Wisconsin Land Surveying Bill Signed into Law Print
By AJ Wortley   
April 30, 2014

On April 23, 2014, Governor Walker signed Wisconsin Assembly Bill 506 into law as 2013 Wisconsin Act 358, relating to:  professional land surveyors; the practice of professional land surveying; surveying land abutting navigable waters; various changes regarding platting, surveying, and certified survey maps; and granting rule-making authority.  The law became effective on April 25, 2014.

Wisconsin’s land surveying community has been advocating for an update to various statutory definitions of land surveying practice for several years now partially prompted by the need to reflect changing technology in the discipline.  Wisconsin is not alone as several other states have also passed laws updating land surveying practices and/or licensure requirements in recent years (see links below article.)  A key item in the legislation is a change to the definition of professional land surveyor in Wisconsin from requiring a certificate of registration to a license requirement obtained from the Professional Land Surveyor Section of the Examining Board of Architects, Landscape Architects, Professional Engineers, Designers and Professional Land Surveyors.  Certain exemptions to the previous registration requirement are also removed tightening the requirement for licensure to practice land surveying in the state.

Additional items addressed in the bill include clarification and update of specific requirements for the recording and filing of official survey documents with regard to relocation of U.S. Public Land Survey System monuments; surveying of land abutting navigable waters; plats of survey for cemeteries; and survey plats of a lake or stream shore that include reference to an ordinary high water mark (OHWM).

One notable update is the ability of a professional surveyor to submit survey documents, plats and certified survey maps to a register of deeds on any media accepted by a particular register of deeds’ office, paving the way for eventual digital submission of survey filings.

While general exemptions to the renewed licensure requirements were removed through this bill, certain exemptions to public utility companies and specific state agencies were re-introduced through the amendment process.

The new statutory language and bill history can be found on the Wisconsin Legislative Documents Web site.

The Wisconsin Society of Land Surveyors (WSLS) will be holding an informational Spring workshop on May 30, 2014 to review the Survey Modernization Bill and its impacts.  More information is on their website.

Other state examples of recent Laws addressing Land Surveying practice: