Welcome (yes, it's me)

Welcome to the Blog of the Santa Clara County Surveyor being brought to you by Gwen Gee, PLS, CFedS.

We hope this will provide you updates and handy information about our office.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Corner Record searching on GIS

Oh how time flies!  I'm back to posting again.  And I've got something to share!

Here's a new handy tool to use for searching for Corner Records in Santa Clara County.
First, here's a glimpse...

As you can see, the County GIS is the background.  The purple squares represent Corner Records that have been filed.  Once you zoom in close enough, a pop-up will allow you to "Click for Corner Record" for viewing the actual Corner Record. 

If you zoom out to this view, you can pan around to an area of interest.  If see this pop-up, you can "Click for Cadastral Map Image" and voila, a Cadastral Map will appear.  Even though these are dated, they are good for finding older recorded maps and vault maps.  For the old-timers, you know what I mean.

So if you like this preview, then keep an eye on our website for this new feature.


...until next time have a good time.


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Time flies....

Yes, I have missed posting for a few months, broke my goal of posting once a month.  Which means I owe a nice long post or a few quick posts to catch up.  From my previous post, it will be hard to top that off!

The economy seems to have recovered.  We are busy in the County Surveyor's Office.   I hear of people getting hired in surveying positions.  I got some calls from land surveyors looking for people to hire.  So it is a very active time.  A great welcome to our profession.

Sometimes it's just being in the right place at the right time.  The decisions we made in the past puts us in positions for opportunities when they knock on our door.

So here's a small world story.  A long time ago I worked a summer job at Inyo National Forest on a survey crew.   We were a mighty 6 person crew, a few from colleges, a couple making job transitions and my boss.
Making a long story short and sweet, that was a great job.  It was my very first surveying job and I learned so much.  Well, a couple of decades later, 33 years if you want numbers, I meet up with this guy Doug.  After a few questions to jog the memory I shout "Cowboy Doug?"  Yup, he and worked on this one survey crew, one summer 33 years ago.  Wow!  And to top that off, he is now County Surveyor for San Luis Obispo.  Now you math gurus, what is the chance that TWO people from this summer survey crew would BOTH end up as County Surveyors.

Amazing!  Now I really believe in that 7-degrees of freedom theory (aka the Kevin Bacon theory)

Friday, March 14, 2014

Valley Of the Hearts Delight

Ah, yes, finally a time to pause and get back to this Blog.  It's good to see things get busy in the area.  As we see things change from the past, say 50+ years ago, when we get a moment to ponder.  We think about what this valley looked like years ago.  I get to ponder quite a bit as I am force to slow my pace down as I commute in traffic.  Well that's the plus side of a slow commute.  Our ISD - Information Services Department put together an online historical map.  A big thanks goes to Doug S. who has been a great help and inspiration to us in expanding more into the GIS world.  (GIS = Geographical Information System)
And a big thanks to Brad B., PLS who stitched the map together and shared it with us.

Here's a preview to get you interested.

First we have the big screen picture....a couple of views....

Now zoom with the "circle" or "loupe" aka magnifier....

Zoom in closer and see....

So what you are seeing in the background is the County GIS layer so you can relate to what it looks like today.

To see what potential this has, zoom to Mt View and you will see....

now you say, what the....is that?  It's an old map of Mt View that you can view along with the background.

So check it out the webmap, play around with it and  have some fun.

Here's the link:


And remember to have some pie today for it's Pi day!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Thanks for 2013

Just a moment to say "thanks" to all who have gave us support throughout the year.  You gave us patience when we are short staffed, constructive comments when we are looking to improve, humor to keep our chins up, and most of all, your professionalism.  I would like to thank my staff for their patience and motivation to do a "good" job.  Even though we all work for that paycheck, what brings us to a higher level is that we like what we do and that is land surveying.  There are so many careers to choose from and many which make a lot more money, yet some of the most dedicated people are those in land surveying.  Perhaps it is a calling to us that complements our own persona.  Like a favorite pair of jeans, an old T-shirt we always wear, it just feels right and good at the same time.

I would also like to thank the many people who have been a part of my surveying career.  Recently, I received CEAC - County Engineers Association of California award for County Surveyor of the Year.  This is a great honor and quite a pleasant surprise.  This would not have been possible without the dedicated staff who work in the County Surveyor's Office here.  They have taken on various "hats" and used their hidden talents to help make this Office better, for the public at large and for the internal and external customers alike.
All while facing the difficulties and challenges of working in a governmental institution.  So I share this honor with my dedicated County Surveyor staff.

It takes a special kind of person to perform public service and truly be effective, and at the same time content to work in such an environment.

"Success is no accident.  It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing." - Pete

Happy New Year 2014 to you all.
   - Gwen

Monday, September 30, 2013

Researching at the County Surveyor's Office

Well I fell off the blogging for a bit.  Did a bit of traveling through the states, saw great views, got some rain (monsoon season in the US?) experienced desert heat, gusty winds and spend a lot of money buying gas.

Every good survey starts with a good amount of time doing research.  Especially for a boundary survey.  The kind we lose sleep at night pondering whether we looked and evaluated every corner, monument, tree, lines of occupations, etc. before we place our precious LS stamp on the map.  And it's done....at least we think so.  Then we suddenly awake from a nightmare when we hear the words "did you find this corner right here?"

The importance of researching a piece of property can never be underestimated.  In the 58 Counties in California, it seems like there are 58+ ways to do research.  The California Land Surveyor Association (CLSA) has a publication, the award winning California Surveyor.   In the current issue, several Counties have an article on how to perform researching at the County Surveyor's Office.  There are several articles on the importance of researching especially in dealing with land boundaries.  And sometimes the saying goes, finding a map with the monuments on it is "priceless".  And not finding the map with the monuments you are using "costly".

So check our the latest issue of CLSA's California Surveyor.


And a great photo is on the cover too!  (nice pic Steve!)

Being a Californian, I guess next time I'll do more research on the weather in other states!

Friday, June 28, 2013

End of Fiscal Year 2012-2013

Well another fiscal year ends.  What's that?  It's like the typical calendar year that goes from January to December.  We look forward to certain times of the year like April for taxes, December for shopping, June through August for summer vacations.  In our government sense, it goes from July 1st to June 30th.  So the things we look forward to are mid-year budget adjustment, fee changes, County ordinances changes, budgets of departments "finalizes", County budget approved, etc....I think you get the drift.  Also, many County and City officials take a "break" in July, some don't have regular meetings in July.  Being a cross-over from private business to public service, these differences are not obvious until you live through them a few times.  So sometimes you may wonder, are they really that busy over there?  While there are many things that go on "behind the scenes" in government, I have learned to address questions that are unique to this situation.

But all this being said, my staff appreciates the patience you have given us in trying to provide good customer service.  I call us the Four Musketeers.  I'll let your imagination fill in the rest.


Enjoy the start of summer!  The heat is definitely here!

Monday, May 6, 2013

County Surveyor Indexes now available ONLINE NOW!

Yes, you have read that right!  We have put the County Surveyor Indexes online.

So what does that mean?  It means you can do some map researching online on our website.  This is a start in a long awaited request from just about everybody I've talked to about doing map research here.

This is our very first launch on such so over time, it will improve.  Let's consider this our "beta" version.  Great cudo's my staff for making such a great effort.  The only thing we will miss is the friendly phone calls from our customers.

Ok, here's the snapshots to get you interested...

You must use Microsoft Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox as your browser for now.

First find The Santa Clara County - County Surveyor's website.
You can try one of the links for the County Surveyor's Website below:

Office of the County Surveyor



You will hopefully see this page:

Next, go to the County Surveyor - Record Indexes
(yes you will need to accept the disclaimer to continue)

So far so good, right?  Go ahead and you should now be at this page:

Yes, now this IS a new page that we just added.  A very talented person created this.

(very cool isn't it?)

So now let's cruise the links....

Let's take a look at the Map Research link.

We have the basics on map researching.
There is a step-by-step on how to determine the County Grid Number.

This is the same County Grid Number that we've used for a long, long time and it IS still the way we do indexing for now.

Of course, for the advanced user, you can just check out all the links and see what they do.

There are other links for:

  • Cadastral Maps
  • Record Map Index
  • Corner Record Index
  • Tract Number to Map Index

Some of the links take little time to load.
(if you cannot get the indexes to load, check to see if you are using MS Internet Explorer or Firefox)

Some highlights:
   - you can search and view the Corner Records
   - you can obtain the Book and Page of a map from the Tract number or name
   - you can determine the County Grid Number from our Cadastral Maps

Yes, the Cadastral Maps have not been updated since about 1989 due to the mapping program being discontinued.  Someday we hope to integrate the County GIS, but that is another item on our list.

And I bet this is something  you've been waiting to see:

So check it out.  We know there is room for enhancements.  Send us feedback, let us know how you like it.