Metsker’s Maps

I’ve been bothered for years that I don’t have the time or patience to develop a course or a series of videos explaining the Public Land Survey System or PLSS. ┬áIt is a living antique used everyday.

This country was never laid out by latitude and longitude, something that would make it easy today to tell where a claim or an old townsite is. Instead, we file a claim in 2020 using elements like meridians, townships, ranges, sections, and so on.

Variously called land descriptions, legal descriptions, and a host of others, the PLSS is a survey system used to locate or delineate a piece of real property. Everything about the PLSS is obscure or arcane.

While you are reading up on the subject, my best suggestion is to get a few used Metsker’s Maps. They show all of the PLSS elements at work, often on heavy paper with distinct blue lines. Find them on eBay.

These maps were made for outdoorsmen who camped, hiked, and prospected old school. A compass, a backup compass, and good maps. Topos were and are essential as well, but you also have to know where you are in survey sense, not just a terrain sense.

I do have a lot of materials developed on the PLSS but it is such a burden of time that I simply can’t get to it right now.

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