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GLO Historic Plat Map

Retrieval System


"The surveyors, as they are respectively qualified, shall proceed to divide said territory into townships of 6 miles square, by lines running due north and south, and others crossing these at right angles, as near as may be, unless where the boundaries of the late Indian purchases may render the same impracticable, and then they shall depart from this rule no further than such particular circumstances may require. ...As soon as 7 ranges of townships and fractional parts of townships, in the direction from south to north shall have been surveyed, the geographer shall transmit plats thereof to the board of treasury, who shall record the same, with the report in well bound books to be kept for that purpose."  
Land Ordinance of 1785

This digital collection is a compilation of the state’s original plat maps drawn by the U.S. Surveyor General’s Office over the years 1848–1907. The collection includes later plat maps, up to the year 2001, drawn from surveys conducted by the General Land Office and the Bureau of Land Management.

The original public land survey plats were created during the first government land survey of the state. They serve as fundamental legal records for real estate, as an essential resource for surveyors, and as an analytical tool for the state’s physical geography prior to European settlement. The original public land survey plats are the official legal land records for Minnesota and all property titles and descriptions stem from them.

The collection of plat maps can be viewed by clicking the "View the collection" link on the navigation bar located on the left-hand side of each screen. You can view and download high quality, full color images of the over 3,500 plat maps and associated textual data (tables of meanders appear on the back of some maps). Each plat map is available as a high resolution PDF and a lower resolution resampled PDF. The PDF images have NOT been georeferenced; however, a georeferenced JPG version is available.

Find a Plat: The plat selection interface

History and Origin: History of the Public Land Survey System in Minnesota and the United States

Glossary: Terminology used in the Public Land Survey System

Documentation: Detailed information about how the files were produced

Ordering/Saving Instructions: How to download, save, view as a WMS layer, and print the original PLSS images

Acknowledgements: Partners involved in serving these images to the public

Contact Information: List of people to contact with questions or suggestions about this site

These images are the result of a collaborative effort by the State Archives of the Minnesota Historical Society, the Minnesota Department of Transportation, the Office of the Secretary of State, MnGeo and the Minnesota Association of County Surveyors. The Minnesota Department of Transportation provided funding for digitizing the GLO maps.