William Warren

Land Survey Automation Challenge

Land Survey Automation Challenge

Significantly expedite real estate and financing transactions via an efficient, autonomous property survey system.
First submission to meet the requirements will win

Challenge Overview

The Problem

Can you disrupt an industry stuck in the stone age? Tech is sweeping across every single industry, turning traditional business models on their respective heads.

Next up? Land Surveys.

Can you bring drones, satellites, software engineering, or even harness pre-existing data to significantly expedite commercial real estate transactions?

Commercial real estate isn’t a “big” industry -- it’s massive. In fact, go ahead and take a guess.


Try again.

How about $15 trillion per year?

We’re talking global-economy-scale relevance, here.

Unfortunately, the process for completing these transactions is frustratingly antiquated. As a result, the wealth of time, money, and expertise needed is unthinkable.

 A notorious component of successful transaction is the boundary survey. Not only can these surveys take more than a month to complete, but they’re incredibly expensive (some can cost more than $5,000) and need to be conducted on-site.
..by a human.

But what if there was a better way to conduct a successful survey?

What if commercial real estate developers could conduct not just any survey, but an ALTA certified survey remotely, and at a fraction of the current market cost?

By channeling the power of tech, we want to make boundary surveys more accurate, less expensive, and capable of accelerating the process for real estate and real estate financing transactions.

TL;DR: we want a way to automate a full-blown ALTA survey.

Why does this problem exist?

Simply put: no survey, no title insurance. No title insurance, no real estate transaction.

In a world where almost everything else has been optimized, why hasn’t the boundary surveying process been automated? 

Boundary surveys are generally complex, with the ALTA type being particularly intricate. A surveyor has to actually travel to and explore the site, before reviewing title and actually plotting the survey (a process that can easily take more than a month) with title review alone taking 2 to 3 weeks.

Creating a solution capable of doing all this—of highlighting improvements, easements, encroachments, rights-of-way, and the various other elements of land ownership—isn’t for the faint of heart.

 ALTA is also a trade association, offering title insurance and providing licensing rights to surveyors who want to be certified to conduct an ALTA survey. As you might imagine, they’re invested in maintaining the status quo. This can equal pretty serious resistance to new technology perceived as a threat.

These two roadblocks are adding an entire month (at the very least!) to each and every commercial real estate transaction in the United States.

The Challenge Breakthrough

Through the limitless power of tech, our mission is to help commercial real estate modernize as so many other industries have already. We want to bring property development and investment into the 21st century by streamlining one of the most bloated components of any transaction.

What You Can Do To Cause A Breakthrough

  • Click ACCEPT CHALLENGE above to sign up for the challenge
  • Read the Challenge Guidelines to learn about the requirements and rules
  • Share this challenge on social media using the icons above. Show your friends, your family, or anyone you know who has a passion for discovery.
  • Start a conversation in our Forum to join the conversation, ask questions or connect with other innovators.
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Frequently Asked Questions

Check out this great resource for more information.

Yes, we have provided all innovators with a sample of an ALTA survey.

We recognize the significant burden of collecting historic land title information, as well as the importance of related documents to conduct a land survey. We are focusing all efforts of this prize on the technological progress and innovation specifically as it pertains to the land surveying component. As such, any leg work required for teams to acquire historical documents in order to perform a survey does not need to be calculated in the overall time or human intervention factors of this challenge.

In real estate business and law, a title search or property title search is the process of retrieving documents evidencing events in the history of a piece of real property, to determine relevant interests in and regulations concerning that property. In the case of a prospective purchase, a title search is performed primarily to answer three questions regarding a property on the market:

  1. Does the seller have a saleable interest in the property?
  2. What kind of restrictions or allowances pertain to the use of the land? These would include real covenants, easements and other equitable servitudes.
  3. Do any liens exist on the property which need to be paid off at closing? These would be mortgages, back taxes, mechanic's liens, and other assessments.

A title search is also performed when an owner wishes to mortgage his property and the bank requires the owner to insure this transaction.

Anyone may do a title search. Documents concerning conveyances of land are a matter of public record. These documents are maintained in hard copy paper format or sometimes scanned into image files. The information within the documents is typically not available as data format as the records are descriptions of legal events which contain terms, conditions, and language in excess of data.

The records are kept in a centralized government office, usually at the county courthouse (in states with strong county governments such as Washington State or Massachusetts, the title on the door would be something like Registrar of Deeds or County Recorder); or in the municipal offices (in small states such as Connecticut, Vermont, and Rhode Island), often the title searcher must go to each individual town or county office to research the title.


The process of a title search begins with searching for and retrieving each physical document from the books which contain them. Every document is recorded by date in a special set of volumes called by various names such as Grantor-Grantee index, Land Records or Deed Records), which may or may not be digitized or scanned into a searchable file, depending on the financial resources of the county or town. An official stamp located usually at the bottom of the first page gives the name of the recording official, date, time, book and page number. If the document has been recorded, this stamp will ALWAYS be there.

Right here

Innovators must complete all ALTA land surveys according to the requirements specified in Table A. HeroX has selected which requirements must be fulfilled in your land survey. Please see Table A.

All Challenge Surveys shall be conducted according to the “Minimum Standard Detail Requirements for ALTA/ACSM Land Title Surveys” as adopted by ALTA, ACSM and NSPS in 2016. Please find these requirements here.


No! Anyone can enter the Prototype phase, whether or not you participated in the Concept Phase.

Your submission will only be shared with HeroX, the Challenge Sponsor, and the Judging Panel with the exception of your Public Profile.

Your Public Profile will include your response to the following questions. Your responses to these questions will not be used by judges to evaluate your submission.


  1. Elevator Pitch: how does your solution aim to automate land surveys? (public)
  2. Please introduce yourself and, if applicable, your team members to the Land Survey Automation community (public)
  3. Define your areas of expertise and, if applicable, that of your team members (public)
  4. Would you be willing to merge with another team? (public)
  5. Would you welcome another individual on your team? (public)
  6. If you were to welcome a new team member, what would be the desired area of expertise? (public)
  7. Anything else you'd like to share with the AiLTA community? (public)

The Challenge seeks ideas from everyone. The whole point is to get solutions from non-traditional sources that perhaps the infrastructure policy community hasn’t already considered.

No. All submissions must be in English. Additionally, all challenge-related communication will be in English.

Yes, but it’s quick and easy. Just click the “Join Us” button at the top of the page and follow the instructions to complete your registration. All you need to provide is your name and email address.

If you have a question not answered in the FAQ, we recommend that you post it in the Forum where a moderator will respond to you. This way, others who may have the same question will be able to see it. Alternatively, you can contact the challenge creator by clicking the "send message" link beneath the William Warren Group logo to the right of the overview text on the Challenge Overview page.

All intellectual property rights will remain with the innovator. If the innovator is eligible for a Prize, they must agree to grant to the the Challenge Sponsor, William Warren Group (WWG) a royalty free, non-exclusive license in respect of all such intellectual property rights. Please see the Challenge-Specific Agreement for full details.

Post-prize activities may include efforts to commercialize the winning solution developed in the competition. The winning team has an opportunity for additional collaboration with William Warren Group, via a partnership to commercialize the winning technology. Exact terms will be mutually negotiated.

The Challenge Sponsor, William Warren Group (WWG), is a privately held, entrepreneurial real estate company that focuses on the development, acquisition and management of self storage properties across the nation.  Since its founding in 1994, WWG has established an industry wide reputation for building first class projects and operating its stores with integrity, professionalism and originality.  More information on WWG can be found at www.williamwarren.com or www.storquest.com