Surveying Services And Functions

  1. Right of way locations
  2. Maintain City benchmark (elevation) listing (available in Online Maps)
  3. Maintain geodetic coordinate on Public Land Survey System corners
  4. Operation of global positioning system (GPS) base station for differential correction
  5. Prepare plat of subdivisions and certified survey maps as needed for monumentation of properties and industrial park lot creation
  6. Topographic mapping for sanitary sewer, storm sewer, water main, curb and gutter, and street reconstruction projects
  7. Capture of feature locations for utility and other mapping using GPS equipment

Property Line Location/Property Surveys

The City of Wausau does not assist home owners in locating property irons, surveying private property, or locating property lines between private properties. A property corner or iron can ONLY be determined or verified by a survey. The City recommends property owners consider retaining the services of a private land surveyor if property corners or property lines must be accurately determined. Also, legal advice regarding property ownership and land disputes should be referred to your attorney. (See "Right-of-Way" below for additional information.)

Typically certified surveys completed by a private land surveyor are filed with the Marathon County Register of Deeds Office. Property owners can contact that office to determine if a certified survey may have been accomplished and filed in the past.


The City will assist property owners in identifying the location of public right-of-way. The right-of-way of most City streets is 50-60 feet. Some are narrower, and some are significantly wider. Property owners are often surprised to learn the right-of-way actually extends several feet into what they perceive is their yard, particularly in areas where there is no public sidewalk. Knowing the correct location of the right-of-way may be very important for such things as landscaping, building projects, installing a new driveway, or erecting a fence.

If residents need to know where their property line is located (other than locating the right-of-way which the City will do) they should hire a Registered Land Surveyor and have a survey completed.

The back of sidewalk is not always on the right-of-way. We have many sidewalks in the City that are five and even ten feet from the right-of-way. The back of walk should never be used as the sole location of the right-of-way.

GIS or even the original plat or deed dimensions aren’t always correct. In fact, these dimensions in most cases are never correct. If it’s a platted lot, the entire block needs to be measured and the lot dimensions prorated for long or short blocks. If it’s a deed, the adjoining deeds need to be looked at for gaps/overlaps and junior/senior rights. 

Original, undisturbed plat corners are always correct. The back of walk should never be used for right-of-way location without first checking for original property corners. 

The back of walk is only used for right-of-way location as a last resort. If no usable monuments are found within the block or the adjoining block, only then should the street improvements (sidewalks) be used to locate the right-of-way. In these cases, the right-of-way would be centered on the improvements, which again would mean that if the sidewalks where too close or too far apart, neither sidewalk would be exactly on the right-of-way.