An ALTA survey is a boundary survey prepared to a set of minimum standards that have been jointly prepared and adopted by the American Land Title Association and the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping(ALTA/ACSM). The ALTA surveys specifically designed to satisfy the needs of lenders, corporations, and title companies when dealing with valuable properties. The ALTA/ACSM Survey standards can be downloaded here. Additionally, the ALTA survey shows improvements, easements, rights-of-way, and other elements impacting the ownership of land. The ALTA Survey is often prepared for commercial properties, as it will provide the title company with the information required to insure the title to the land and improvements to the high degree that a commercial development may require. In addition to the minimum standards set forth, a table of optional elements is included in the ALTA/ACSM standards. A careful review of the elements from the optional "Table A" is helpful in delineating a clear scope of the land surveyor's services.
A current title commitment is required before the ALTA Survey can be completed. The surveyor will refer to the title commitment for the legal description of the property and for the legal description of any encumbrances (exceptions). Areas of ownership, improvements and encumbrances will be shown graphically.