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Personal Axioms “Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it” (Samuel Johnson)Samuel Johnson.

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Presentation on theme: "Personal Axioms “Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it” (Samuel Johnson)Samuel Johnson."— Presentation transcript:

1 Personal Axioms “Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it” (Samuel Johnson)Samuel Johnson “Intelligence is not the ability to store information but the ability to find it” (Albert Einstein)Albert Einstein “If you can't explain something simply, you don't know enough about it” (Albert Einstein)

2 Organization of Space Organization of Behavior Law Public Policy Landscape Evaluation The Nature of Landscape

3 The nature of landscape (A)ny landscape is an artifact - an object made by man. Its condition, rightly seen, reveals a society's culture as directly as does a novel or a newspaper or a Fourth of July oration because today's environment, the "natural part included, is synthetic (Roderick Nash The American Environment: Readings in the History of Conservation, 1968 ix) Our human landscape is our unwitting autobiography, reflecting our tastes, or aspirations, and even our fears, in tangible, visible form.... All our cultural warts and blemishes are there, and our glories too; but above all, our ordinary day-to-day qualities are exhibited for anybody who wants to find them and knows how to look for them (Peirce Lewis "Axioms for reading the landscape, some Guides to the American Scene" in Donald Meinig (ed) Interpretations of Ordinary Landscapes (New York, Oxford University Press, )

4 All research is personal

5 Your Research Data Information Publication Library - database Data Information Publication The Data Stream Acquiring and/or accessing data Managing data Making sense of the data – turning the data into information “Publishing” the data and information Other Research

6 Creating Place from Space

7 Township plats

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9 The Rectangular Public Land Surveys

10 Lines were Historically Important Necessary before the United States could convey ownership of land Established boundaries of tracts Established location of tracts

11 Lines were Historically Important Start of an abstract that depicts the chain of title linking the current owner to all previous owners

12 These lines remain Important Land Act of February 11, 1805 (2 Stat. 313; 43 USC 752)43 USC 752 “All the corners marked in the surveys, returned by the surveyor-general …shall be established as the proper corners, of the sections, or subdivisions of sections, which they were intended to designate ….” (Sec. 2) “The boundary lines, actually run and marked in the surveys returned by the surveyor- general …shall be established as the proper boundary lines of the sections, or subdivisions, for which they were intended ….” (Sec 2) County Surveyors in Minnesota

13 Federal Policy In the eighteenth & nineteenth centuries individuals migrated into the continental interior

14 Federal Policy In the eighteenth & nineteenth centuries individuals migrated into the continental interior Promoted by a policy that rested on two features

15 Federal Policy In the eighteenth & nineteenth centuries individuals migrated into the continental interior Promoted by a policy that rested on two features A land alienation process in which the federal government created landowners – conveying titles to individuals, corporations, and states

16 Federal Policy In the eighteenth & nineteenth centuries individuals migrated into the continental interior Promoted by a policy that rested on two features A land alienation process in which the federal government created landowners – conveying titles to individuals, corporations, and states Spread of law that created the conditions for landownership to exist

17 The Land Ordinance, 1785 Established two general principles

18 The Land Ordinance, 1785 Established two general principles Lands north and west of the River Ohio ceded by Native Americans would be subdivided in an orderly manner

19 The Land Ordinance, 1785 Established two general principles Lands north and west of the River Ohio ceded by Native Americans would be subdivided in an orderly manner The United States would convey title to these lands to individuals, corporations and states

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21 A Context for the Rectangular Public Land Surveys Land System Native American Land Cessions Public Land Surveys Public Land Conveyances Landowners

22 A Context for the Rectangular Public Land Surveys Land System Native American Land Cessions Public Land Surveys Public Land Conveyances Legal System Northwest Territory Michigan Territory Wisconsin Territory Landowners Minnesota Territory Landowners in Minnesota

23 A Context for the Rectangular Public Land Surveys Land System Native American Land Cessions Public Land Surveys Public Land Conveyances Legal System Northwest Territory Michigan Territory Wisconsin Territory Landowners Minnesota Territory Landowners in Minnesota

24 The Immaculate Grid

25 They still define the boundaries of parcels of land owned by individuals, corporations, and governments – federal, state and local – throughout the United States

26 The Rectangular Grid in Minneapolis and St. Paul

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29 Louisiana

30 Data Sources (Published) U.S. Congressional Serial Set - Digital Edition Annual Report of the surveyors general A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation Statutes at Large American State Papers Congressional Globe HeinOnline Territorial Papers of the United States 28 v Territorial Papers of the United States 28 v (Hathitrust) Original Public Land Survey Plats Original Public Land Survey Plats (Minnesota Geospatial Information Office)

31 Data Sources (Unpublished) Minnesota Historical Society. United States. Office of the Surveyor General of Minnesota Letters received and sent, Miscellaneous maps and lists Land survey field notes, Minnesota Historical Society. Minnesota. Secretary of State Land survey plats Land survey field notes Land survey miscellaneous records National Archives M27. Letters Sent by the General Land Office to the Surveyor General, microfilm rolls

32 They may have motors and be capable of creating digital images but they are still a pain in the ass

33 The Rectangular Public Land Surveys How can the gaps be explained? How can the spread be described?

34 The Spread of the Rectangular Public Land Survey Lines Throughout the United States

35 The Rectangular Public Land Surveys in the United States 1866

36 The Spread of the Rectangular Public Land Survey Lines in Minnesota

37 The Public Land Surveys Carried out by a cadre of deputy surveyors under contract with the federal government

38 The Public Land Surveys Purpose to establish the boundaries of a parcel of land that would be conveyed

39 The Public Land Surveys Purpose to establish the location of a parcel of land that would be conveyed Principal Meridians and Baselines

40 The Public Land Surveys As the land surface was subdivided, and boundaries and location established, an inventory was made of the surface, describing the features that were thought to be relevant to prospective landowners

41 The Public Land Surveys and maps were made

42 The Township PlatThe Township Plat - the first large scale maps The public lands surveys were first and foremost a mapping exercise

43 The Township PlatThe Township Plat - the first large scale maps the location of the township in the United States with reference to the 4 th Principal Meridian (28x6N 24x6W) The public lands surveys were first and foremost a mapping exercise

44 The Township PlatThe Township Plat - the first large scale maps the location of the township in the United States with reference to the 4 th Principal Meridian (28x6N 24x6W) the location of the boundaries to parcels of land in the township The public lands surveys were first and foremost a mapping exercise

45 The Township PlatThe Township Plat - the first large scale maps the location of the township in the United States with reference to the 4 th Principal Meridian (28x6N 24x6W) the location of the boundaries to parcels of land in the township the general nature of the land surface in the township specific topographic features in the township The public lands surveys were first and foremost a mapping exercise

46 Electronic Databases Bureau of Land Management General Land Office RecordsGeneral Land Office Records Minnesota Geospatial Office GLO Historic Plat Retrieval SystemGLO Historic Plat Retrieval System

47 Summary

48 I started with no hypothesis but a desire to describe a pattern of lines

49 Summary I started with no hypothesis but a desire to describe a pattern of lines I have no conclusion but a description of the evolution of that pattern

50 Summary I started with no hypothesis but a desire to describe a pattern of lines I have no conclusion but a description of the evolution of that pattern And a knowledge of the nature of the first large-scale maps of Minnesota


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