When I took possession of the property last October, I received a survey from the previous owner that was done in 1991. It starts from a corner of the house and goes 3xx.xx feet bearing North 33 degrees, 5 minutes, 50 seconds west and then walks a circuit around the property using angles and distances. I also got a legal description of the property that is similar.
Property records are public, so I could look up tax maps online to see how my parcel fits in with the other parcels nearby. (For instance, I found that a company in my town owns a bunch of acres on three sides of me. Hopefully that means no neighbors anytime soon - woo hoo!) These tax maps are in viewable CAD files.
One of the things I wanted to do was walk to each corner of my property and ... who knows. Look at it? However, putting the information from public sources and the survey together still did not give me any information I could put into a GPS. I spent a fair amount of time reading about different coordinate systems (since the corners of each tax map page provided a norther and an easter number, which looked totally foreign to me, and still would have required impossible CAD math). Eventually I gave up. Temporarily. Let's just say that I put the issue aside for several months.
When I started to think about it again a few weeks ago, I came up with a brilliant thought. Ask for help. I sent the county GIS person an email asking for the best way to find the corner coordinates of my property and today received an answer - that included the GPS coordinates of my property corners. Perfect!
I think there's some lesson in there somewhere about sharing, or asking for help, or playing well with others. But it's been a long Monday after a few days off last week, and I'm not as sharp as usual. I'm sure I'll have to learn this lesson a few times before I get it right, as many of us do.