Frequently Asked Questions

Got questions about the routing process or our surveying services? 

Read below for some of our most commonly asked questions regarding pipeline routing, construction staking, As-Built surveying, unmanned aerial systems, and more. 

Feel free to reach out to our team if you don’t find your question here!

General Questions

The answer to this question will vary for everyone, as there are many factors involved in determining when we can produce a plat. Route development, access to the property, title documents, and unclear deadlines all change the timeline. 

If you acquire a KMZ file of the route, develop a line list (including a real estate doc, rights, and terms of access), and do the other necessary record research ahead of time, you’ll be in excellent shape to get your easement plats as soon as possible.

First and foremost, the price per foot is only a baseline estimate. Your final investment will depend on your individual project. All of the same factors that affect your easement plats timeline will also affect your overall investment.

Your timeline is particularly important in calculating your costs: the shorter the timeline, the more resources it will require. Internal and external influences will also affect your timeline. Give us a call for an estimate.

The contractor’s schedule will determine that timeline. Keep in mind that there is often a disconnect between the field crew and the people in the office, both of whom have different definitions of what constitutes a finished As-Built, which can complicate the timeline. 

The flow of documents—specifically material testing reports (MTRs), which often hold up the timeline—affect our ability to do our due diligence and validate our data.

Schedule A Meeting

Pipeline Routing

Unfortunately, aerial imagery is not up to date with the fast industry of pipelines at this time. You can get a rough preliminary route off of Google Earth or Bing, but we will need “boots on the ground” to verify the route can be constructed. 

Using drones, we can fly the route and get updated imagery, but we will need to physically inspect the site at some point and time. Not only is this necessary to define boundaries, but it also allows us to pick up crossings like underground pipelines and utilities that the drones often miss.

You will need the following from right-of-way:

  • Title, deeds and easements—make sure they have been run up and placed in the cad
  • Landowner permission to enter the property
  • A survey that includes crossings, boundary, and pluses every 200 feet to be able to get a good profile of the line and making sure the route is constructible
  • The carrier pipe specifications and the maximum operating pressure (MOP)

It’s important to remember that communication is key to finalizing your route!

We need titles and deeds to identify the current landowner and to see all the easements on the property. Most new construction is going to parallel an existing pipeline or pipeline corridor. As a result, we may have to adjust your easement to theirs.

Construction Staking

During a typical project, we will stake:

  • ROW limits—to ensure your project stays on the proposed ROW. All ATWS corners will be clearly marked with three lathes to show the direction of travel, and ROW will be staked at 200’ intervals between PIs and ATWS
  • Centerline—We’ll stake the centerline at 200’ intervals along with all PIs and crossing features such as utilities, creeks, and roads. A re-stake of the centerline for ditching will be completed after grading is completed
  • Bore and HDD entry/exits
  • Ground stakes—If cattle are an issue, we’ll put in ground stakes
  • Environmental areas, if needed

First off, you will need to have completed a pre-job checklist, and all safety measures will need to be in place.
Once this is complete, our team will need to know:


  1. Survey supplies will need to be ordered and in place somewhere convenient for the crews to access. We typically rent a storage unit in the area.
  2. Prior to construction staking, crews need IFC alignment sheets, staking files, KMZ of route, construction line list (usually supplied by land management) and a  contact list will all affected parties, including the land group, inspection, ORFS project manager, supervisor, and crew members.
  3. Notifications to landowners need to be made by land management team prior to entry on all private properties.
  4. Control will need to be set and/or verified.
  5. And finally, staking procedure should be given to our crew. This is the case if you have specific color preferences.

In order to stay ahead of the clearing crew, a minimum of 1 week should be provided. Depending on the terrain, more time may be needed. Heavily wooded or brushy areas that require total station work or heavy brush clearing will take 2 weeks, minimum.

On a normal construction staking project, a single crew should be able to complete a minimum of 1 linear mile per day. This could be less depending on the terrain and whether or not ATV can be used. Some other projects that may have minimal TWS, fewer utility crossings and easier terrain, making it possible for a crew to stake up to 2 miles per day.

As-Built Surveying

We can’t know for sure until we learn the details of your project. Your cost will depend on:

  • The construction schedule, logistics, and sequence
  • The type and specification of data deliverable
  • Document management and the timely flow of information from the procurement and inspection team

As much or as little as needed. Federally regulated liquids and high-pressure pipelines might require more extensive data capture such as an expansive inventory of data for girth welds, fittings, tees, bends, valves, line crossings details, etc. 

Low-pressure and non-regulated lines might have minimal requirements about location and depth of the pipeline. 

Regardless, we have experience will all types, and can expand on our knowledge base. Just send us a message and we'll be glad to help clarify what your project might need.

Our mission is to turn around all as-built pipeline projects 30 days after demobilizing our survey crews or the commissioning of the pipeline for operations, whichever comes first. We understand the value of the data we collect and prioritize handing off a complete data package to the pipeline operator in a timely fashion.

Telecommunication Surveying

Once we get the go-ahead, it’s generally a 1-2 week process after the administration of 811-locate submissions. 

Yes! In fact, we are very familiar with the 811 process and administer submissions on a regular basis. 

In order to certify to the public ROW, we first need to perform a title record search. This includes a search for any relevant and relative documents (such as vesting deeds and subdivision plats) that will help us to establish boundary in the field survey and ensure utility placement is within intended public ROW.

Please feel free to reach out to our Boerne office if you have any questions! Our team is happy to help. We'd be grateful to serve alongside you in the completion of your projects. 

Volumetric Surveying

A volumetric survey is the comparison of the results of two or more topographical surveys conducted at different points in time. It’s sometimes referred to as a "containment" survey, which is the measurement (volume) of liquid product that a diked or remote impoundment might isolate (spill prevention) in the case that a primary storage tank or vessel were to rupture or otherwise fail.

Yes, we almost always use drone technology on volumetric/containment surveys. It's a hybridized surveying method we have strategically developed specifically for this type of work. 

Data received from drone technology is more accurate and more detailed. The amount of and density of the data we receive from our UAS/Drone collection processes exponentially exceeds the amount of data a traditional surveying crew can collected in a single day. 

It's all about using the right tool for the job, but most often, our survey-grade UAS (drone) processes produce the best and most cost effective results for this type of work.

Land Surveying

Updating an older survey performed by another surveyor or survey company requires current research and a trip to the field. Because there are many variables involved, we strongly suggest a total makeover on a project where the survey needs updating.

Yes. During that time, adjoins may have improved and encroached. Other surveyors may have been on-premise and established conflicting lines and set monuments to support their conclusions. New research and a trip to the field is a minimum.

Boundary survey is just that: a representation of what someone holds a deed description to, or a boundary is being created and defined for the purpose of creating a deed. 

A surveyor certifies that they have established and identified a legally defined perimeter as described. A boundary indicates that a deed identifies real property and legitimate ownership is not an issue.

A title survey is done to verify the specific interest a party has in real property. At the conclusion of the title survey, the surveyor will certify that the boundary identified, in fact, belongs to a designated person or entity. 

The title survey is the identification of a boundary coupled with the identification of absolute fee ownership. The survey determines that, with the facts provided, the title is matched with real property and legitimate ownership. The title is not “colored or clouded.”

In order to perform a title survey, a competent title company must prepare and provide a title commitment that is valid for 30 days. 

The title commitment will be an abstract of title (more or less) of every recorded transaction that ever included the subject tract (or mentions the subject tract) should be identified through research and verified through surveying prior to certifying the title survey. 

The title survey is a step up from a boundary. Not only is the surveyor saying the boundary is legitimate, but they are also stating the ownership in the surveyed tract has been determined and identified by the end product.

U.A.S.

An unmanned aircraft and the system/equipment to control it remotely.

Yes, we are!

We only need access to the property if we need to produce a survey-grade surface model (i.e. elevations). If we only need imagery, our team won’t need access to the property. However, we do need permission from private landowners and/or facility operations to operators an unmanned aerial vehicle (U.A.V., i.e. "drone"). 

Your actual boundary lines cannot be determined without putting boots on the ground, but drone imagery can aid in the placement or dispute of boundary. It can also identify your physical boundaries like fences, rivers, roads, and walls.

It’s best to use manned aircraft for areas over 1000 acres of right of way longer than 5 miles––or areas that need data collected when receiving permission to operate a U.A.V. is not likely or uncertain.

Processing turnaround for imagery only is 24 hours after the flight. Other deliverables like volume calculations may take longer, but there’s typically only a 2-day turnaround.

The best way to receive the data is via an external hard drive. File sizes can be large, and depending on internet speeds, it could be time-consuming to download everything from a share site.

Still Have Questions?

Fill out this form to contact the surveying experts at Open Range Field Services. We’re happy to help!