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Tim Osborn

Section, Township, Range (PLSS) Locator

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When you have a property description that includes a reference to Section, Townhip, and Range, it can be difficult to find the correct location because the "collar information" showing Township and Range has been clipped from the USGS Topo files that ExpertGPS downloads from Terraserver.

Searching for a solution to this problem I recently came across a Section, Township, Range Geographical Locator at http://www.esg.montana.edu/gl/. Click on the "TRS-Data" link. It's based on a statistical model that predicts where the center of a specified Section is, and gives you the Lat-Long of that position. I have found that it works very well. It usually will give you a Lat-Long that is somewhere within the specified Section. Sometimes, because of fractional Sections, the Lat-Long may be just outside the Section, but still close enough that you can pan to the correct Section. In addition to the Section, Township, and Range, you also need to specify the relevant Principal Meridian.

It also works in reverse. By spcifying a Lat-Long under "XY-Data", the Geographical Locator gives you a lot of information about that point including the Section, Township and Range. By using cut and paste, you can transfer coordinates back and forth between ExpertGPS and the Geographical Locator Web Page.

For the programmers, the free DLL's for the Lat-Long to PLSS and the PLSS to Lat-Long algorithms are available at http://www.geocities.com/jeremiahobrien/trs2ll.html.

Tim Osborn

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Tim,

As usual, "You Dun Good"...

I've been using the tiff files of a quad for a scanned map and calibrating just to get the "collar data". Your link will be much quicker and has much more data as well, and all right at one's fingertips. I'll especially use the "X Y" to work backwards to obtain the Sec,Twp, and R.

Thanks!

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"For the programmers, the free DLL's for the Lat-Long to PLSS and the PLSS to Lat-Long algorithms are available at http://www.geocities.com/jeremiahobrien/trs2ll.html "

Thanks for finding that, Tim! I discovered that link many years ago, and have been trying to find it again ever since we started discussing PLSS on the forum.

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The Bureau of Land Management now has a "Township Geocoder" web application at http://www.geocommunicator.gov/GeoComm/lsi...oder/index.html. I image its based on their GCDB data rather than a statistical model. It has the same capabilities as the Geographical Locator I mentioned above, and has the ability to process files of lat-long or PLSS records. I'm not sure how good it really is, however. Arkansas seems to be missing from their list of States, even though they have GCDB data for Arkansas. Also, I plugged in a lat-long from Kansas, and the application responded that that location wasn't in it's database.

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I recently came across a set of data that has locations stored in section, township, range format. I am looking for a way to convert them to lat/longs. I checked out the locator you identified, however, the data I have is in Alaska. Do you know of a similar locator source for Alaska? Thanks so much for your help!

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