addition to adding some new requirements. The new 2016 Standards for ALTA/NSPS Land Title Surveys provide greater clarity on to what is to be provided and, importantly, what the surveyor must do if that information is not forthcoming.  In this course, we will delve into Section 4 – the Records Research section of the 2016 ALTA/NSPS standards - and explain the requirements.

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ALTA/NSPS 2016 Standards (Course 4) – Fieldwork

Surveyors and field technicians are technically oriented and tend to obsess over minutiae; like making sure the boundary corner they set is not more than 0.01 foot off. They also love the math, yet math really has very little to do with boundaries.  Making sure the field crew is focused on the right things is very important if we are going to serve the primary needs and concerns of the title industry - which is the main consumer of Land Title Surveys. In this course, we explore the fieldwork requirements of an ALTA/NSPS Land Title Survey. Those responsible for gathering the evidence and data in the field must understand what the survey is really about and why certain items are required so they approach the task well-informed and attuned to the job at hand.

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ALTA/NSPS 2016 Standards (Course 5) – Creation of the Plat or Map

Once the research and fieldwork are complete, surveyors must memorialize their work with a plat or map of their ALTA/NSPS Land Title Survey. A wonderful field effort will be completely wasted unless the data is presented in a format that is understandable to those reviewing the plat or map. With that goal in mind, Section 6 of the 2016 Minimum Standard Detail Requirements for ALTA/NSPS Land Title Surveys lays out the manner in which the research, fieldwork, property descriptions, certification, and other information are to be presented on the plat or map. This course will explain each of those requirements, so the final product of the survey will be of most value to everyone who will rely on it.

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ALTA/NSPS 2016 Standards (Course 6) – Certification and Deliverables

Lenders’ certificates have long been the bane of surveyors and one reason that many surveyors simply avoided performing Land Title Surveys. With the 2011 Minimum Standard Detail Requirements for ALTA/NSPS Land Title Surveys, however, the surveying profession stood up and collectively said that it would no longer be dictated to on the matter of certification. In this course, we look at the issue of certifications including how to deal with attorneys who make ridiculous requests, and with federal agency certifications. In addition, the course covers the deliverables – how the plat or map needs to be presented and to whom.

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ALTA/NSPS 2016 Standards (Course 7) – Table A

Although the ALTA/NSPS standards have always required that the client designate the desired Table A items with the order for the survey, much, if not most, of the time this is not done. And even when the items are requested ahead of time, clients and lenders are often ignorant of the fact that the exact wording of a given item may need to be negotiated with the surveyor. In this course, the last of the series on the 2016 ALTA/NSPS standards, we will review and explain the intent of each and every item of Table A, together with the issues that often arise related to those items.

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Easements and Rights of Way (Tutorial 1) – Defining the Interests

Professional surveyors, title professionals, engineers, appraisers and others deal with easements almost every day - whether they are showing their locations on an ALTA/ACSM Land Title Survey, assessing their impact on a new development, accommodating them on a subdivision plat or evaluating the impact of uses by others on their client's property.  Rights of way - whether discussing the easement interests, or the physical real estate involved, present their own set of issues. In this tutorial, we will introduce the concept and definition of the easement, as contrasted to a license and a profit a prendre, which are also defined.  In addition, we will explain how the term 'right of way' has at least three different meanings and why it is very important to discern which term is being used to avoid misunderstandings and confusion.

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Easements and Rights of Way (Tutorial 2) – Estates & Types of Easements

Easements come in a number of different forms and usually create two types of estates.  Yet sometimes they create only one estate.  Understanding the nature of the basic categories of easements is necessary when apprising the impact that an easement may have on a property and how it may benefit another property - or not. Some easements allow an active use of the property while others do not.  Some are assignable, yet others are not.  Some benefit a property; others do not.  Easements are, on one hand, seemingly complex and confusing interests in real property, yet on the other hand, the estates created and basic types are fairly well-defined by the courts.  In this tutorial, we will learn about the basic types of easements and the estates created thereby.

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Easements and Rights of Way (Tutorial 3) – Written Easements

Easements are interests in real property and therefore, must be created by virtue of a written document with some exceptions which will be addressed in the next tutorial in this series. Written easements can be created in a wide variety of ways - from express grants at one end of the spectrum to statutory, court-sanctioned condemnations at the other end.  In this tutorial, we will explore what is involved in each of the methods that can result in a written easement and what are the considerations - such as the actual interest that is created - that should be noted and understood about each.

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The Surveyor’s Judicial Role Series (Tutorial 1) – What is the Real Role of the Boundary Surveyor?

Only two persons can truly resolve a disputed boundary or title problem.  Those persons do not include attorneys, title companies or surveyors.  And, in a sense, they do not even include judges and juries - at least not of their own volition.  In this series of tutorials, we will explore the role that the professional surveyor can and arguably should take in helping property owners establish or maintain their common boundary at the location that they were perfectly satisfied with - at least until the surveyor showed up!  In this first tutorial, we will look at the role of the surveyor as related to boundaries, not only from a statutory standpoint, but also as eloquently expressed by renowned Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas Cooley in his seminal 1881 treatise "The Judicial Function of Surveyors."  We will also review several examples that demonstrate the problem and alternatives to what is often the standard approach by surveyors.

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The Surveyor’s Judicial Role Series (Tutorial 2) – What is the Difference Between Title and Survey?

Only two persons who can truly resolve a disputed boundary or title problem.  Those persons do not include attorneys, title companies or surveyors.  And, in a sense, they do not even include judges and juries - at least not of their own volition.  In this series of tutorials, we will explore the role that the professional surveyor can and arguably should take in helping property owners establish or maintain their common boundary at the location that they were perfectly satisfied with - at least until the surveyor showed up!  In this second tutorial we look at considerations in the dynamic that exists between matters of title and matters of survey.

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The Surveyor’s Judicial Role Series (Tutorial 3) – Why Title Insurance?

In The Surveyor's Judicial Role series of tutorials, we propose a broader role that the professional surveyor should arguably take in helping property owners avoid the expense and angst of unnecessarily litigating boundaries when there has been acquiescence to an accepted line by both owners.  In this third tutorial, we explore title insurance: what it is, what it is not, what it provides, how it differs from other types of insurance and why anyone buying or owning property should have it.

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The Surveyor’s Judicial Role Series (Tutorial 4) – Can the Surveyor Resolve Boundary – Title Problems?

In The Surveyor's Judicial Role series of tutorials, we propose a broader role that the professional surveyor should arguably take in helping property owners avoid the expense and angst of unnecessarily litigating boundaries when there has been acquiescence to an accepted line by both owners.  In this fourth tutorial, we explore the genesis of a conflict that surveyors very frequently find themselves in, even though they do not even recognize it. In order to help surveyors have the confidence to fulfill the expanded role we are proposing, this tutorial breaks down typical scenarios that surveyors encounter and spells out alternate steps rather than the traditional ones which leave neighbors in litigation and neighborhoods in disarray.

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