Chuck Karayan began surveying in 1963. Since then his career in public and private practice has taken him from the deserts of southern Arizona to the forests of northwestern Washington. He is licensed in Oregon and California, is a Contributing Writer for The American Surveyor magazine, and teaches courses on water boundaries for the University of Wyoming – Outreach Credit Programs.
Academically trained as an Earth Scientist/Geographer, Chuck attended the University of San Fernando Valley, College of Law. For over 25 years, his career has focused on boundary and land title matters as a manager and expert witness.
In addition to authoring texts and professional papers, he has been active in formal and continuing education of surveyors, realtors, and attorneys since 1978. Chuck retired as the Chief of Training in the Office of Land Surveys for the California Department of Transportation. Previous service includes: County Surveyor in Clark County, Washington; Survey Operations Manager for Marx & Chase, Gresham, Oregon; and Regional Property Engineer of the Southern Pacific Railroad, Los Angeles, California. He also directed the Land Surveyor's Training Center in Phoenix, Arizona. Since retirement from CalTrans, Chuck formed and is now the president of GeoLex, a consulting practice specializing in boundary and title litigation.
Creating and Transferring Rights in Real Property (full day)
This basic–to–intermediate level seminar covers the concept and nature of real property titles and the various rights and interests therein. The course discusses deed forms used in conveyancing and the differences between them. It also discusses the requirements of a valid conveyance, the legal descriptions used and the priorities of title resulting from conveyance and recordation.
Evidence, Exhibits and Testimony – Boundaries and Beyond (full day)
This intermediate–to–advanced level seminar provides an overview of the Law of Evidence, civil lawsuits, trial processes, and professional practices. Legal concepts and terminology are discussed within the context that they arise. The seminar can be thought of as having three parts:
- basic concepts and the Rules of Evidence
- application of the concepts and rules within the context of our profession, and
- Forensic Surveying practice.
The course discusses and explores areas of professional practice that can help to increase productivity and reduce potential liability, as well as improve service to the client. The goal is to provide practical tools to assist participants in being a more effective witness/surveyor.
This seminar is based on the Federal Rules of Evidence.
Legal Descriptions (half day)
This basic–level seminar covers writing and interpreting legal descriptions used in conveyances and other documents. The seminar focuses on the ten fundamental forms of property descriptions, with a detailed explanation and illustration of each. The course stresses the need for adequate research and discusses some of the more common sources of documentary evidence.
Measurements, Monuments, and Maps (full day)
This intermediate–to–advanced level seminar covers the interrelationship and weighting of evidence (measurements, monuments, and maps) in the analysis of boundary determination. It also covers the use of such evidence in creating boundaries as distinguished from reestablishing them. The course discusses accuracy versus precision, error theory and adjustment techniques as well as real property corners and the monuments used to mark them, all from an evidentiary, i.e. non–mathematical, point of view. Examples and illustrations are used in the process.
Public Land Survey System Descriptions – Theory and Reality (half day)
This intermediate-level seminar covers sections, their subdivision (aliquot parts) and “government” lots. The course focuses on the distinctions between nominal sections (described in the Manual), original sections (created by the Township Plat), and resurveyed sections (resulting from subsequent BLM and private surveys). It also discusses the description and conveyance of aliquot and proportional parts as well as “private sections” (within Ranchos).
Public Land Survey System – The General Plan and Original Surveys (half day)
This basic–level seminar provides an overview of the fundamentals of the PLSS. It covers the order of survey from Initial Points, to Standard Lines, to Quadrangles, to Townships, and ultimately to Sections. The course discusses the Township Plats and Field Notes produced from the original surveys as well as the aliquot parts, Lots, Tracts, Parcels and Land Claims shown on the Township Plat. It also discusses the meandering of waterbodies and the acceptable tolerances applicable to original surveys.
Streets and Rights–of–Way (half day)
This intermediate–level seminar covers the methods by which streets and other rights–of–way are created and the quality of title acquired thereby. It also covers the methods by which such rights are terminated. Throughout the discussion, problems affecting the street (R/W) and adjoining owners are illustrated and potential solutions discussed.
Title, Location, and Water Boundary Problems in the PLSS (full day)
This intermediate–to–advanced level seminar covers the primary title of the US Government, Grants by prior sovereigns, and reservations and exceptions in original patents. It also covers future interests such as Homesteads and Mineral Claims, and Adverse Possession and claims adverse to the United States. These concepts are then related to boundary problems encountered by the practicing surveyor.
The course discusses various types of GLO/BLM surveys (original, retracement, dependent and independent resurveys, correction and completion); existing, obliterated and lost monuments; criteria for accepting or rejecting found monuments; and proportionate reestablishment of lost monuments.
The course also discusses basic riparian rights, the term navigability as applied in the PLSS, the ownership of islands, and the public–private boundary when the meander line and the water itself are significantly different.
Water Boundaries (full day)
This intermediate–to–advanced level seminar covers the historic, scientific and legal relationships of tidal datums, navigability, public ownership of the bed, and private boundaries. Specific topics include the Ordinary High/Low Water Mark, the “thread of the stream”, accretion and avulsion, floodplains, wetlands, Swamp and Overflowed lands, and grants from prior sovereigns.
This seminar is based on the common law of America but it notes situations where federal and or state laws differ.
Water Boundaries in California (half day)
This intermediate–to–advanced-level seminar covers the historic development of the public ownership of navigable waterbeds, the public–private boundary, and the Public Trust Doctrine. The course discusses the scientific and legal relationships of tidal datums, the Ordinary High Water Mark, Swamp and Overflowed Lands, and the various definitions of navigability. It also discusses the effect of natural and artificial accretions and Spanish/Mexican Rancho water boundaries.
This seminar is focused on California law and how it differs from the common law discussed in most of the “standard texts” of the profession, as well as from Federal law.
When is a Fence a Fence and When is it a Boundary? (full day)
This intermediate–level seminar covers the relationship between the occupation and ownership of real property. It discusses the legal concepts of Adverse Possession, Prescription, Boundary Line Agreements, and Parol Agreements. It also discusses the equitable concepts of Recognition and Acquiescence, and Estoppel. These legal and equitable concepts are then related to evidence commonly used by surveyors in making boundary determinations based on the record legal and/or unwritten title to real property.