The ALTA “American Land Title Association”, ACSM “American Congress and Surveying and Mapping” jointly set forth the standards and criteria for ALTA Land Title Surveys. These surveys are typically required by the lender for large commercial transactions. The purpose of the ALTA survey is to allow the title company to issue an ALTA policy of title insurance.
The ALTA survey is a complete investigation into the title of the property. This includes plotting of all easements and exceptions listed in the title report (documents of record) and also includes an investigation of other rights which are not of record. For example, the property may have roads that access other properties with no recorded easement, or there may be underground pipelines or overhead power lines with no recorded easement. The ALTA map will also show encroachments of buildings, fences, or walls over the property lines. The ALTA survey will also disclose items listed in the title report which actually don’t affect the property and can be removed from the title report.
The ALTA standards also include an optional “Table A” which allows the client or lender to select additional items to the ALTA map (i.e. topography, flood zone info, zoning, setbacks, etc.).