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Public Land Survey System (PLSS) To UTM?


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I'm trying to figure out out to convert Public Land Survey System (PLSS)

coordinates to a format I can plug into my Sportrak GPS.

 

I know PLSS looks something like this; 21 T29S R40E 1

The BLM uses PLSS. That is about all I know.

 

Sure wish I could use my GPS to locate PLSS coordinates.

 

Any suggestions?

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I'm not sure they will convert:

http://geology.isu.edu/geostac/Field_Exerc...pomaps/plss.htm

Looks to me like PLSS is a different system based on a local base line and meridian, which may not match up with other systems well, and as they say, little difined accuracy. Simply a way to describe the local land in labled chunks based on a local starting point.

But then I'm no expert. Just read through the linked page.

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The PLSS began in the era of Thomas Jefferson. Its based on a system of meridians and baselines unique to different regions of USA. For example, in the Pacific Northwest its based off of the Willamette Meridian. The problem is that it projects flat squares onto the curved surface of the earth. That's why you see some staggering of the lines. Not all areas of the country are surveyed in accordance with the PLSS. It would be extremely difficult to convert PLSS to any coordinate system (lat/lon or UTM). The best thing is to find a USGS topo map for the area of interest and figure the lat/lon or UTM from the map.

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Check out: http://crunch.tec.army.mil/software/corpscon/corpscon.html

 

Here's a snippet from their page:

Corpscon, Version 5.11.08 (Year 2000 compliant), is a MS-Windows-based program which allows the user to convert coordinates between Geographic, State Plane and Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) systems on the North American Datum of 1927 (NAD 27), the North American Datum of 1983 (NAD 83) and High Accuracy Reference Networks (HARNs).
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Check out: http://crunch.tec.army.mil/software/corpscon/corpscon.html

 

Here's a snippet from their page:

Corpscon, Version 5.11.08 (Year 2000 compliant), is a MS-Windows-based program which allows the user to convert coordinates between Geographic, State Plane and Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) systems on the North American Datum of 1927 (NAD 27), the North American Datum of 1983 (NAD 83) and High Accuracy Reference Networks (HARNs).

It doesn't appear that corpscon converts PLSS coordinates (and I use that term loosely) to any other coordinate system. One problem is that once you get to the section level, which is basically one square mile, you begin to break it down to quarter sections, then quarter-quarter sections, and so on. This is awkward to say the least. How much quartering would you have to do to achieve the level of precision in other coordinate systems? And how would you enter PLSS points to convert to other coodinate systems and what would the output be from converting PLSS coordinates to other coordinate systems? The PLSS is fine for describing pieces of property but don't ever expect it to be easy find a cache whose location is described as the SE1/4 of the NW1/4 of Section 12, Township 24 North, Range 4 East, of the Willamette Meridian.

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You want a small program called 'WinCAN'. It converts PLSS (down to the 1/4-1/4 section) to lat long and UTM. Put in any one and it converts to the others. There is a LARGE database(one for each state) that serves as a lookup table with the lat long of every township and range corner. The specific coordinates are interpolated from those. The software was developed for fire and EMS dispatchers for emergency aircraft (Win for Windows, CAN for Computer Aided Navigation). It also gives bearing and distance from airports and heliports in ascending distance order (you can create and add your own points).

 

It is not always accurate in areas with highly irregular sections (around here we have some 'L' and 'U' shaped sections, as well as sections 37,38,40, township 37 1/2, etc.). Those confuse it. Heck, they confuse me sometimes. :mad:

 

It is a module of a larger software package, so after reading the user guide you may or may not decide to download it.

 

http://www.fs.fed.us/fire/planning/nist/di...TCH%20UTILITIES

Edited by dsandbro
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Thanks for the link dsandbro.

 

I had just figured a way to convert PLSS to UTM.

topozone.com has PLSS coordinates overlaid on their topo maps.

By clicking on PLSS grids, I can get UTM coordinates for the section corners.

Then I have to interpolate to get 1/4s and 1/4s of 1/4s.

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