Choosing the Right Survey Monument

Surveyors have been using metal monuments to mark land boundaries and establish control points for over a century. Today, their task remains largely the same, yet the quality and quantity of tools at their disposal has increased significantly.

Better materials, more functional design and stronger security features have all combined to make modern survey monuments leagues ahead of their earlier predecessors––presenting a variety of options to choose depending on the task at hand.


The following is a simple, straightforward guide summarizing the range of monument options available today along with helpful tips on which types of equipment will best serve you out in the field.

Before we dive in, a quick note about monument caps: Berntsen offers custom-stamped caps for all of its capped survey monuments, which can be ordered directly through the product pages under the "Customize" tab. Click here to see how it works for our Standard Pipe Monuments. Simply enter the text to be displayed on the inner and outer rows and select the desired center mark.


Standard Pipe Monuments


Standard Pipe Monument

The 30” standard aluminum pipe monument with cast aluminum base has become a favorite among federal, state and county surveyors for its improvements over the federal “regulation” monument.


In particular, it features a stronger base to add horizontal stability while aluminum rivets ensure the cap and base are held tightly to the pipe for long-term durability.


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Flarable Pipe Monuments


Flarable Pipe MonumentThese monuments are comprised of aluminum, iron, or stainless steel pipes with four split legs at the base for a self-supporting anchor. Survey caps can be fit to the inside or outside diameter at the top of the pipe, affixed with a permanent ceramic marker for easy location.


Berntsen’s selection of Flarable Pipe Monuments are designed to meet the requirements of government corners, resembling the “Regulations Iron Pipe Monument” found in Chapter IV-7 of the Manual of Instructions For The Survey of The Public Lands of The United States.


  • Notch Base Monument Alternative


For those interested in flaring the pipe base in the field, the aluminum and iron models both feature notched alternatives. These can be flared to varying degrees using a simple crescent wrench or vice grip.


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Drive-In Survey Monuments & Wetland Monuments


For marking and surveying projects in areas not suited for traditional monuments, drive-in flange, wetland, and drive-in piston monuments are a viable alternative.


All of these options are manufactured in metallurgically-matched combinations for the longest life possible in difficult terrain. Lightweight and easy to transport, these monuments are particularly easy to install by hand or with simple driving tools. For situations where locating markers is particularly difficult, these monuments can be found through magnetic location.


For projects requiring a larger cap size, the optional G2 Tap-on Cap offers a 3-1/4" (83mm) stamping surface––the same found on the monuments with larger pipe diameters). It is orbitally formed from solid series 6000 aluminum. The optional cap is tapped onto the pipe after the monument is driven into the ground. Specially designed serrations and a unique rim design help lock the Tap-On Cap to the G1 Drive-in Piston Monument or G1BR Aluminum Drive-in Breakaway Monument driving cap.


  • Stainless Steel Drive-in Monument with flange


Stainless Steel Drive-In MonumentThe flange monument is a 30" drivable 9/16" stainless steel rod with 1½" diameter forged bronze cap. It features a welded stainless steel flange that anchors the monument firmly in the ground with a powerful magnet installed on top of the rod.


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  • Wetland Monument


Wetland Survey MonumentsThese drivable aluminum monuments are designed for use in wetlands, swamps, riverbanks and lake shores––anywhere a substantial monument is needed and digging a hole is impossible due to constant water cover.


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  •  Drive-in Piston Monument


Drive-In Piston MonumentThese all-aluminum "G" Series monuments are sturdy, lightweight, and much easier to install than concrete-bound monuments, requiring only driving by hand in most soils. Piston monuments are perfect for surveys where speed of installation is a main concern. All drive-in monuments include magnets to aid location with a magnetic locator, and all can be customized to your specifications.


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FENO Drivable Anchored Survey Monuments

FENO survey monumentThe FENO anchored survey marker system offers a unique solution to surveyors who want to use a small, easy-to-drive, quality galvanized steel survey marker. These super-secure monuments require no digging and are as easy to drive in as any rod monument. The markers’ unique “root” system securely anchors it to the ground following a simple 6-step installation process.


Using a hammer and inexpensive driving and fixing tools, the marker can be installed in all soil types in just a matter of minutes.


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Sectional Rod Monuments


The patented rotating sectional rod monument concept originated with Berntsen in the mid-1970's and has since developed into a wide variety of products. Although the rod monument can be used for nearly any type of survey, it was designed to meet the requirements of survey projects that involve a high degree of precision.


Rod monuments and markers are often used for vertical control work and are also used for GIS/LIS. Rods are usually driven deeply into the ground to the point of refusal.


These monuments consist of a series of sectional rods available in 1 foot (305 mm) to 5 foot (1524 mm) lengths, in even, foot-length increments. The rods are coupled together with a floating thread that aligns and connects the rods. Additional sections can be added to achieve the required depth or stability of the monument.


  • Simple Rod Monuments

Simple Rod MonumentBerntsen's sectional rod monuments are available in 6000 series aluminum or 304 series stainless steel, which are driven into the ground until they reach refusal or when it is considered they have reached stable ground. They are capped with a bronze domed cap which can be tapped straight onto the rod. Rods can be cut at any stage if refusal is reached and plastic color-coded end caps (9/16" (14mm) identify and protect the ends, threaded bore, or connecting threaded stud.


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  •  Top Security Sleeve Rod Monuments


Top Security Sleeve MonumentBerntsen's exclusive Top Security™ Sleeve 3-Dimensional Rod Monument System is specifically designed for high-precision geodetic and GPS surveys. The unique Y-shaped design of the Top Security Sleeve adds the second and third dimension by eliminating most of the direct transfer of shifts in movement from ground level or surface movement. Simply drive standard Berntsen round rods to refusal, slip on the grease-filled finned Top Security Sleeve (recommended sleeve length greater than maximum recorded local frost depth), backfill around the fins with sand, and tamp firmly.


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  • Top Security Rod Monuments


Top Security Rod MonumentThese are exactly the same as the rod monuments, except that, for the top section a security rod with three aluminum fins is used to increase the stability of the mark. All sections of the monument, including the top security section can be driven straight into the soil or the top section can be isolated from the topsoil. All components are metallurgically-matched for resistance to corrosion and a unique solid aluminum "Y" shaped Top Security finned rod provides added horizontal stability.


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Extendable Highway Monuments


Extendable Highway Survey MonumentBerntsen’s extendable highway monuments were designed specifically to meet the needs of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation for a lightweight, compact monument offering good stability and permanence in concrete. These monuments were developed for roadways in particular and can be extended upward as new pavement overlays are added.


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Break-Off Pipe Monuments


Break-Off Pipe MonumentBreak-off pipe monuments are designed to break at a predetermined point in case the monument is disturbed or vandalized––even if the entire pipe removed. They are available in three models, all featuring a high-strength permanent ceramic magnet in the base for easy re-location.


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Have questions about finding the right survey marker for your project? Contact us today to learn more about our selection of survey marking products, or request a catalog.