Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain And Technological Disruption Of The Land Survey Process

In a commercial or residential real estate transaction, a survey of the subject property is typically an integral part of the title insurance issuance process as demanded by a lender!

And given the now oft-discussed new technologies such as blockchain, are those who toil in the land survey industry at-risk of being displaced by technological advancements?

As discussed in this space many times in the past, potential disruption of the title insurance industry (and every industry) by technology including blockchain is often debated, although implementation may or may not be anywhere on the immediate horizon! (‘Blockchain Technology and Cryptocurrency in Real Estate: Ready or Not, This Is the Future‘)

But what about for the various components of the title insurance process? Are they also at-risk for major disruption through advancements in artificial intelligence, blockchain, cryptocurrency, etc.?

The Land Survey

From an article by Tim Burch at GPS World…

The surveyor and artificial intelligence: A look ahead

In the not-too-distant future, the following scenario may take place.

A corporation owns an improved property in a large metropolitan city and has decided to sell it to a prospective buyer. Through a series of electronic messages and high-tech operations, the seller, buyer, their respective counsels, lending institutions and a title company are provided with documentation stating the condition of the site along with holograms and 3D digital models worthy of a science-fiction movie. In a matter of minutes, the deal is closed with monies and titles silently swapping places out in the ether.

Behind the scenes, the surveyor is a big part of this transaction. But how will the operation of the land title survey look in the future? Like everything else, artificial intelligence (A.I.) and blockchain technology will play a substantial role in surveying. I don’t profess to be the next Carnac the Magnificent, but it could look like this…


The seller contacts their corporate attorneys to begin the contractual process. Requirements for the sale include acceptable and insurable conditions of the site and a clean title policy from a title insurance company, so the latest land title survey requirements will be held for site and title review. Once the seller and buyer are committed to a sale of the subject property, a blockchain is established in a transactional database to track every step of the sale.

The attorney will consult with “Sheldon,” an artificial intelligence system built by a leading e-commerce company and designed to assist with business-to-business commerce. Sheldon will be used to secure the services of a land surveyor for the transaction. By researching available consultants based upon the information for the parcel contained within the blockchain, Sheldon contacts firms that could meet the criteria for this part of the transaction.

Once an appropriate firm is chosen by Sheldon, the data for the survey within the blockchain is uploaded to “Thomas,” a digital assistant designed specifically for surveyors. Thomas works with Sheldon and the blockchain to formalize an agreement, secure the necessary insurance requirements, and finalize a payment schedule for services.


Once the project is secured, Thomas creates a project file, downloads current satellite images, GIS data (including parcel, building and utility information), and recorded documents for the subject parcel. Among the information is parcel data for the project site. This data is based upon historical land surveys and converted into an accurate dataset in which most of the property and land corners are now included in the GIS database. All corners within the database have been installed or upgraded to contain an RFID chip imbedded within the top of the marker.

Read the entire article at GPS World here.

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