Survey township, sometimes called Congressional township, as used by the United States Public Land Survey System, refers to a square unit of land that is nominally six (U.S. Survey) miles (~9.7 km) on a side. Each 36-square-mile (~93 km2) township is divided into 36 one-square-mile (~2.6 km2) sections, which can be further subdivided for sale, and each section covers a nominal 640 acres (2.6 km2). The townships are referenced by a numbering system that locates the township in relation to a principal meridian (north-south) and a base line (east-west). For example, Township 2 North, Range 4 East is the 4th township east of the principal meridian and the 2nd township north of the base line. Township (exterior) lines were originally surveyed and platted by the US General Land Office using contracted private survey crews. Later survey crews subdivided the townships into sections (interior) lines. Virtually all lands covered by this system were sold according to those boundaries and are marked on the U.S. Geological Survey topographic maps.
Prior to standardization, some of the Ohio Lands (the United States Military District, the Firelands and the Connecticut Western Reserve) were surveyed into townships of 5 miles (8.0 km) on each side. These are often known as Congressional Townships.
Sections are divided into quarter-sections of 160 acres (65 ha) each and quarter-quarter sections of 40 acres (16 ha) each. In the Homestead Act of 1862, one quarter-section of land was the amount allocated to each settler. Stemming from that are the idiomatic expressions, "the lower 40", the 40 acres on a settler's land that is lowest in elevation, in the direction towards which water drains toward a stream, and the "back forty", the portion farthest from the settler's dwelling.
Survey townships are distinct from civil townships. A survey township is used to establish boundaries for land ownership, while a civil township is a form of local government. In states with civil townships, the two types of townships often coincide. County lines, especially in western states, usually follow survey township lines, leading to the large number of rectangular counties in the Midwest, which are agglomerations of survey townships.
In western Canada, the Dominion Land Survey adopted a similar format for survey townships, which do not form administrative units. These townships also have the area of 36 square miles (six miles by six miles).
The Public Land Survey System (PLSS) is the surveying method developed and used in the United States to plat, or divide, real property for sale and settling. Also known as the Rectangular Survey System, it was created by the Land Ordinance of 1785 to survey land ceded to the United States by the Treaty of Paris in 1783, following the end of the American Revolution. Beginning with the Seven Ranges, in present-day Ohio, the PLSS has been used as the primary survey method in the United States. Following the passage of the Northwest Ordinance, in 1787, the Surveyor General of the Northwest Territory platted lands in the Northwest Territory. The Surveyor General was later merged with the General Land Office, which later became a part of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Today, the BLM controls the survey, sale, and settling of the new lands.
The Dominion Land Survey (DLS) is the method used to divide most of Western Canada into one-square-mile (2.6 km2) sections for agricultural and other purposes. It is based on the layout of the Public Land Survey System used in the United States, but has several differences. The DLS is the dominant survey method in the Prairie provinces, and it is also used in British Columbia along the Railway Belt, and in the Peace River Block in the northeast of the province.
A township in the United States is a small geographic area.
The Land Ordinance of 1785 was adopted by the United States Congress of the Confederation on May 20, 1785. It set up a standardized system whereby settlers could purchase title to farmland in the undeveloped west. Congress at the time did not have the power to raise revenue by direct taxation, so land sales provided an important revenue stream. The Ordinance set up a survey system that eventually covered over 3/4 of the area of the continental United States.
The chain is a unit of length equal to 66 feet. It is subdivided into 100 links or 4 rods. There are 10 chains in a furlong, and 80 chains in one statute mile. In metric terms, it is 20.1168 m long. By extension, chainage is the distance along a curved or straight survey line from a fixed commencing point, as given by an odometer.
The Willamette Stone was a small stone obelisk originally installed by the Department of Interior in 1885 in the western hills of Portland, Oregon in the United States to mark the intersection and origin of the Willamette meridian and Willamette baseline. It replaced a cedar stake placed by the Surveyor General of the Oregon Territory in 1851; this stake defined the grid system of sections and townships from which all real property in the states of Oregon and Washington has been measured following the Donation Land Claim Act of 1850. The Willamette meridian runs north–south, and the Willamette baseline runs east–west through the marker.
In U.S. land surveying under the Public Land Survey System (PLSS), a section is an area nominally one square mile, containing 640 acres, with 36 sections making up one survey township on a rectangular grid.
In surveying, a baseline is a line between two points on the earth's surface and the direction and distance between them. In a triangulation network, at least one baseline needs to be measured to calculate the size of the triangles by trigonometry.
A range road in Canada is a road that runs north–south along a range grid line of the Dominion Land Survey. Range roads are perpendicular to township roads which run east–west along the township grid lines.
The Michigan meridian is the principal meridian used as a reference in the Michigan Survey, the survey of the U.S. state of Michigan in the early 19th century. It is located at 84 degrees, 21 minutes and 53 seconds west longitude at its northern terminus at Sault Ste. Marie, and varies very little from that line down the length of the state.
A land description location of the written words which delineate a specific piece of real property. Also known as a "Legal Description". In the written transfer of real property, it is universally required that the instrument of conveyance (deed) include a written description of the property.
Strongfield is a small village in the centre of the province of Saskatchewan, Canada. It lies about 100 km south of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan on Highway #19 between its sister communities of Hawarden and Loreburn.
A principal meridian is a meridian used for survey control in a large region.
The Alberta Township System (ATS) is a land surveying system used in the Canadian province of Alberta and other parts of western Canada.
The Seven Ranges was a land tract in eastern Ohio that was the first tract to be surveyed in what became the Public Land Survey System. The tract is 42 miles (68 km) across the northern edge, 91 miles (146 km) on the western edge, with the south and east sides along the Ohio River. It consists of all of Monroe, Harrison, Belmont and Jefferson, and portions of Carroll, Columbiana, Tuscarawas, Guernsey, Noble, and Washington County.
The Congress Lands West of Miami River was a land tract in southwest Ohio that was established by the Congress late in the 18th century. It is located south of the Greenville Treaty Line, east of Indiana, and north of the Great Miami River. The original survey in 1798 contained a triangular shaped slice of land, now located in Indiana, that extended to the Greenville line as it ran from Fort Recovery to opposite the mouth of the Kentucky River.
The Twelve Mile Square Reservation, also called the Twelve Mile Square Reserve, was a tract of land in Ohio ceded by Indians to the United States of America in the Treaty of Greenville in 1795. This particular area of land immediately surrounding Fort Miami was considered to be of strategic importance by the United States government representatives. It was subsequently surveyed in a manner different from surrounding land, and lots sold, or granted, to settlers.
The Two Mile Square Reservation or Two Mile Square Reserve was a tract of land in Ohio ceded by Native Americans to the United States of America in the Treaty of Greenville in 1795. It was subsequently surveyed in a manner different from surrounding land, and lots sold to settlers.
North and East of the First Principal Meridian is a survey and land description in the northwest part of the American state called Ohio.
Sargent Township is a civil township in Sargent County, North Dakota, United States.