Surveying has been a vital part of the Land Office since the establishment of the agency in 1836.

Surveying determines the precise location of state-owned land and minerals, worth vast sums of money.  Land Office surveys define the boundaries of all Permanent School Fund land, all 254 Texas counties, and Texas itself. This includes 200,000 miles of boundary between private and state-owned properties along navigable streams and private uplands and state-owned submerged lands along the Texas Gulf Coast. Because state-owned land and minerals are very valuable to the taxpayers, accurate surveys are a vital part of the Land Office mission.

Vacancies & Excesses

A vacancy is a tract of unsurveyed, unsold public land located between original surveys usually due to a surveying error. Because this land is unsurveyed and not included in the original land grant, it still belongs to the people of Texas and is therefore defined by the Texas Constitution as being for the benefit of the Permanent School Fund.

By contrast, excess acreage within a titled or patented survey is an amount of acreage greater than that called for in the original grant or patent.  Just like vacancies, excess acres usually result from inaccurate surveying from the 1800s and early 1900s.  A modern survey of an original grant of land may reveal excess acreage in a particular survey.  Title to all or part of the original survey may be affected by the existence of the excess.