Best Practices for Mapping Water / Sewer lines

As I’m sure is common, my current schematics consist of hand drawn notes, some professional drawings, and tribal knowledge of managers.
Does anyone have a great system for getting these all into one cohesive map? My thought was to scan all my documents and look on Upwork for someone to convert to AutoCAD, but wanted to check here if anyone has other ideas (short of hiring an engineering company to do a full-on drawing set)

So far, my primitive way of tracking anything I learn of the “underneath” of the property:

Using googlemaps or the aerial view that the county has for parcels, save the property aerial view as a file.

Using (or your favorite drawing software) I changed the aerial view into a pencil drawing.

Then using different colors I could mark where water lines, septic tanks, septic drain lines, property boundaries.

It gives me the basics and if I need to print it for someone it’s not the best quality but it’s something to start.

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@Novice11 that’s not a bad first step and at least digitized. Google maps is very accurate in terms of home placement. There may also be an option using Google Earth to do something like you explained….

Interested to see if any of the larger operators here can chime in too

During due diligence we fly a drone mission to capture about 200 to 500 images and we stitch them together using Maps Made Easy software. This results in a very large photograph of the whole community that is accurate to about 0.5 inch (depending on altitude flown). This is much more accurate than Google Earth. Also, Google is sometimes years out of date and is covered in trees. We like to fly the drone in the winter when leaves fall so we can see all structures.

For utilities, we indicate them with flags, orange disks (frisbees), etc., at any exposed point (risers, meter pits, etc.) so the drone captures them. Then we send the scale image to a CAD operator to trace a cad file. The final drawing has layers showing lot boundaries, existing homes, planned future homes, roads and concrete, utility schematics, etc.

All of this can be done with a $1500 drone and the overseas CAD operator has been relatively inexpensive. Stitching the images on Maps Made Easy is under $20, so the cost is cheaper than a surveyor.


What an awesome idea with the drone and stitcher. I was going to use a CAD person off Upwork to create the various layers that you described, but was missing that up-front step. I really appreciate you sharing.