"Land Manager" Map Layer


The purpose of this data layer is to provide a reasonably accurate depiction of who or what agency manages the surface of a given area of land. The Land Manager layer applies to Public Lands in the United States and includes only lands owned by Federal, State or Local Governments. Private land is not displayed and is outside the scope of this dataset.

This data set is a result of compiling differing source materials of various vintages. The bulk of the data has been provided by the Bureau of Land Management and State Land Offices. Land Matters has made various modifications of the source data mostly for the purpose of consistency in presentation. The level of detail provided for each land grouping varies depending on the information provided by the originating agency.

Symbols used on this map layer

 Forest Service    Bureau of Land Management    State
 National Park Service    Fish & Wildlife Service    Bureau of Reclamation
 Bureau of Indian Affairs    Local Government     Army Corps of Engineers
 Federal Aviation Administration    Bonneville Power Administration     Government Services Administration
 Department of Defense  


Public Land Survey System


Land Matters provides three Map Layers to display the Public Land Survey System (PLSS).

Layer 1 - Public Land Survey System


This Layer displays the basic elements the PLSS uses to describe land; Meridian, Township, Range and Section.

Symbols used on this map layer

First Division


Layer 2 - PLSS Second Division


This layer is the smallest subdivision of the PLSS. It displays section divisions, quarter sections, quarter-quarter sections, or irregular government lots.

Symbols used on this map layer

Second Division


Layer 3 - Special Surveys


The Special Surveys Map Layer displays surveys of various types, mineral, townsite, small tract, land grant, homestead, indian allotment etc. These surveys generally resulted in the land being transferred out of the public domain and into private hands.

Symbols used on this map layer

Special Surveys


Understanding the Public Land Survey System


The Public Land Survey System (PLSS) is a way of subdividing and describing land in the United States. All lands in the public domain are subject to subdivision by this rectangular system of surveys, which is regulated by the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

The PLSS actually consists of a series of separate surveys. Most PLSS surveys begin at an initial point, and townships are surveyed north, south, east, and west from that point. The north-south line that runs through the initial point is a true meridian and is called the Principal Meridian. The east-west line that runs through the initial point is called a base line. This line is perpendicular to the Principal Meridian.

The PLSS typically divides land into 6-mile-square Townships. Townships are subdivided into 36 one-mile- square Sections. Each township is identified with a township and range designation. Township designations indicate the location north or south of the baseline, and range designations indicate the location east or west of the Principal Meridian.

For example, a township might be identified as Township 7 North, Range 2 West, which would mean that it was in the 7th row of townships north of a baseline, and in the 2nd column of townships west of a principal meridian. A legal land description of a section includes the State, Principal Meridian name, Township and Range designations with directions, and the section number: Arizona (AZ), Gila Meridian & Salt River Baseline (14), T7N, R2W, sec5.

The PLSS Second Division contains all divisions below the section level division. Sections can be subdivided into quarter sections, quarter-quarter sections, or irregular government lots.

Special Surveys are non-rectangular PLSS surveys. They are deviations from the hierarchical rectangular surveys and are often defined or guided by provisions of legislation or authorities.


Accuracy and Reliance


Land Matters provides this map data for informational purposes only. Land Matters did not produce it for, nor is it suitable for legal, engineering, or surveying purposes. Consumers of this information should review or consult the primary data and information sources to ascertain the viability of the information for their purposes. Land Matters provides these data in good faith but does not represent or warrant its accuracy, adequacy, or completeness. In no event shall Land Matters be liable for any incorrect results or analysis; any direct, indirect, special, or consequential damages to any party; or any lost profits arising out of or in connection with the use or the inability to use the data provided. Land Matters makes these data available as a convenience to the public, and for no other purpose. Land Matters reserves the right to change or revise published data at any time.