Government Survey Law and Legal Definition

Government survey means a survey made by a governmental entity of tracts of land including townships, sections and quarter sections of land. A government survey when conducted by the federal government is called a congressional survey.

In Vaught v. McClymond, 116 Mont. 542 (Mont. 1945), the court observed that “Government surveys are, as a matter of law, the best evidence. If the boundaries of land are clearly established thereby, other evidence is superfluous and may be excluded. The best evidence is the corners actually fixed upon the ground by the government surveyor, in default of which the field notes and plats come next, unless satisfactory evidence is produced that the corner was actually located upon the ground at a point different from that stated in the field notes. Any section corner or quarter corner that is identified as having been established by an official survey of the United States government must stand as being correctly located, however plain it may appear that the location is wrong, because the government surveys cannot be changed in an action at law between individuals.”