I know of several professionals who are using ExpertGPS to assist in surveying and property management, so this would be a good discussion to start in the GIS, CAD, and other professional use forum.
If you have a property description and can identify the coordinates of the starting point, send me an email with the details, and I'll work on a way to let you turn the legal description into a route or shape in ExpertGPS.
Thanks Dan! I've attached a table that contains a fairly simple real-world property description. It's useful because when overlaid on a DOQ (aerial) map, you can readily see if the property lines plotted in ExpertGPS line up with obvious physical features. The property is located in Section 8, Township 15N, Range 29W, 5th Principal Meridian (4 miles West of Elkins, Arkansas).
The starting point, which is not on the property boundary, is a quarter-section corner point in the Public Land Survey System (PLSS). So, how are we going to find that? I displayed a topo map of the Section in ExpertGPS, placed waypoints at the corners of the Section, connected them with a route, and then switched to Quick Map view. Since the NE Corner of the NW Quarter of Section 8 is .5 miles from the NE corner of the section, I made the waypoint at the NE corner a proximity waypoint with a radius of .5 miles. Where the proximity boundary and the northern boundary of the Section intersect is our starting point (35.99560, -94.07985, WGS-84), and I placed a waypoint there when zoomed way in (thus the need to do this in Quick Map view since the proximity boundary disappears in Topo map view). You could use the same basic approach to find other Quarter and Quarter-Quarter corner points by working from South-to North and East-to-West in a Section.
From there I used the Project Waypoint feature (with move to waypoint and add to route both checked) to enter the subsequent bearings and distances. Because ExpertGPS currently does not accept bearings in Quadrant format (N34:24:06W), which most property descriptions use, I converted the Quadrant bearings to Azimuth's in a spreadsheet I built. I really like the fact that the previous bearing and distance are persistent in the Project Waypoint window. It helps you to identify which bearing and distance you need to enter next in an often long list of such vectors. The Azimuth's associated with each Quadrant bearing are shown in the following table.
After inputting all of the bearings and distances, the property description closes within a couple of feet. But, switching to Aerial Photo Map view shows that the plotted boundaries don't quite line up with the actual property. Much of the eastern boundary is susposed to be running down the center of the County Road. The western boundary doesn't line up with the edge of the forest. This kind of small error is almost inevitable with most of the property descriptions I've plotted. ExpertGPS allows us to move the waypoints and route associated with the property, but doesn't currently allow us to rotate routes, tracks, or shapes and the associated waypoints. This plotted property boundary need to be moved West a little, and rotated a bit (about 1.7 degrees clockwise).
So, here are some of my requested enhancements/changes to make plotting property boundaries in ExpertGPS easier:
1) Allow input and display of Quadrant bearings (e.g N48:36:15W). It could be a new user selectable Bearing "Units of Measure" under Preferences.
2) Allow rotation of Routes, Tracks, Shapes, and their associated waypoints.
3) Add Chains and Rods to Distance Units of Measure (Preferences and Project Waypoint).
4) Allow user to specify the unit of measure for Area (Preferences). What defaults to Acres currently I might want to see in Square Feet or Hectares and visa versa.
5) Permit more precision to be displayed in the list view for Area, Distances, and Bearings. Currently, Bearings are shown only to the nearest degree, although "Project Waypoint" seems to accept hundredths of a degree or more.
6) Holding down the space bar and the mouse button temporarily invokes the hand (panning) map tool. When the space bar is released, the previously selected map tool is restored.