Original Public Land Survey Field Notes, Minnesota, Digital Format

This page last updated: 01/24/2012
Metadata created using Minnesota Geographic Metadata Guidelines


Metadata Summary

Originator Minnesota Geospatial Information Office (MnGeo)
Abstract Minnesota's original public land survey field notes were handwritten documents prepared during the first government land survey of the state by the U.S. Surveyor General's Office between 1847 and 1911. The collection of 1,417 paper volumes totals 304,370 pages and is housed at the Minnesota Historical Society.

The field notes serve as the fundamental legal records for real estate in Minnesota; all property titles and descriptions stem from them. They remain an essential resource for surveyors and provide a record of the state's physical geography prior to European settlement. They also serve as a testimony to many years of hard work by the surveying community, often under very challenging conditions.

The deteriorating physical condition of the volumes and the need to provide wider public access to the notes have made handling the original volumes increasingly impractical. To meet this challenge, the Office of the Secretary of State, the State Archives of the Minnesota Historical Society, the Minnesota Department of Transportation, the Minnesota Geospatial Information Office, the Minnesota Association of County Surveyors and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management collaborated in a digitization and indexing project which produced high quality (approximately 600 dpi), 24-bit color images of the maps in TIFF and JPEG 2000 formats - over 13 terabytes of data. Funding was provided by a Minnesota Historical and Cultural Heritage grant from the Minnesota Historical Society.
Browse Graphic View a sample of the data.
Time Period of Content Date 1847
Currentness Reference The original field note volumes were created from 1847 through 1911.
Access Constraints None
Use Constraints In obtaining this data from MnGeo, it is understood that you and/or your organization have the right to use it for any purpose. If you provide data to another user, it is your responsibility to provide appropriate content, limitation, warranty and liability information as you see fit.
Distributor Organization Minnesota Geospatial Information Office
Ordering Instructions Digital images of the field notes will be available for viewing and download through an interactive selection tool at BLM's GLO website sometime in 2012: http://www.glorecords.blm.gov (Some areas may be covered initially by black-and-white scans done as part of a pilot project.)

Both the GLO survey plat maps and links to the accompanying field notes on BLM's website are available at MnGeo's public land survey plats page: http://www.mngeo.state.mn.us/glo/

More information about the field notes scanning project is at MnGeo's Field Notes webpage: http://www.mngeo.state.mn.us/chouse/GLO/fieldnotes/
Online Linkage Click here to download data. (See Ordering Instructions above for details.) By clicking here, you agree to the notice in "Distribution Liability" in Section 6 of this metadata.

Full Metadata

Original Public Land Survey Field Notes, Minnesota, Digital Format

Go to Section:
1. Identification Information
2. Data Quality Information
3. Spatial Data Organization Information
4. Spatial Reference Information
5. Entity and Attribute Information
6. Distribution Information
7. Metadata Reference Information

 
Section 1 Identification Information   Top of page
Originator Minnesota Geospatial Information Office (MnGeo)
Title Original Public Land Survey Field Notes, Minnesota, Digital Format
Abstract Minnesota's original public land survey field notes were handwritten documents prepared during the first government land survey of the state by the U.S. Surveyor General's Office between 1847 and 1911. The collection of 1,417 paper volumes totals 304,370 pages and is housed at the Minnesota Historical Society.

The field notes serve as the fundamental legal records for real estate in Minnesota; all property titles and descriptions stem from them. They remain an essential resource for surveyors and provide a record of the state's physical geography prior to European settlement. They also serve as a testimony to many years of hard work by the surveying community, often under very challenging conditions.

The deteriorating physical condition of the volumes and the need to provide wider public access to the notes have made handling the original volumes increasingly impractical. To meet this challenge, the Office of the Secretary of State, the State Archives of the Minnesota Historical Society, the Minnesota Department of Transportation, the Minnesota Geospatial Information Office, the Minnesota Association of County Surveyors and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management collaborated in a digitization and indexing project which produced high quality (approximately 600 dpi), 24-bit color images of the maps in TIFF and JPEG 2000 formats - over 13 terabytes of data. Funding was provided by a Minnesota Historical and Cultural Heritage grant from the Minnesota Historical Society.
Purpose Minnesota's Public Land Survey field notes were converted to digital imagery to protect the original volumes from further deterioration and to provide greater public access to the notes.
Time Period of Content Date 1847
Currentness Reference The original field note volumes were created from 1847 through 1911.
Progress Complete
Maintenance and Update Frequency Unknown
Spatial Extent of Data Minnesota
Bounding Coordinates -97.5
-89.0
49.5
43.0
Place Keywords Minnesota
Theme Keywords planningCadastre, original survey maps, GLO maps, plat maps, Public Land Survey, PLS, PLSS, cultural features, General Land Office, GLO, field notes, GLO field notes
Theme Keyword Thesaurus ISO 19115 Topic Category
Access Constraints None
Use Constraints In obtaining this data from MnGeo, it is understood that you and/or your organization have the right to use it for any purpose. If you provide data to another user, it is your responsibility to provide appropriate content, limitation, warranty and liability information as you see fit.
Contact Person Information Charles Rodgers, State Archives Acquisitions
Minnesota Historical Society
345 West Kellogg Boulevard
St. Paul, MN 55102-1906
Phone: 651-259-3266
FAX: 651-296-9961
E-mail: charles.rodgers@mnhs.org
Browse Graphic View a sample of the data.
Browse Graphic File Description Sample page of interior volume 735, 5th principal meridian, image number 15 and M-number M7
Associated Data Sets 1. The original surveyors' field note volumes, as well as the original survey maps, are housed at the Minnesota Historical Society - http://www.mnhs.org/library/about/general.html

2. The original survey plat images (including a version that is in geo-referenced format) are available from MnGeo at: http://www.mngeo.state.mn.us/chouse/GLO/
or from BLM's GLO website: http://www.glorecords.blm.gov

3. GIS files derived from original survey information are available from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources:
a. Bearing trees used as references of landmarks during the original Minnesota Public Land Survey: http://deli.dnr.state.mn.us/metadata/pveg_btreept3.html
b. Public Land Survey Corners with Presettlement Vegetation information: http://deli.dnr.state.mn.us/metadata/pveg_btvegpt3.html
c. Marschner's Original Presettlement Vegetation Map of Minnesota: http://deli.dnr.state.mn.us/metadata/pveg_mrschpy1.html

 
Section 2 Data Quality Information Top of full metadata Top of page
Attribute Accuracy No attributes are delivered with the scanned field note images.

When creating the indexing databases that relate the field notes and plats, enabling web searches for related documents, one staff person created the indexing attributes, and a different staff person reviewed their work.
Logical Consistency N/A
Completeness The intent was to scan all available field note volumes for Minnesota and include every township in the state.

Unavailable / missing townships (believed to be at the National Archives) from the collection:
- T60 R4 Interior 4th principal meridian
- T60 R5 Interior 4th principal meridian
- T65 R15 Interior 4th principal meridian
Horizontal Positional Accuracy N/A
Lineage SUMMARY

The Minnesota Historical Society (MHS) awarded a Minnesota Historical and Cultural Heritage grant to the Minnesota Geospatial Information Office (MnGeo) to scan, index and distribute Minnesota's field note volumes archived at MHS. MnGeo worked in partnership with MHS, the Office of the Secretary of State (SOS), Minnesota Department of Transportation, Minnesota Association of County Surveyors and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

Project Timeline: February 2010 - June 30, 2011

- Grant awarded in February 2010.
- MHS / MnGeo contracts executed.
- MnGeo created an advisory committee to help guide the project.
- MnGeo prepared and published a Request for Proposal (RFP) for scanning the field notes.
- Scanning contract was awarded to Perfect Image of Kirkland, WA.
- Perfect Image began scanning field notes on-site at MHS in December 2010.
- Cadastral Survey System (CSS) software developed for BLM by Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) was modified and used by MnGeo staff to index (link) the field note pages to corresponding township survey information and original survey plats.
- BLM trained MnGeo staff to use CSS.
- MnGeo staff began indexing field notes in January 2011.
- MHS scanned over-sized field note volume insets included in the collection and delivered to MnGeo.
- Perfect Image completed scanning (nearly 304,000 pages) in early May 2011.
- MnGeo staff completed indexing and quality assurance testing in late June 2011.
- All images and CSS database shipped to BLM in mid-August 2011. They will maintain an archival copy of the information and provide public access.
- BLM will make Minnesota's field notes and plats available via their website in 2012.

STEP 1: PROJECT MANAGEMENT

An advisory committee with representatives from federal, state, county, tribal, education and private sectors, provided expertise and assistance with the RFP, quality assurance / quality control (QA/QC) of the scanned pages, support and product review.

MnGeo's Main Tasks:
- Create an advisory committee to help guide the project.
- Prepare and publish an RFP for scanning the field notes.
- Scanning contract was awarded to Perfect Image of Kirkland, WA.
- Create an agreement with SAIC to modify the Cadastral Survey System (CSS) indexing software to accommodate Minnesota's M page numbers. (M numbers are page numbers assigned by SOS. One M-number is assigned to both a right and a left page.)
- Convert Minnesota GLO maps from TIFF to MrSID formats. TIFF format is used for archival purposes; MrSID and JPG are formats for web display and delivery products.
- Geo-reference original survey plats digitized by MnGeo (formerly LMIC) in 2004.
- Establish QA/QC procedures and a venue for dealing with exceptions.
- Send Mn/DOT survey technicians and lead project survey to BLM for CSS training.
- Monitor scanning progress and image quality.
- Modify contract with Perfect Image to accommodate an increase in the number of pages to be scanned as well as for increased time to adjust scanning process to better capture surveyor notes that ran into a volume's gutter (the area beyond the normal page margin that is close to the volume binding).
- Perform final quality assurance testing of images and indexing.
- Ship copies of images to MHS for archiving.
- Prepare final report and financial statements.
- Ship final images and CSS database to BLM.
- Complete metadata for field notes.


STEP 2: SCANNING

In early 2010, MHS awarded a Minnesota Historical and Cultural Heritage grant to MnGeo to scan and index the field note images using BLM's CSS software. Through a competitive bid process, MnGeo awarded the scanning contract to:

Perfect Image
13615 126th Place Suite 450
Kirkland, WA 98034
425-576-0989

Perfect Image performed all scanning on-site at MHS. Project manager: Sean Chambers. Principal scanning operator: John Dopp. All work was overseen by Eric Fleming, owner of Perfect Image.

From December 2010 - June 2011, Perfect Image scanned 1,417 field note volumes (304,370 images) using the following equipment and specifications:

Scanners:
Two Atiz DIY Model B, each with a V-Shaped auto-centering cradle and glass platen
2 Canon SLR Cameras - one for each page

Scanner settings: Camera settings were adjusted often due to a significant variability in the type and color both of the paper and the writing instrument.

Cropping: Automatic page detection was used. The cropped area was then padded 0.375 inches to ensure that the entire page is visible.

Resolution:
- 644 dpi horizontal (optical) x 644 dpi vertical (optical) - Typical
- Resolution ranges from 544 to 644 depending on physical dimensions and processing.
- Valid resolutions: 544, 567, 600, 604 and 644

Color Output: Scanned at 24-bit RGB

Issues:
- Writing into the gutters (the area beyond the normal page margin that is close to the volume binding): The issue was minimized by shifting the glass platen slightly left or right to reduce the distortion at the 'V' of the platen. This also captured all the writing visible before the binding.
- Faint or faded pages: Readability was increased by using various camera settings and post-processing before creating the JPEG 2000 file.
- Very large volume of images and individual file size of the products: An (up to) 24 TB external storage device -- http://www.drobo.com -- was used to process and store the images.


Product #1: TIFF images

File Processing:
- Camera images are JPEG with lossless compression.
- Start with camera images, with camera settings, and then crop the image.
- Each camera image was checked by Perfect Image staff.
- Each image was converted to TIFF format.

File Transfer: Transferred to MnGeo on 2 TB USB hard drives along with JP2 images.


Product #2: JPEG 2000 (JP2) images

File Processing:
- Field note image was processed to enhance readability.
- Software - BatchPhoto
- Convert to JPEG 2000 Settings: Lossless, quality layers: 25, JP2, tiles: 1024 x 1024

File Transfer: Transferred to MnGeo on 2 TB USB hard drives.


STEP 3: OVER-SIZED FIELD NOTE INSETS

In many volumes, large format 'inset' maps and diagrams existed. These over-sized images were scanned by MHS.


Product #1: TIFF

Scanned at MHS by MHS staff: Nick Duncan or Matthew Goff

Total number of images: 328

Every image was checked by MHS and MnGeo staff

Scanner capabilities:
1. Tabloid size or smaller - Epson 1000XL (flat bed scanner)
Optical Resolution: 2400 dpi
Color: 48-bit
Maximum Scan Area: 12.2 x 17.2

2. Larger than tabloid size - Contex HD3630 (roll feed scanner)
Optical Resolution: 600 dpi
Color: 48-bit
Maximum Scan Area: 36 inches wide

Scanning:
Resolution: 600 dpi horizontal (optical) x 600 dpi vertical (optical)
Color: 24-bit

Software:
1. Tabloid size or smaller - Photoshop PS5 Pro
2. Larger than tabloid size - NextImage

File Processing (TIFF):
- Deskew
- Crop
- Some images scanned in two pieces
- One image was sent to MHS conservation team for repair before scanning

File Transfer (TIFF): Saved to USB Flash Drive


Product #2: JPEG 2000 (JP2)

MnGeo's staff created these using Acrobat 7.1

Software: Adobe Acrobat Professional 7
Save As JPEG2000, Quality: Lossless, Tile Size: 256

The TIFF and JP2 images were placed on a network drive accessible to CSS. Then CSS was used to swap out placeholder images with the correct images.


STEP 4: INDEXING

Indexing Software: Cadastral Survey System (CSS) developed for BLM by Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC). Features of the software include importing images into the system and assigning each record a unique ID (DM ID).

Image QA/QC was done by MnGeo staff while performing the following indexing tasks:
- Link each field note page to its corresponding plat map image and database
- Assign page / M-page numbers
- Check page type: Body, Intro, Cert., Title, Vol. Indx., Inx. Diag., Gen Desc., Fld. Ast.
- Add survey information: date, surveyor, which boundary, etc.
- Fill in appropriate township(s) and range(s)

File Storage:
- At MnGeo and MHS: Drobo (a RAID 5 expandable storage device which uses a combination of 3.5-inch SATA drives)
- Final data, over 13 TB, was shipped to BLM on a Drobo. BLM will import and archive all the data and make the information available to the public.
Source Scale Denominator
 
Section 3 Spatial Data Organization Information Top of full metadata Top of page
Native Data Set Environment TIFF, JPEG 2000
Geographic Reference for Tabular Data
Spatial Object Type
Vendor Specific Object Types
Tiling Scheme Public Land Survey Township
 
Section 4 Spatial Reference Information Top of full metadata Top of page
Horizontal Coordinate Scheme
Ellipsoid
Horizontal Datum
Horizontal Units
Distance Resolution
 
Section 5 Entity and Attribute Information Top of full metadata Top of page
Entity and Attribute Overview The indexing attributes are used only to enable the search for images that meet criteria. No attributes are delivered with the scanned field note images.
Entity and Attribute Detailed Citation
 
Section 6 Distribution Information Top of full metadata Top of page
Publisher Minnesota Geospatial Information Office
Publication Date 2011
Contact Person Information John Hoshal
GIS Project Services Supervisor
Minnesota Geospatial Information Office
300 Centennial Building; 658 Cedar Street
St. Paul, MN 55155
Phone: 651-201-2482
FAX: 651-296-3698
E-mail: john.hoshal@state.mn.us
Distributor's Data Set Identifier GLO field notes
Distribution Liability These images have NOT been certified by the Minnesota Historical Society as exact, digital copies of the original source documents.

DISTRIBUTION LIABILITY STATEMENT
For data or maps delivered online or by physical media by
the Minnesota Geospatial Information Office

Limitations: Although extensive effort has been made to produce error-free and complete data, all geographic information has limitations due to the scale, resolution, date and interpretation of the original source materials. Users should consult available data documentation (metadata) for this particular data to determine limitations and the precision to which the data depict distance, direction, location or other geographic characteristics. Data may be subject to change without prior notification.

No warranty: Data is provided as is, without any warranty whatsoever, including but not limited to any warranty as to performance, merchantability or fitness for any particular purpose.

Liability: The entire risk as to the results of the use of this data is assumed by the user. MnGeo is not responsible for any interpretation or conclusions made by those who acquire or use it. MnGeo shall not be liable for any direct, indirect, special, incidental, compensatory or consequential damages or third-party claims resulting from the use of this data, even if MnGeo has been advised of the possibility of such potential loss or damage. In states that do not allow the exclusion or limitation of incidental or consequential damages, this data may not be used.

Redistribution conditions: In obtaining this service from MnGeo, it is understood that you and/or your organization have the right to use it for any purpose. If you use the service to transmit or provide data to another user, it is your responsibility to provide appropriate content, limitation, warranty and liability information as you see fit.

Data delivered on electronic media: If data has been requested from MnGeo on magnetic media, CD or any other physical media, MnGeo will deliver it in the computer-readable format agreed upon with the requestor. MnGeo will reissue data if it is unreadable by correctly adjusted computer input devices or when the media is delivered in a damaged condition. Requests for reissue of this digital data product must be made within 30 days of the date shipped from MnGeo.
Transfer Format Name JPEG 2000, PDF and MrSID
Transfer Format Version Number
Transfer Size
Ordering Instructions Digital images of the field notes will be available for viewing and download through an interactive selection tool at BLM's GLO website sometime in 2012: http://www.glorecords.blm.gov (Some areas may be covered initially by black-and-white scans done as part of a pilot project.)

Both the GLO survey plat maps and links to the accompanying field notes on BLM's website are available at MnGeo's public land survey plats page: http://www.mngeo.state.mn.us/glo/

More information about the field notes scanning project is at MnGeo's Field Notes webpage: http://www.mngeo.state.mn.us/chouse/GLO/fieldnotes/
Online Linkage Click here to download data. (See Ordering Instructions above for details.) By clicking here, you agree to the notice in "Distribution Liability" above.
 
Section 7 Metadata Reference Information Top of full metadata Top of page
Metadata Date 01/24/2012
Contact Person Information John Hoshal, GIS Project Services Supervisor
Minnesota Geospatial Information Office
300 Centennial Building; 658 Cedar Street
St. Paul, MN 55155
Phone: 651-201-2482
FAX: 651-296-3698
E-mail: john.hoshal@state.mn.us
Metadata Standard Name Minnesota Geographic Metadata Guidelines
Metadata Standard Version 1.2
Metadata Standard Online Linkage http://www.gis.state.mn.us/stds/metadata.htm


This page last updated: 01/24/2012