A boundary marker, border marker, boundary stone or border stone is a robust physical marker that identifies the start of a land boundary or the change in a boundary, especially a change in direction of a boundary. There are several other types of named border markers, known as pillars, obelisks and corners. Border markers can also be markers through which a border line runs in a straight line to determine that border. They can also be the markers from which a border marker has been fixed.
The ancient Greeks had boundary markers. Many borders were created as the invisible lines of latitude or longitude, which often created a need to mark these borders on the ground, as closely as possible to these lines, using the available technology of the day. The advances in GPS technology proves that there are many inaccurately marked borders on the ground.
Boundary markers have often been used to mark critical points on boundaries between countries, states or local administrations but have also been used to mark out the limits of private land-holdings especially in areas where fences or walls are impractical or unnecessary.
Boundary markers may be used to mark property boundaries (land-ownership), or political boundaries. In developed countries use of markers for land-ownership has in many places been replaced by maps and land ownership registration. Boundary markers are not legal markers in Western countries and may have troublesome legal effects. However, boundary markers have legal meaning in Japan, and are generally installed across the country. Markers are still used extensively for marking international borders; international boundary markers are placed and can be maintained by mutual agreement of the bordering countries.
Boundary markers, traditionally, were often made of stone, but later many have been made with concrete or a mixture of materials. They are typically placed at a notable or especially visible point. Many are inscribed with relevant information such as the abbreviation of the boundary holder and often a date.
In Western Australia
The history of marking the Western Australian border on the ground states that the "Austral Pillar" and the "Deakin Pillar" are points used to determine their position east of Greenwich and then fix a border from, in this case used to determine the line of the 129th meridian east longitude, as the Western Australian border. The Deakin Obelisk and the Kimberley Obelisk in Australia are used in a slightly different way, in that a line is run north and south through a point on the obelisks, formed by a copper plug embedded into the top centre of the concrete obelisks. The "corners" in Australia, such as Cameron Corner, Haddon Corner, Poeppel Corner and Surveyor Generals Corner, are where multiple borders meet and change direction.
Examples of historic boundary markers
- Dreieckiger Pfahl, Germany
- Bai Sema (Thai: ใบเสมา) which delimit sacred areas
- Milestone, mile peg or kilometre sign is one of a series of numbered markers placed along a road or boundary at regular intervals, typically at the side of the road or in a median.
- Survey marker
- Triangulation station (Trig Point – Australia/NZ/UK)
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- Porter, John, Surveyor-General of South Australia (June 1990). "AN HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE – Longitude 129 degrees east, and why it is not the longest, straight line in the world". National Perspectives – 32nd Australian Surveyors Congress Technical Papers 31 March – 6 April 1990. Canberra: The Institution: Eyepiece – Official Organ of The Institution of Surveyors, Australia, W.A. Division. pp. 18–24.
- "Cadastral Information For GIS Specialists - Case Of The Misplaced Boundary Marker". Fairview-industries.com. Retrieved 2013-07-27.
- Civil Law 229; more information
- "1921 WA-NT Border Determinations". Kununurra Historical Society Inc. Retrieved 9 January 2012.