Survey -distance & bearings

Landscape architects will often get information about property lines and site boundary information in survey form – notation in distances and bearings.

YouTube movie A small movie showing distances and bearings being used to create an accurate base map.

This format is not utilized on landscape drawings, so some modification needs to be done to gCADPlus drawing settings to enable this capability.

Select UNITS from the format drop down menu.

  • In the Length Type list box, make sure that Decimal is selected
  • In the Output Precision list box, leave blank.
  • In the Anglular Type list box, select Surveyor’s Units.
  • Make sure that direction is set to counter clockwise.
  • Pick the OK button to exit the Drawing Units dialog box.


  • Use the LINE command or preferably the PLINE command to start drafting the boundary, and utilizing relative polar coordinates to specify the points.
  • The syntax for the relative polar coordinate and angle is as follows:
  • Enter the @ sign first, which means that it is relative to the last point.
  • Next comes the distance.
  • The distance is entered in decimal units.
  • Next comes the < symbol which specifies that the distance is at a polar angle from the last point.
  • Last is the bearing.
  • The bearing will always begin and end with a direction – N,E,S, or W.
  • The actual angle will include degrees (D), minutes (‘), and seconds (“) and must include the appropriate symbols after the number.
  • An example is @120.25<N30D10’15”E.


Enter the following information by typing on keyboard exactly as shown:

(Pick a point with the cursor to start the line)

Adapted from


Site Boundaries with Bearing and Distance in AutoCAD Architecture