Land Ownership: Property Boundaries
Property boundary basemaps and ownership records are maintained at the
county level, usually by the recorder's, assessor's or land surveyor's
offices. Many Minnesota counties keep records in digital
(computer-readable) format while others keep them as paper records. Note
that the boundaries shown on the maps and the GIS data sets are
approximate -- they are not substitutes for certified property surveys,
legal property descriptions or detailed plat maps. For more information
on property surveys and legal descriptions, see the
Minnesota Society of Professional Surveyors'
website (choose "About Surveying")
. Property records may also be referred to as parcel, cadastral, real estate
or real property records.
Statewide Parcel Map Inventory,
Find out the status of parcel data in Minnesota's counties, cities outside the Twin
Cities metro area, and other units of government. This inventory identifies the method of data development (digital
or paper), the
frequency of maintenance, data development standards and distribution
practices and remonumentation efforts.
Assessment of Parcel Data in the United States, March 2003 (PDF):
This survey, published by the Federal Geographic Data Committee,
estimates the number of parcels in the United States and the status of
the conversion of cadastral maps into digital form.
If you know of other data sources that could be added to this section, please
Not sure which county your city or township is in? Use our
page to find out.
- Downloadable data sets: These data sets require
geographic information systems (GIS) software.
Cities metropolitan counties: Check MetroGIS's
catalog under the "Land Ownership" category for listings of individual county parcel data and for a 7-county
regional data set. The regional data that is at least 3 years
old is free to download, without fee or license agreement. The
more recent regional data is available to government and academic
users and is subject to a
- Greater Minnesota counties: One county provides
its parcel data set online:
- Online parcel maps and information: These county
websites allow the public to view property information online. Some information may be password-protected
or available only by subscription.
County-wide maps: These sites provide property information
county-wide map interface. They usually also allow searches by
specific criteria such as parcel identification number or owner
- No county-wide maps: These sites allow users to
search for property information by specific criteria such as parcel
identification number or owner name, but do not provide a
county-wide map interface option. Some sites, however, provide maps of
- County contact information:
Locate recorder's, assessor's and surveyor's offices via a list
maintained by the
Association of County Surveyors, see
MnGeo's county GIS contacts list for contacts and county mapping
websites, or check with the
of Counties for contact information.
Survey & Land Management Information: This brochure from the Department of Transportation's
Office of Land Management describes
parcel-related information available from Mn/DOT.
- Plat books: These books typically cover a county and
show property boundaries, owner names and acreage along with other
reference information such as roads and township section numbers. They
are not intended for legal use in sales, trades or transfers of land.
Plat books can be viewed at many libraries; they can also be ordered
from the publisher, from map and book stores and from some county
offices. Copyright restrictions may prohibit photocopying of recent
- Private companies publish plat books for a number of
Minnesota counties. Check their websites for current lists of
available counties and for related cartographic, publishing or
software services that the companies may provide.
Minnesota's Bookstore carries current plat books for a number
of Minnesota counties.
About plat books:
For more information about how plat books
are created, see the Wisconsin State Cartographer's Office site.
Hunting land locations: Since hunters often ask about
land ownership information, the Minnesota Department of Natural
Resources has compiled a list of suggestions for finding public and
private land ownership, including maps showing the boundaries of
wildlife management areas, state and federal forests and national
Land records modernization efforts
Digital Cadastral Data Committee:
This MnGeo committee researches statewide issues surrounding the automation
and mapping of land record transactions.
MetroGIS Common Information Need for Parcel Data:
Information about development of a regional parcel data set for the
Twin Cities metropolitan area including current workgroup activities.
Cadastral Data Content Standard:
A standard endorsed by
the Federal Geographic Data Committee.
Return to Minnesota Land Ownership homepage
Back to top