Public Land Survey System of the United States
Description | Spatial | Data Structure | Data Quality | Data Source | Data Distribution | Metadata
Description
Citation
Title: Public Land Survey System of the United States
Originators: U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher: U.S. Geological Survey
Publication place: Reston, VA
Publication date: 20101101
Data type: vector digital data
Description
Abstract:
This data set portrays the Public Land Surveys of the United States, including areas of private survey, Donation Land Claims, and Land Grants and Civil Colonies. This is a revised version of the January 2003 data set.
Purpose:
These data are intended for geographic display and analysis at the national level, and for large regional areas. The data should be displayed and analyzed at scales appropriate for 1:2,000,000-scale data. No responsibility is assumed by the U.S. Geological Survey in the use of these data.
Supplemental information:
All lands in the public domain are subject to subdivision by a rectangular system of surveys called the Public Land Survey System (PLSS), established and regulated by the Bureau of Land Management. The original public domain includes the land ceded to the Federal Government by the Thirteen Original States, supplemented with acquisitions from native Indians and foreign powers. It encompasses major portions of the land area of 30 western States. Under Congressional mandate, cadastral surveys of public lands were undertaken to create parcels suitable for disposal by the Government. The PLSS was developed for this purpose. The PLSS is a rectangular survey system that typically divides the land into 6-mile square townships, which are further subdivided into 1-mile square sections (the data in the National Atlas do not include section-level information). The extension of the rectangular system of surveys over the public domain has been in progress since 1785. These surveys form the basis of patents issued when public lands pass out of Federal ownership. Certain lands were excluded from the public domain and not subject to survey and disposal. These lands include the beds of navigable bodies of water, national installations such as military reservations and national parks, and areas such as land grants that had already passed to private ownership prior to subdivision by the Government. Data describing the PLSS is required by Federal surface and mineral management agencies, as well as any organization concerned with land ownership in the 30 western States that were formed from the public domain. Additionally, many agencies have encoded natural resource or environmental inventory data based on the PLSS.
Time Period of Data
Beginning date: 19720101
Ending date: 20020101
Currentness reference:
Ground Condition
Status
Data status: Complete
Update frequency: Irregular
Key Words
Theme:
Keywords: PLSS, Unsurveyed Area, Range, Public Land Survey System, Civil Colonies, Land Grants, Private Survey, Donation Land Claims, Township, Public Survey
Keyword thesaurus: None
Place:
Keywords: USA
Keyword thesaurus: None
Place:
Keywords: New Hampshire, Florida, Oklahoma, Delaware, Alaska, Michigan, Wyoming, Montana, Mississippi, Georgia, Missouri, Alabama, Idaho, North Carolina, California, North Dakota, Washington, South Carolina, New Mexico, Massachusetts, Texas, Minnesota, Maine, Utah, Nevada, Oregon, District of Columbia, Iowa, New York, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Virginia, Wisconsin, Colorado, New Jersey, Kentucky, Illinois, Tennessee, Hawaii, West Virginia, Rhode Island, Nebraska, South Dakota, Pennsylvania, Arkansas, Vermont, Ohio, Connecticut, Arizona, Maryland
Keyword thesaurus: U.S. Department of Commerce, 1987, Codes for the Identification of the States, the District of Columbia and the Outlying Areas of The United States, and Associated Areas (FIPS 5-2): Washington, DC, National Institute of Standards and Technology.
Place:
Keywords: United States
Keyword thesaurus: U.S. Department of Commerce, 1995, Countries, Dependencies, Areas of Special Sovereignty, and Their Principal Administrative Divisions (Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 10-4): Washington, DC, National Institute of Standards and Technology.
Data Constraints and Credit
Access constraints:
None
Use constraints:
None. Acknowledgment of the National Atlas of the United States of America and (or) the U.S. Geological Survey would be appreciated in products derived from these data.
Point Of Contact
Organization: U.S. Geological Survey
Person: Greg Manuel
Phone: 703-648-6433
Email: atlasmail@usgs.gov
Address type: mailing
Address:
561 National Center
City: Reston
State or Province: VA
Postal code: 20192
Spatial Reference Information
Horizontal Coordinate System
Coordinate System Details
Geographic coordinate system
Latitude resolution: 8.9831528411952199e-009
Longitude resolution: 8.9831528411952199e-009
Geographic coordinate units: Decimal Degrees
Geodetic model
Horizontal datum name: D North American 1983
Ellipsoid name: GRS 1980
Semi-major axis: 6378137.0
Denominator of flattening ratio: 298.257222101
Spatial Domain
Below are the western, eastern, northern, and southern geographic limits of data coverage.
Bounding Coordinates
In Unprojected coordinates (geographic)
Boundary Coordinate
West -179.133392 (latitude)
East 179.788208 (latitude)
North 71.398186 (longitude)
South 17.674692 (longitude)
Data Structure and Attribute Information
Name and Format
Data type: vector digital data
Native dataset environment: Microsoft Windows 7 Version 6.1 (Build 7601) Service Pack 1; Esri ArcGIS 10.3.1.4959
Overview
Direct spatial reference method: Vector
Indirect spatial reference method: U.S. Department of Commerce, 1987, Codes for the Identification of the States, the District of Columbia and the Outlying areas of the United States, and Associated Areas (FIPS 5-2): Washington, DC, National Institute of Standards and Technology.
Attributes of PLSS
Description:
A rectangular system of surveys devised to subdivide public domain
lands.
Source:
U.S. Geological Survey
Attributes
OBJECTID
Definition:
Internal feature number.
Attribute values: Sequential unique whole numbers that are automatically generated.
Attribute definition source:
ESRI
Shape
Definition:
The representation of the entity in the data.
Attribute values: Coordinates defining the features.
Attribute domain values
Value Definition
Polygon
2-dimensional element
Definition Source:
ESRI GIS software
Attribute definition source:
U.S. Geological Survey
AREA
Perimeter
Definition:
The perimeter of the shape in coverage units.
Attribute domain range
Range Value
Minimum 0.003
Maximum 220.521
Attribute definition source:
U.S. Geological Survey
plss00p020
Definition:
Internal feature number.
Attribute domain range
Range Value
Minimum 2
Maximum 90920
Attribute definition source:
U.S. Geological Survey
Feature1
Definition:
The primary survey area type.
Attribute domain values
Value Definition
Donation Land Claims
An area that was allocated to a settler under the Donation Act of
September 27, 1850 to preserve the rights of pre-statehood settlers
claimed prior to the regular division of townships and ranges.
Definition Source:
U.S. Geological Survey
Attribute domain values
Value Definition
Indian Lands
Land granted to native Americans and excluded from the public
domain.
Definition Source:
U.S. Geological Survey
Attribute domain values
Value Definition
Land Grants, Civil Colonies
An area of land to which title was conferred by a predecessor
government and confirmed by the U.S. Government after the territory
in which it is situated was acquired by the United States.
Definition Source:
U.S. Geological Survey
Attribute domain values
Value Definition
Military Reservation
A military or lighthouse reservation that limits the public lands.
Definition Source:
U.S. Geological Survey
Attribute domain values
Value Definition
Not Part of Public Land Surveys System
An area that is outside of the Public Land Survey System.
Definition Source:
U.S. Geological Survey
Attribute domain values
Value Definition
Overlapping Land Grants
An area of land to which more than one title was conferred by a
predecessor government and confirmed by the U.S. Government after
the territory in which it is situated was acquired by the United
States.  These areas are the result of survey error or disputed
claims.
Definition Source:
U.S. Geological Survey
Attribute domain values
Value Definition
Private Survey
An area of private surveys of public domain lands.
Definition Source:
U.S. Geological Survey
Attribute domain values
Value Definition
Public Survey
An area of land subdivided by the Public Land Survey System (PLSS),
which was originally created on public domain lands and the rules
for its use were defined by the authority of the U.S. Government.
The PLSS has since been extended, following similar rules, into non-
public domain areas.
Definition Source:
U.S. Geological Survey
Attribute domain values
Value Definition
Unsurveyed Area
An area that is part of the public domain but which has not been
subdivided.
Definition Source:
U.S. Geological Survey
Attribute domain values
Value Definition
Water
Areas of navigable streams and meanderable lakes which are excluded
from the Public Land Survey System.
Definition Source:
U.S. Geological Survey
Attribute definition source:
U.S. Geological Survey
Feature2
Definition:
The township and range designation for the area.
Attribute domain values
Value Definition
<blank>
There is no township and range designation for the area because it
is not a Public Survey or Private Survey area.
Definition Source:
U.S. Geological Survey
Attribute values: There is no predefined set of valid township and range designations. Designations are in the format "Township xx aaaaa Range yy bbbb", where xx and yy are numbers, aaaaa is either North or South, and bbbb is either East or West.
Attribute definition source:
U.S. Geological Survey
Feature3
Definition:
The secondary survey area type.
Attribute domain values
Value Definition
<blank>
The area does not have a secondary survey type.
Definition Source:
U.S. Geological Survey
Attribute domain values
Value Definition
Land Grants, Civil Colonies
An area of land to which title was conferred by a predecessor
government and confirmed by the U.S. Government after the territory
in which it is situated was acquired by the United States.
Definition Source:
U.S. Geological Survey
Attribute domain values
Value Definition
Overlapping Land Grants
An area of land to which more than one title was conferred by a
predecessor government and confirmed by the U.S. Government after
the territory in which it is situated was acquired by the United
States.  These areas are the result of survey error or disputed
claims.
Definition Source:
U.S. Geological Survey
Attribute definition source:
U.S. Geological Survey
Name1
Definition:
The primary name of the survey area.  This is the principal meridian,
Ohio base, or land grant name.
Attribute domain values
Value Definition
<blank>
The area is not a land grant or part of the Public Land Survey
System.
Definition Source:
U.S. Geological Survey
Attribute value codeset domain
Codeset Description
Name GeoData Data Users Guide 1, Appendix K: Origins of the U.S. Rectangular Surveys
Source
U.S. Geological Survey
Attribute value codeset domain
Codeset Description
Name GeoData Data Users Guide 1, Appendix L: Named Land Grant Codes
Source
U.S. Geological Survey
Attribute definition source:
U.S. Geological Survey
Name2
Definition:
The secondary name of the survey area.  This is an additional land grant
name.
Attribute domain values
Value Definition
<blank>
The area does not have a secondary survey name.
Definition Source:
U.S. Geological Survey
Attribute value codeset domain
Codeset Description
Name GeoData Data Users Guide 1, Appendix L: Named Land Grant Codes
Source
U.S. Geological Survey
Attribute definition source:
U.S. Geological Survey
Name3
Definition:
The tertiary name of the survey area.  This is an additional land grant
name.
Attribute domain values
Value Definition
<blank>
The area does not have a tertiary survey name.
Definition Source:
U.S. Geological Survey
Attribute value codeset domain
Codeset Description
Name GeoData Data Users Guide 1, Appendix L: Named Land Grant Codes
Source
U.S. Geological Survey
Attribute definition source:
U.S. Geological Survey
State
Definition:
The 2-character code of the State where the survey area is located.  If
the area falls in more than one State, the codes for each State are
included and are separated with dashes, for example: IN-KY-OH.
Attribute domain values
Value Definition
<blank>
The area is not part of the Public Land Survey System.
Definition Source:
U.S. Geological Survey
Attribute value codeset domain
Codeset Description
Name Codes for the Identification of the States, the District of Columbia and the Outlying Areas of the United States, and Associated Areas, (Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 5-2).
Source
U.S. Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and
Technology
Attribute definition source:
U.S. Geological Survey
State_fips
Definition:
The 2-digit code of the State where the survey area is located.  If
the area falls in more than one State, the codes for each State are
included and are separated with dashes, for example: 27-38-46.
Attribute domain values
Value Definition
<blank>
The area is not part of the Public Land Survey System.
Definition Source:
U.S. Geological Survey
Attribute value codeset domain
Codeset Description
Name Codes for the Identification of the States, the District of Columbia and the Outlying Areas of the United States, and Associated Areas, (Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 5-2).
Source
U.S. Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and
Technology
Attribute definition source:
U.S. Geological Survey
Shape_Length
Definition:
Length of feature in internal units.
Attribute values: Positive real numbers that are automatically generated.
Attribute definition source:
Esri
Shape_Area
Definition:
Area of feature in internal units squared.
Attribute values: Positive real numbers that are automatically generated.
Attribute definition source:
Esri
SDTS Feature Description
Spatial data transfer standard (SDTS) terms
Feature class
Type: GT-polygon composed of chains
Count: 90919
Data Quality and Accuracy Information
General
Logical consistency report:
The data set was checked for topological consistency using the Arc/INFO command BUILD. No other checks for logical consistency were performed on this data set.
Completeness report:
This data set includes the Public Land Survey System for the United States, to the Township and Range level. It also includes Land Grants.
Data Source and Process Information
Data Sources
Data source information
2MILBD
Title: 1:2,000,000-scale Digital Line Graph Data - Boundaries
Originators: U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher: U.S. Geological Survey
Publication place: Reston, VA
Publication date: 19950101
Map scale denominator: 2000000
Media: CD-ROM
Source contribution:
Spatial information
Date: 19950101
Currentness reference:
Publication date
1Mil State base maps
Title: State base maps
Originators: U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher: U.S. Geological Survey
Publication place: Reston, VA
Publication date: unknown
Map scale denominator: 1000000
Media: hardcopyPaper
Source contribution:
Spatial and attribute information
Date: unknown
Currentness reference:
Publication date
500K State base maps
Title: State base maps
Originators: U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher: U.S. Geological Survey
Publication place: Reston, VA
Publication date: unknown
Map scale denominator: 500000
Media: hardcopyPaper
Source contribution:
Spatial and attribute information
Date: unknown
Currentness reference:
Publication date
ATLAS-CNTY
Title: County Boundaries of the United States
Originators: U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher: U.S. Geological Survey
Publication place: Reston, VA
Publication date: 19980101
Map scale denominator: 2000000
Media: onLine
Source contribution:
Spatial information
Date: 19980101
Currentness reference:
Publication date
ATLAS-PLSS200205
Title: Public Land Survey System of the United States
Originators: U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher: U.S. Geological Survey
Publication place: Reston, VA
Publication date: 20020501
Map scale denominator: 2000000
Media: onLine
Source contribution:
Spatial and attribute information
Beginning date: 19720101
Ending date: 20020101
Currentness reference:
Ground Condition
1:100,000-scale base maps
Title: 1:100,000-scale USGS topographic sheets
Originators: U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher: U.S. Geological Survey
Publication place: Reston, VA
Publication date: unknown
Map scale denominator: 100000
Media: hardcopyPaper
Source contribution:
Spatial and attribute information
Date: unknown
Currentness reference:
Publication date
ATLAS-HY
Title: Hydrography Features of the United States
Originators: U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher: U.S. Geological Survey
Publication place: Reston, VA
Publication date: 19980101
Map scale denominator: 2000000
Media: onLine
Source contribution:
Spatial information
Date: 19980101
Currentness reference:
Publication date
Process Steps
Process step information
Process Step 1
Process description:
Public Land Survey System data were collected from 1:500,000 and 1:1,000,000 State base maps for the western United States. The eastern States were collected from existing 1:100,000-scale base maps. Data from both sources were integrated into 1:2,000,000 State-level DLG files, then generalized and vertically integrated with 2MILBD, ATLAS- CNTY, and ATLAS-HY. The resulting Public Land Survey System DLG files were published on CD-ROM in 1995. The DLG optional-format files were then converted to Arc/INFO coverages, and the individual State files were paneled together into a national coverage. Numeric DLG codes were translated into English, non-polygon features were deleted, and the data set was converted to shapefile format.
Process date: 19990101
Data Source used
1:100,000-scale base maps
Title: 1:100,000-scale USGS topographic sheets
Originators: U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher: U.S. Geological Survey
Publication place: Reston, VA
Publication date: unknown
Map scale denominator: 100000
Media: hardcopyPaper
Source contribution:
Spatial and attribute information
Date: unknown
Currentness reference:
Publication date
1Mil State base maps
Title: State base maps
Originators: U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher: U.S. Geological Survey
Publication place: Reston, VA
Publication date: unknown
Map scale denominator: 1000000
Media: hardcopyPaper
Source contribution:
Spatial and attribute information
Date: unknown
Currentness reference:
Publication date
500K State base maps
Title: State base maps
Originators: U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher: U.S. Geological Survey
Publication place: Reston, VA
Publication date: unknown
Map scale denominator: 500000
Media: hardcopyPaper
Source contribution:
Spatial and attribute information
Date: unknown
Currentness reference:
Publication date
ATLAS-CNTY
Title: County Boundaries of the United States
Originators: U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher: U.S. Geological Survey
Publication place: Reston, VA
Publication date: 19980101
Map scale denominator: 2000000
Media: onLine
Source contribution:
Spatial information
Date: 19980101
Currentness reference:
Publication date
ATLAS-HY
Title: Hydrography Features of the United States
Originators: U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher: U.S. Geological Survey
Publication place: Reston, VA
Publication date: 19980101
Map scale denominator: 2000000
Media: onLine
Source contribution:
Spatial information
Date: 19980101
Currentness reference:
Publication date
2MILBD
Title: 1:2,000,000-scale Digital Line Graph Data - Boundaries
Originators: U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher: U.S. Geological Survey
Publication place: Reston, VA
Publication date: 19950101
Map scale denominator: 2000000
Media: CD-ROM
Source contribution:
Spatial information
Date: 19950101
Currentness reference:
Publication date
Process Step 2
Process description:
Township and Range values were corrected in the Boise, Copper River, Fifth Principal, Fourth Principal, Sixth Principal, Indian, Louisiana, Salt Lake, St. Stephens, Third Principal, Umiat, and Willamette surveys. In all, 250 corrections were made using 1:100,000-scale base maps. Some polygons in coastal areas were added or deleted to accurately portray the extent of a Township or unsurveyed area.
Process date: 20020401
Data Source used
1:100,000-scale base maps
Title: 1:100,000-scale USGS topographic sheets
Originators: U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher: U.S. Geological Survey
Publication place: Reston, VA
Publication date: unknown
Map scale denominator: 100000
Media: hardcopyPaper
Source contribution:
Spatial and attribute information
Date: unknown
Currentness reference:
Publication date
Data Source produced
ATLAS-PLSS200205
Title: Public Land Survey System of the United States
Originators: U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher: U.S. Geological Survey
Publication place: Reston, VA
Publication date: 20020501
Map scale denominator: 2000000
Media: onLine
Source contribution:
Spatial and attribute information
Beginning date: 19720101
Ending date: 20020101
Currentness reference:
Ground Condition
Process Step 3
Process description:
Range values were corrected in the New Mexico Principal survey for Townships 15-20 South. In all, 85 corrections were made using 1:100,000-scale base maps.
Process date: 20021201
Data Source used
1:100,000-scale base maps
Title: 1:100,000-scale USGS topographic sheets
Originators: U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher: U.S. Geological Survey
Publication place: Reston, VA
Publication date: unknown
Map scale denominator: 100000
Media: hardcopyPaper
Source contribution:
Spatial and attribute information
Date: unknown
Currentness reference:
Publication date
ATLAS-PLSS200205
Title: Public Land Survey System of the United States
Originators: U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher: U.S. Geological Survey
Publication place: Reston, VA
Publication date: 20020501
Map scale denominator: 2000000
Media: onLine
Source contribution:
Spatial and attribute information
Beginning date: 19720101
Ending date: 20020101
Currentness reference:
Ground Condition
Process Step 4
Process description:
Township value was corrected in the Iowa Fifth Principal survey for Range 3 West. In all, 2 corrections were made due to a previous typing error.
Process date: 20101101
Data Source used
ATLAS-PLSS200301
Data Distribution Information
General
Distribution liability:
Although these data have been processed successfully on a computer system at the U.S. Geological Survey, no warranty expressed or implied is made by the U.S. Geological Survey regarding the utility of the data on any other system, nor shall the act of distribution constitute any such warranty. No responsibility is assumed by the U.S. Geological Survey in the use of these data.
Distribution Point of Contact
Organization: Earth Science Information Center, U.S. Geological Survey
Phone: 703-648-5920
Phone: 1-888-ASK-USGS (1-888-275-8747)
Instructions:
In addition to the address above there are other ESIC offices throughout the country. A full list of these offices is at <http://mapping.usgs.gov/esic/esic_index.html>.
Address type: mailing
Address:
507 National Center
City: Reston
State or Province: VA
Postal code: 20192
Standard Order Process
Digital form:
Format name: ESRI Shapefile
Digital transfer option:
Online option:
Computer information:
Network address:
Fees: There is no charge for the map layer.
Metadata Reference
Metadata Date
Last updated: 20170301
Metadata Point of Contact
Organization: U.S. Geological Survey
Person: Terry Higgins
Phone: 573-308-3592
Email: atlasmail@usgs.gov
Address type: mailing
Address:
1400 Independence Road
City: Rolla
State or Province: MO
Postal code: 65401
Metadata Access
Metadata security information:
Classifcation system: None
Classification: Unclassified
Handling information:
None
Metadata Standards
Standard name: FGDC Content Standard for Digital Geospatial Metadata
Standard version: FGDC-STD-001-1998
Time convention: local time
FGDC Plus Metadata Stylesheet
Stylesheet: FGDC Plus Stylesheet
File name: FGDC Plus.xsl
Version: 1.7
Description: This metadata is displayed using the FGDC Plus Stylesheet, which is an XSL template that can be used with ArcGIS software to display metadata. It shows metadata elements defined in the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) standard and the ESRI Profile of the Content Standard for Digital Geospatial Metadata (ESRI Profile). This stylsheet is in the public domain and may be freely used, modified, and redistributed. It is provided "AS-IS" without warranty or techical support.
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NEPAssist: Metadata