Line Markings

Our clients often inquire about line markings.

Why do I need line markings? How do I make sure the line markings are correct?

If you have contracted a surveyor for some help regarding boundary lines, a likely end result would be getting those lines marked on the ground. Lines are commonly marked on the ground by the placement of survey monuments, oftentimes placed where boundaries meet at an angle point. Boundary lines commonly run in straight lines between monuments, and could thus be visualized, to varying degrees, depending on the lengths of line and/or visual obstructions. Here at Herrick & Salsbury, Inc. we can appropriately assess and mark lines as determined.

Some More on Line Markings

The State of Maine has a few technical standards that directly apply to monuments. Chapter 90, Part 2 of the rules of the Maine Board of Licensure for Professional Land Surveyors specify to following: 


The licensee shall ensure that sufficient monuments are present upon completion of the surveying services so that the location of the boundaries are apparent and obvious or may be reasonably recovered or found by the client. 

Recovery, Longevity, Detection, and Identification 

The licensee shall ensure that any monument set by the licensee, is located in such a manner and is of sufficient size, composition, and material that: 

  1. The likelihood of disturbance is minimal. 
  2. The life expectancy of the monument, under normal circumstances, will exceed 25 years. 
  3. The monument is capable of being detected with standard devices commonly in use by licensees; and, 
  4. The licensee who set the monument can be identified with certainty by inspection of the monument in the field.


At Herrick & Salsbury, Inc., we set a variety of monuments: 

  1. “H&S” (short for Herrick & Salsbury) embossed 1” diameter steel bolt. This is our most common monument and is our default marker where conditions allow. It is not uncommon for us to set our bolts in stones for added support where soils are shallow. 
  2. Yellow or aluminum capped rebar with identification “Herrick & Salsbury, Inc. scribed in the cap. This is our second most common monument and is used for large lot surveys and points in ledge. 
  3. 4”x 4” granite monument is a type of marker oftentimes requested for its visual qualities. Note: setting granite monuments would require us to have to waive the technical monument identification standards, listed above. 
  4. Ship Spike & Railroad Spike are types of monuments that have been largely replaced by our capped rebars. Typically these spikes were set in ledge, but installation was timely as lead would be tamped around their base, filling voids where the action of the freeze-thaw cycle could cause a disturbance, a problem not encountered with rebar. Nonetheless, this type of monument can be found in our historical work throughout Hancock County, and can still be requested. Note: Setting spikes would require us to have to waive the technical monument identification standards, listed above.
  5. Occasionally a tree is in the location of the monument we were planning to set. In these cases, we “spot” or scar the tree, identifying it as the monument. 

Sometimes seeing between survey monuments is not possible due to an obstructed line of sight. In Maine, topography, trees or rock outcrops are common obstructions. “Marking” or placing intermediary marks along a boundary line may make sense for a variety of reasons, including:

  1. A visual record/personal interest
  2. notification to an abutter 
  3. tree harvesting 
  4. building or construction 
  5. prevention of a future encroachment
  6. field mowing
  7. maintenance of boundary lines
  8. placing a fence

At Herrick & Salsbury, Inc. we can mark your lines in the following ways:

Brush and blaze/spot 

A method well suited to boundary lines running through the woods that can last a lifetime. Smaller trees and brush will be cut and removed along the boundary, while larger trees on or near the line get blazed/spotted. A blazed or spotted tree is one that has essentially been scarred. The fresh scar will resemble an oval of missing bark about shoulder high. As the tree “heals”, the bark will close back together in such a way that a surveyor can go back years later and still be able to identify it. With advances in technology (more specifically GPS), it is not always necessary for us to traverse a boundary line to set monuments as we once did. This is potentially advantageous from an initial cost perspective but is at the same time disadvantageous because it means that blazing/spotting a line oftentimes doesn’t happen. Sometimes when monuments get removed, lost or destroyed due to boundary disputes, logging activities, and plow trucks, to name a few, it might be the blazes/spots on the trees that are the only lasting evidence of where that boundary line once was. In addition to offering brushing/blazing/spotting services, Herrick & Salsbury, Inc. can place “Herrick & Salsbury, Inc. – – Boundary Line” markers on line trees. 

Hang flags

Another method well suited to boundary lines running through the woods. Surveyors tape (flagging) will be tied to trees and branches along a boundary line, most likely using GPS technology. As the wind blows, the sun shines and trees grow, the flagging will age, crack and break; it is not permanent, but can certainly last a while.

Set grade stakes

Permitting construction projects oftentimes requires a building setback from boundary lines. Wooden grade stakes set at intermediate points on a boundary line can help determine where that boundary line is, and can help demonstrate to the code enforcement officer that code is being met. 

Setting wooden grade stakes to mark a boundary can also be helpful in a field or open area where there are no trees to blaze/spot/flag. Wood grade stakes do not last forever. In our experience, two years is a fair life expectancy.

Set metal stakes

Metal takes can be set along boundary lines when there is an interest in the stakes lasting longer than a couple of years.

Set fiberglass stakes 

Fiberglass stakes are also another good option for marking boundary lines, with the added benefits of lasting longer than wood or flag and being less expensive than metal stakes. Our fiberglass stakes are labeled “Herrick & Salsbury, Inc.”

Set premium fiberglass stakes 

Fiberglass stakes are also another good option for marking boundary lines, with the added benefits of lasting longer than wood or flag. Our fiberglass stakes are labeled “Herrick & Salsbury, Inc. – Boundary line.”

Getting Started

Have questions about line markings or what to expect? Check out our FAQs: Boundary Surveys or Reach out via our contact page.