Definition of "Rod"

Steven Thames real estate agent
Steven Thames, Real Estate Agent RE/MAX United Real Estate

As you’d expect, the rod has various meanings in everyday discourse. However, lesser-known is that surveyors use a rod as a land survey measurement for real estate. In a nutshell, a rod defines a distance of 16.5 feet or approximately 5 meters (5.029 to be more precise.)

Discover the history of a rod

The word rod comes from the original ‘rodd’, which shows similarities with the Old Scandinavian ‘rudda’, meaning ‘club’. It’s interesting to note that linguistically the term is connected to the Dutch ‘rood’. However, a ‘rood’ determined a land surface of forty square rods, which, in its turn, amounts to a one-quarter acre in real estate. Then, again, it equals around 10.9 square feet or 1.01 square meters. Besides, the term stood for one square rod, converted 25.29 square meters or 272.25 square feet.

The imperial British introduced the term ‘rood’ for accurately measuring plots. They apply a rod with slight modifications from nine to 28 feet, converted from approximately 2.75 to 8.53 meters. Did you know that the Engish called the term rod a ‘pole’ or a ‘perch’? Additionally, they used a rod as a linear unit outlining a distance of 660 feet or 201.2 meters. 

Nevertheless, the British decided to gradually eliminate the term as alegal unit starting from 1965.


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The rod’s modern-day use in the US

In the United States, they established the rod’s definition based on the values pre-1959 as units in linear measurement. In 1959, they confirmed that the yard is the fundamental unit of length in the Imperial System. You should also know that some US states kept the rod in use with their pre-1959 values. 

For sure, you won’t encounter the rod as a widely used term. Still, certain domains employ it, such as recreational canoeing. There, they use maps to measure the transportation of canoes, and they use rods as units. One canoe equals about one rod. In addition, sellers and buyers apply rods in pipeline easements when they refer to purchasing an easement “price per rod.” 

Land and real estate measure in rods

In Vermont, they measure the state’s and towns’ trails and roads in rods. Therefore, the default right-of-way size is 3 rods equalling 59.6 feet or 15 meters. 

In America, you can find rods in the older statutory descriptions concerning tracts of land, following in the footsteps of the metes and bounds land survey system.

Land surveyors often use a perch and rood to measure an area, as we indicated before. 

One perch equals 16.5 feet and 5.5 yards.

A square perch equals a square rod and 30.25 square yards (or 25.29 square meters.)

A rood equals forty square perches.

One hundred sixty square perches are equal to an acre.

Though square perch and square pole are the more accurate terms, they still refer to the rod as a pole or perch.

Whatdoes a measuring rod mean?

You’ll find the rod as a concrete measuring (mostly round) instrument to precisely assess a surface’s extent, such as its length. Let’s suppose you wish to have your property’s total area examined before your home inspection. First of all, contact a professional land surveyor! You will see that they’ll be using the measuring rod, a smooth board, or a square-sectioned tool. Generally, they assign a measuring rod with numbers at distinct intervals to correctly measure land.

Confusing terminology as in rod vs. ROD (Register of Deeds)

At the Register of Deeds, you can record or file particular documents. As a result, they establish a public record defining property ownership before a housing transaction.

Typically, a centralized government location hosts the ROD.

Contact the local real estate agents for additional details about rod as a unit and the register of deeds!

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