How to Find Townships and Sections on a Map

Some maps do not show meridian and base lines.
••• Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images

Townships and land sections are part of the rectangular survey system developed by Thomas Jefferson and approved by Congress in 1785. Under this system the land was divided into square areas for surveying and mapping. This system is still the basis for all surveys of public lands.

    Find the north and south guideline, called township, and the west and east guideline, called range. The largest square area is the township. Each township measures 6 miles square and is 23,040 acres.

    Identify the sections by looking for the numbers 1 to 36. Each township is divided into 36 sections. The sections are each 1 mile square and 640 acres.

    Each 640-acre section can further be divided into quarters of 160 acres each. And each quarter can be divided into four 40-acre areas.

    Under the rectangular survey system, a 40-acre lot of land can be described by its position within a section, township and range. For instance, NE 1/4 (northeast or top right corner) of the SE 1/4 (southeast or bottom right corner) of section 12, T2N (township) and R3W (range).


    • Not all townships or sections are completely square. Monuments were commonly placed at the corners of sections and townships, according to Land Surveyor LLC. Road maps and atlas maps may not include the lines that distinguish the townships and sections.

Related Articles

How to Find the Dewey Decimal Number for a Book
How to Calculate Hectares
What Is MQ in the Metric System?
What Types of Land Features Does Delaware Have?
What Types of Math Problems Are on the College Placement...
About the Four Natural Regions of Texas
List of Natural Resources in New York State
How to Convert Northing/Easting Coordinates to Longitude/Latitude
How to Figure out Your Composite Score on Your TEAS...
How Is an Acre Measured?
Which Two Continents Are Located Entirely in the Southern...
How to Learn the Dewey Decimal System
Landforms Near Chicago
What Kinds of Plants & Animals Live in the Region of...
Geographic Landforms in Texas
How to Solve for Range
How to Calculate an Area in Square Meters
Ecosystems in Missouri
What Is River Runoff?
What Are the Types of Rocks Found in the Appalachians?

Dont Go!

We Have More Great Sciencing Articles!