Government Rectangular Survey System
The Federal government set up a grid system made up of rectangular surveyed parcels for the western States. It was felt that the west would be an agricultural area and rectangular lots would fill the need for ownership of farms. The colored areas marked are the States that participated in this program.
The Governmental Rectangular Survey - Used in the majority of States within the U.S.A. It was utilized to describe new lands of the west and was surveyed in farm-sized units.
State-By-State - Each State is divided into rectangular units known as townships by vertical lines known as ranges and horizontal lines known as tiers. To establish ranges within a State, they base them off a meridian. Tier lines are based on what is called a baseline.
Washington/Oregon - With this example for Washington and Oregon, they intersect at a monument, known as The Willamette Stone. This stone was established over 100 years ago by governmental survey crews. The main meridian line for ranges and baseline for tiers intersect at this Willamette Stone Monument.
Point of Reference - This permanent point of reference is used for all governmental surveys in Oregon and Washington.
Range Lines - Range lines run north to south parallel to the "Prime Meridian" line. They are located either east or west of the prime meridian.. They have the following characteristics:
Each is 36 Square Miles - In theory, each township is a 6 miles square. 6 mile wide range crossed by a 6 mile wide tier. This is 6 X 6 = 36 square miles of land within each township.
Township #s - The townships are named for the tier and range that it falls within. The tier is always named first and the range second.
Parcels - Parcels can be oversized or undersized sections. A fractional section can be increased or decreased by various avenues.
Causes - It could be caused by water, rivers, survey errors, corrections for deviation for curvature, military or Indian Reservations, and early donation land claims. It could be an irregular area smaller than a full 1/4, 1/4 section .. less than 40 acres. Normally, an acre is 43,560 sq ft. Simply figure the square footage and then divide by 43,560 to get the acreage for State exam purposes. In actual practice the curvature can affect the square footage and the acreage.
In a rectangular survey method, units of one square mile are called:
D) Quarter sections
A parcel of land measuring 220 yards by 220 yards contains:
A) 1 acre
B) 5.0 acres
C) 10.0 acres
D) 20 acres
E) 302.50 acres
If a quarter section of land is divided into 4 equal parcels, each parcel will contain:
A) 10 acres
B) 30 acres
C) 40 acres
D) 60 acres
An acre contains:
A) 26,650 sq. ft.
B) 34,780 sq. ft.
C) 43,560 sq. ft.
D) 54,670 sq. ft.
Which of the following contains the smallest parcel of land?
A) 640 acres
B) 9 square miles
C) 1/2 of a township
D) 36 sections
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