Recently Fischer Land Surveying and Engineering donated the time and expertise of staff to the Cavalier County Recorder’s office to scan some 200 plats located in the office, making the documents digital and available online.
Posted on 4/16/16
By Melissa Anderson
Dan Fischer, owner of Fischer Land Surveying and Engineering, explained that many years ago, North Dakota counties joined together to extend the application of the 1999 disaster-proofing FEMA grant by providing access to real estate records via the Internet.
“These records had previously been available only through books and microfilm in the recorders’ offices in the county courthouses across North Dakota,” Fischer said.
Thus, the North Dakota Recorder’s Information Network (NDRIN) was conceived. While many of the old records could be scanned into electronic format using modern photocopiers, other large documents such as plats were simply too large to be scanned.
“As one might guess, land surveyors through the state of North Dakota have always maintained a very close relationship with their local county recorders,” Fischer said, “Adequate research of the public records is paramount for the land surveying community to perform their services in a timely and accurate manner, and the NDRIN system has now become a necessary tool in the hands of the land surveyors across the state.”
The North Dakota Society of Professional Land Surveyors (NDSPLS) recognized that some counties were unable to afford scanning of their large plats through an outside vendor and would never be able to upload these documents.
“The tax director’s office was also wanting the plats online so her GIS company could do the work they needed for her office,” Cavalier County Recorder Vicki Kubat explained, “So we thought, to save the tax payers money, we would have the surveyor’s do the scanning and give a donation to their education department.”
As a way to get these plats available online and also to “give back” to the recorders that continually offer their assistance to the surveying community, surveyors have taken it upon themselves to scan these plats.
“Digitizing the plats makes it more efficient for when people are wanting to see a particular plat on record in my office,” Kubat added.
Beginning with then NDSPLS President Steve Langlie, surveyors have been in contact with their local recorders throughout the state to offer this service. The most recent work to convert the hard copy of plats to digital was done by Fischer Land Surveying and Engineering staff Josh Short and Mike Cull.
“The plats turned out very well, and we are happy with the end product,” Kubat said.
The equipment used by Short and Cull then made its way to Walsh County and will soon be on its way to Trail County as well for the same purpose.
“While a bit time consuming, the process benefits not only the county recorders and the land surveyors but also other county departments,” Kubat said.