After the infrastructure upgrade I mentioned in the last post, the increased speed of the maps enabled me to add much more detail to the very very large map layers (over 12 Gigabytes!) that comprise the Public Land Survey System (PLSS), also known as Section, Township and Range.
When you open the tool, you will now be presented with a Google Map overlaid with township and range lines, including labels, such as this:
Note the Township and Range labels above. For example, the box where the red dot is has a label “14N 67W” which is shorthand for “Township 14 North, Range 67 West”. (Note: If you get a message that says “Area not covered” when you open the tool, then you’re looking in an area that doesn’t use the PLSS)
As you zoom in, progressively more detail and labels will appear, such as the Section numbers shown here:
And if you zoom in REALLY close on one township, you will even see the quarter quarter sections and their labels. In this example, we can see the red dot in a box labeled “NENW”, which is shorthand for “NE quarter of the NW quarter” of section 36:
Head spinning? Click for a primer on what the PLSS / Section Township Range system is all about, including which states use the system (which is most states outside of the original thirteen colonies).
TIPS and reminders for how to use the Section Township Range on Google Maps tool:
1. Search for any address, city, place or even GPS coordinates by using the “Search places” box above the map:
The panel above the map will show it’s section, township and range, such as when I typed “Pikes Peak, Colorado” and got this information:
2. If you know a Section, Township and Range you want to find (for example, from an old deed such as BLM Land Patent records or a current land description), use the “Find Parcel” panel below the map. TIP: If you don’t know the Section number, just leave it blank.
In this example, I specified Township 4 North, and Range 69 West, 6th Principal Meridian, Colorado, then clicked “GO!” and got this map with the township highlighted in yellow:
If I had specified a Section number, the map would have zoomed in all the way and highlighted the section:
TIP to speed up entering info into the Find Parcel panel: Use the TAB key to move between boxes, and type the first letter of each drop-down (e.g. type S for South, type C twice for Colorado). Click “GO!” when you’re done entering info.
3. Geeky fun: If you want to know what Township, Range and Section you’re in right now, use the ⊕ button in the upper right corner of the map!
4. As always, share this tool with friends that might find it valuable!
Remember, the Township Range Section map layers are VERY large (did I mention they’re over 12 Gigabytes?) and drawing time may sometimes take a while, especially if there are a lot of labels. So, on occasion the tool will require patience :)
Hope it helps you in your research!