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By Surveyor Akindele Gbadamosi

Surveying is defined as taking a general view of by observation and measurement determinig the boudaries, size, position ,quantity ,condition value etc of land estates, building,farms etc and finally presting the survey data in a suitable form.this covers the work of the estate surveyor,the quantity surveyor,the builder, the mining survyor as well as land surveyor.

What is land surveying? Is the techiques, profession,  the science and art of determinig the  3dimesion of point and the distance and angles between them.this points are usually on the surface of the earth and they are ofte used to establish maps and boudaries for ownership, location of subsurface features or other purposes required by goverment or civil law such as property sales.

Surveying has been an element in the development of the human evironment since the beginnig of the recorded history.

The process of surveying is therefore in three stages

  1. Taking a general view
    this part of the definition is importat as it idicates the eed to otai a overal picture of what is required before any type of survey work is undertaken. In land surveying this is achieved during reconaissace study
  2. Observation and measurement

This  part of the definition denotes the next stage of any survey which in land survey constitute the measuremnet to determine the relative position and size of natural and artificial features on the land.

  • Presentation of data

The data collected in any survey  must be presented in a form which allows the information to be clearly interpreted and understood by others .this presentation may take the form of written reports , maps and plan showing the faetures on the land.


Topographic surveying :this is for depicting the hills valleys moutains rivers and man made features ( road, houses, ssttlemets on the surface of the earths

Cadastral survey:is used to determing property boundaries including those of field, houses plots of land.

Engineerig surveyig is used to acquired dta for plaig desig ad executio of enginering projects like roads bridges canals dams railways buildigs

Hydrograhic survey:this are surveys of large water bodies for navigation tidal monitoring the construction of harbours.

                          LAND MEASUREMENTS

In Nigeria today, there are two standards of measurement used – the imperial (Feet; Acres) and the metric (Metres; Hectares). Artisans, omo oniles and tradesmen understand the imperial system (inches and feet) while professionals and highly lettered people tend to converse in the S.I units (mm, cm, meters). These measurements are dynamic as they can be affected by several factors ranging from environmental to human factors.

Standards and Measurements


A plot is an arbitrary term used to describe a land division made in a particular area by the developers or government for the purpose of building or farming.

According to Nigeria’s land division,60x 120ft is the appropriate size for a plot of land suitable for a house construction that can accommodate a standard house with a small compound. This size can vary for different reasons.

For a better understanding of Land divisions used in Nigeria, let consider the different units of measurements used as follows: Hectares (ha)

A Square Meters

On the Commercial / Industrial Building Construction Site: Professional Engineer Surveyor Takes Measures with Theodolite, Worker Uses Laptop. In the Background Skyscraper Formwork Frames and Crane

This is the muiltiplication of the length and breadth of a particular land measuring (60*120ft) which is (18.3* 36.6m) 669.78sqm

A hectare

measuring 100m x 100m Or 328ft x 328ft Or 10,000sqm,  is the least known metric unit. It is about two and a half acres consisting of 15 plots. Prospective buyers and Estate developers often times are at loggerheads on what the unit should be.


An acre, almost the equivalent of a standard football field,  is the standard unit of measurement popularly used by land sellers. It is the product of any rectangular plot of land giving a total of 4,014sqm Or 13169.29ft. An acre consists of 6 plots each measuring 60 x 120ft.  One Acre is roughly 40% of a hectare.

Variations in Measurements

Land location, possession, and circumstances leading to a transaction have been the major factors for the variations in measurements seen in land sizes in Nigeria.

Initially, plots were approximately 1000sqm but as prices for land went up you get the same quote per plot but this can be 400sqm or less in government reserved areas in Lagos, Kano, Kaduna and few other states.

In Lagos State, the standard size of a plot is 60 x 120ft (18.3m x 36.6m i.e. 669sqm), while in some other cities of the country, plots are measured in 50 x100ft.

In highbridge homes limited, plots allocated come in different sizes one full plots is (17.6m by 34.1m) (57.743 fts y 111.876 fts). In which the total is 600sqm.

Corner pieces plot is 620sqm which is (18.1m by 34.3m) (59.38 fts by112.53fts )

It is general language and half-informed professionals that use plot loosely to mean any delineated parcel of land. But as far as real property is concerned the above holds true. Anything higher is the surveyor wounding seller, anything less is wounding the buyer.

 Sizes and Purchase Considerations in Nigeria

Due to variations in size, a plot can be 648Sqm or 850Sqm or 1,200Sqm. One should always make it top priority to ask the land vendor what the size of the plot for sale is in Square Metres before proceeding with any transaction.

It is important to be conscious of the shape of the piece to be purchased so as not to buy a slanted/ Inclined one. The more square in shape, the better the use.

There are government gazettes for certain areas so buy land only through a surveyor. It is advised is to buy land in an estate, to avoid some Government and indigenes [omo-nile] issues.

For plots that may not be rectangular, it is crucial to take the surface area of the plot. Either you do your measurements from the map of the area physically or you get the actual dimensions from the plan, always make sure the values are same with what the seller offers you. It is advised to measure the land as against to taking the face value from the seller.

So when buying land, visit the place, take a tape measure and determine the surface area of Square meters then divide by 10,000 to know whether what is indicated on the title deed/Certificate of the lease is correct (Usually appears in Ha.)

On legality and documents; if it is a Certificate of Lease as opposed to Title Deed for freehold land, check how many years are remaining on the lease before committing your money, mortgage companies are very particular on this one.

The location should also be considered. Usually, access road tends to reduce the overall available land area.

                                    BASIC DOCUMENT FOR LAND OWNERSHIP

One of the most important ways of laying claim to owership as well as landed properties transaction is by having titles documents that are relevant and recognized by various government status and laws on such land and landed properties.


SURVEY PLAN :A survey plan is a document that measures the boundary of a parcel of land to give a accurate measurement and description of that land. A survey plan must contain the following information


A typical survey plan shows the following information

  1. The title of the survey (name of the owner)
  2. The location of the land
  3. The area of the land
  4. The boundary of the land
  5. The boundary beacons
  6. Bearing to the nearest minutes and distances in meters to the nearest second decimal place
  7. The plan number
  8. Orientation and coordinates
  9. The surveyor address, seal, signature and date.

DEED OF ASSIGNMENT : this is very important document that must be demanded for and given to a purchaser after conlusion of any land /property transaction between such purchaser/buyer and the owner/seller of the land/landed property in question.A deed of assignment therefore is an aggreement where assignor states his promise that from the date of the  assignment or any date stipulated therein,the assignor asssigs his ownership in that land to the assignee. The deed contains very pertinet  information for a real estate spells out the date when the ownership of the property transfer from one owner to the other.the deed also gives a specific description of the property that is included in the transfer of ownership.

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