An ALTA real estate survey (or ACSM Survey) is a land survey prepared in accordance with the standards adopted by the American Land Title Association and the National Society of Professional Surveyors (a member organization of the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping). The most recent version of these standards was adopted in 2005.
An ALTA real estate survey is generally more detailed than any other type of drawing or survey of real property, and as such, typically costs more than other types of land surveys or depictions. It is typically prepared with respect to commercial or complex residential properties during the due diligence phase of a real estate transaction to meet the requirements of title companies, lenders and purchasers in determining whether to insure title to, finance or purchase the subject property. Survey review by qualified real estate counsel is critical for most real property acquisitions. Depending on the size of the property and various other issues which may be involved, an ALTA survey could take two or more weeks to prepare and should, therefore, be ordered as soon as possible during the due diligence period.
The following is a link to the current ALTA/ACSM survey standards and the Table A list of optional survey responsibilities and specifications: