Exploring recreational property with GPS

by Rod Osterloh, Close~Converse, Minnesota

Only a few years ago, it was rare to have a client ask for the coordinates to a property. But now, it’s one of the most requested pieces of  information when we talk to those interested in buying land. A Global Positioning System (GPS) is no longer considered a “rich man’s toy.” It’s available for a relatively low cost, and is on most wireless phones and tablet devices.

Google Maps, Google Earth and other mapping services have made visualizing and getting to a specific location easier than ever with turn-by-turn directions.

While some enjoy a guided tour, many of our clients like to explore properties themselves. So in that case, we put GPS coordinates on all our property information (with a disclaimer that the coordinates are only approximate) and make ourselves available as needed for any questions or repeat visits.

Local, county and state governments are even utilizing Global Information Systems (GIS) and adding public access to their websites. Those looking at a particular piece of land can look it up online, see the approximate parcel lines and parcel data, taxes, topography and lots of other information pertaining to the land. Overall, online GIS’s make it easier to get valid information, input that into a GPS device and go to that location on the ground. Most GPS’s are reasonably accurate but, remember, they don’t take the place of a survey by a registered surveyor before a purchase is final.

In North Central Minnesota, we work with a number of counties that have online GIS. Several sites to explore are: Cass County  or Crow Wing County.

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