Geodetic Survey Marker

You Might be a Land Surveyor If…

You might be a Land Surveyor if you spend your vacations spotting surveying monuments and sending pictures back to the office. Locating the corners everywhere just gets in the blood, I suspect, and you can’t turn that off even when taking a little well-deserved R & R.
Las Vegas Survey Marker

While family and friends are enjoying the sights above street level (cathedrals, sunsets, eagles, and such), the surveyor is prone to abrupt stops in the middle of the pavement (like Pokemon Go players, way ahead of their time)!  After traveling with a surveyor, you’ll find yourself seeing caps, monuments, even an 80d galvanized nail pinning down a tiny piece of orange flagging, everywhere you go!

Grand Canyon Survey Marker
Majestic view of the Grand Canyon
Boston Survey Monument
Please come to Boston, but Do Not Disturb!
Hess Triangle NYC
Hess Triangle: Tiniest real estate parcel in NYC








If your co-workers are coming back from vacations with scenic postcards, instead of pictures like these, they are definitely not surveyors!

Heat Wave

It Ain’t the Heat, it’s the…

Who am I kidding?  It most definitely is the heat!  And the humidity isn’t helping either!!!

Surveying in Central Texas, especially in July and August, means day after day of triple digits and humidity.  (On the bright side, the mosquitoes and snakes seem to retreat from the oppressive heat).

The field crew-members protect themselves as much as possible with long-sleeves, hats, sunscreen, sports drinks and the iconic orange Igloo of ice water.

Igloo Cooler & Ice
(the surveyor’s trusted friend)

The summer heat is definitely a test of endurance, but I rarely hear our surveyors complain about our Texas weather.  Austin averages over 300 days of sunshine a year…we lose very few surveying days each year to rain (and only 2-3 per decade to ice and snow).  Is it any wonder that we have one of the strongest economies in the U.S.?

Contact us today to get your project started…we’ll bring the ice.


Survey Crew Safety Sign

Those Guys in the Road

When I tell people that I work for a surveying company, their minds typically picture a room full of people wearing telephone headsets, calling to ask how they would rate their experience with XYZ Car Dealership.

When I clarify by saying, “no, a LAND surveying company”, they generally respond with something like, “oh, those guys in the road.  What are they doing there?”.

The short answer is, “all kinds of things”.  They might be researching boundary information related to ownership of the property nearby, or the easements held by the local utility.  Maybe they are collecting elevations and other topographic data for the engineers who are designing the roadway improvements, or establishing benchmarks that the construction crews will reference during the project.

Those guys in the road are pretty versatile!

Thank you for watching out for our cones, signs, and orange safety vests…our equipment costs tens of thousands of dollars, but our crew-members are irreplaceable!


Texas Weather

Every Picture Tells a Story

I sent a company-wide email asking for our surveyors to send pictures from the field for me to share on our website.

WOW!  I found out that I had absolutely no idea what life on a survey crew was really like…none at all!!

Some of their photos show obstacles they might encounter on an average day in Texas:

Even on a Monday, I haven’t had to deal with cows, cranky land-owners or rattlesnakes in the office (thank you!).

On the other hand, I’m also missing out on some pretty amazing nature scenes that the field crews see on a regular basis:

Not too many workplaces have views like these, even from the corner office!

I can’t look at these pictures without feeling just a little jealous, but I have to remind myself about how hard they work in the hot summer, cold winter, and rainy spring!  (Also they start really early in the morning).  I’ll have to think twice about turning in my keyboard for a chainsaw, but it is a little tempting!  Maybe they’ll invite me to ride along on some perfect October day…



Why Chaparral?

CHAPPY CHRISTMASFounder Robert Watts, RPLS has been asked many times in the past twenty-one years why he chose “Chaparral” for the name of his company.  His answer is always something along the lines of “I just liked the way it sounded”.  (And no, the Chaparral was not his high school mascot).

Starting in 1995 with a single employee, Robert’s vision was for a much larger operation, a company that would offer complete surveying support for land development projects.  He didn’t really consider any names along the lines of “Watts Surveying”; he wanted a name that would give clients a feel for our willingness to take on large commercial projects in Central Texas, and beyond.

We grew into our name, and have ±35 employees (10-12 field crews) at any given time working on projects from Liberty to Junction, Dallas to McAllen!

The word Chaparral describes a southwestern ecosystem, and is also the nickname of the Roadrunner bird native to that environment.roadrunner

And like our namesake, we are fast, scrappy, and well-adapted to the surveying needs of the design professionals of Central Texas!