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They have a free trial sample I used for awhile. It was pretty good. The only problem was that the claim information might or might not be current. It seems like there could be some system where claim information would be uploaded to a website the instant it was logged in. To try and steer myself around current claims I have to plan a month ahead, call up Sacramento to check out an area, pay the fee for a print out and then wait for the information to come in the mail. Maybe I am missing some easier way? It would sure be nice to check out an area the night before I want to do some prospecting. I just checked out a website that is similar to the BLMRL2000 called "Footprints" that looks great. I don't know if their info is up to date either though.

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No claims system is, or can be, up to date. A locator has at least 60 days and often 90 days to record and file their location. The act of staking and monumenting establishes the claim location so there can be as much as three months before public notice of that existing claim is recorded. The closest we ever came to "up to date" was the old geocommunicator and most here know what a farce that became. It's gone now and I for one say good riddance. Too many people took the information there as gospel and many wasted time or got in trouble relying on it.

The only way to know the claim situation in any given area is to do the research yourself. It's called due diligence and it's required under the law. There are many approaches to this but the one we have found the most effective is to check the area in question with the BLM first. You will want to know the land status first of all. If the area has restrictions on minerals or access you will want to know that before you go to the trouble of doing claims research. You can find the BLM land status plats online HERE. That's a link to the Government Land Office (GLO) where you can also find patents. It is often inaccessible during working hours so you may want to plan your research there to take place during the evening.

The next step is to run a report on the area on the LR2000. It is the most current listing of claims available online but it also is never "up to date" and often has errors. The timeliness and reliability of the LR2000 is always suspect but the whole point of due diligence is to gather all available information before proceeding. The LR2000 can be rather daunting for the new user so we've put up a step by step tutorial on our website to help you with that. You can find that HERE.

After you have combed through the BLM information it's time for a trip to the county recorder's office where the claims are recorded and made public. At this point you should have a list of what the BLM considers current claims in your area of interest. What you are looking for from the recorder's office are copies of the recordings for those claims and any other claims that have been recorded in your area of interest in the last 90 days. You will want to get paper copies of all the pages recorded for each claim so you will have the maps and any changes or amendments in your hands.

Next you will need to plot those claim recording maps onto a topo or other accurate map of the area. Even if there are only one or two claims in the area you will want to know just where the locator put his stakes so you can find them on the ground when you go there.

Take your maps and recordings to the actual area of interest and look for new stakes or monuments on the ground in the open areas. It's a good idea to look around the area of existing claim boundaries for new stakes of claims that abut the claims you already know of.

When you have finished this process you will know more about the status of the area than most other prospectors ever will. You can prospect for valuable minerals without the worry of claim holders or agencies interfering with your efforts and if you do inadvertently trespass on a poorly marked or recorded claim you will have a positive defense against charges of mineral trespass.

I plot the claims on the FootPrints maps. Several thousand times a year I go through the process I've described above to establish the actual recorded claims locations on an interactive map. I do not visit the claims to check the physical location of each stake. We discovered the vast majority of gold regions have less than a 10% turnover of claims per year and a core base of more than 80% of claims never change. We do replot and update our maps on about a yearly basis usually in the spring after all the fall filings have settled out. It would be madness for anyone to try to keep any more than a very small area current on claims status. Even that would require daily visits to the County Recorder's office and physical surveys of the land.

The minerscache and the related online programs do serve a purpose and can provide a coarse view of claims generally in an area at a particular point of time in the past. Unfortunately they all stop at the BLM data. The BLM only plots claims to the nearest quarter section. Although these programs do show claims density per quarter section they do not and can not show areas open to prospecting or claim within that quarter section.

To give you an idea how important it can be to have an accurate view of actual claims locations consider that every major gold region I have mapped the claims for has been declared to be "all claimed up" by the locals in the know about these things. The online claims programs would give you that same opinion. Every area we have mapped does indeed have land open to prospecting and claim. Probably the most extreme example was Rich Hill. We were almost convinced it was a waste of time to plot the more than 700 claims made on and around Rich Hill. That's a lot of work to find out that no one will want a map that has no areas they can work. After months of plotting claims we discovered it just isn't so. There were at least 11 claims made on Rich Hill itself in the month after we released our Rich Hill map. Even today there are claimable areas right on and around that famous hill.

Here is an example from March of last year. This is a simplified version of our mapping of the claims and patents on Rich Hill at that point in time. As you can see there is a lot more to claims than a simple 160 acre block with some names attached. There is even more open area today after the claims fees ran several folks off. If you look on the LR2000 or one of the online claims programs this area will show as "all claimed up" rather than having over 100 acres open to prospecting and claim.


Minerscache and related programs have done some of your research for you. We have taken it a step further with the addition of claims plotting, geology, flood modeling and a lot more but ultimately there is no way to avoid the final research which always ends up being a search on the ground. You must do your own due diligence to prospect or claim the public lands.

This may all seem like a lot of work just to spend a day or two doing some digging or detecting without being stuck on some beat up club claims. Try looking at it this way - we the people of this nation gave ourselves the exclusive right to discover and claim valuable mineral deposits found on the unappropriated public lands. All we have to do is establish whether those lands are open to discovery and the wealth we find there becomes our exclusive property by simply making a claim of right on those mineral lands. Or we can simply take what we find and move on. If you know of a better deal than that on this earth please let us know. I find it a small price to pay for the possibility of discovering nature's mineral treasures and making it my property by declaration.

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El Dorado the new interface we are working on will be portable to just about anything including your television or toaster if they are "smart" enough. This is where the future of all computing is going.

The key words are "smart" and "future". The fact is that even though you may have a high speed processor and big ram in your cell phone or iPad the equation is much more complex than speed or size. Your iPad has a math co-processor and a fast enough bus unlike a cell phone but the operating system is pretty immature and more suited to a phone or a graphics program than huge high speed number crunching that a high level operating system can handle and needs to handle for high resolution mapping. That will change in time - the future. Apple has every intention to put iOS on your television and toaster - in time.

Another issue is vendor specific lockouts. While Apple has been pretty good at allowing others to play in their sandbox Microsoft is a horror of workarounds and klunky kludges from the 70's with very restrictive licensing and a bad attitude towards small developers. Samsung makes incredible systems on a chip but aren't sharing how those chips talk to other entities. GPS manufacturers are the worst with the exception of Garmin. They regularly change protocols and systems to keep you from using any third party software or devices.

FootPrints is literally working the bleeding edge of all this stuff in it's new core so we will be ready as these devices mature and become more inclusive. And they will mature or they will die in the new world rushing towards them. The iPad you hold in your hand is proof of that. In the meantime clunky evil old microsoft still owns the platform of choice for the vast majority of the world and FootPrints, no matter how ready we are for the new world, still has to make a profit in this one to survive.

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Luckily Clay, Android tablets are open source JAVA which at least gives you an opportunity to expand to that market. Good luck with this and I will give Footprints a look later, when I am outside of my firewall.I saw the old list on an old post of which location you chart and map, but do you have an updated list of locations that you chart and map now, or is it the same areas. Do you plan on expanding?

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Thanks for asking Dizzo. :D

I'm not about to get into a sales pitch here and normally I would direct you to our website for more information but we are still in the process of doing a makeover there.

To be brief we have 8 maps in Arizona that map right around 1,000 acres total with several more planned for the future. Those maps are all explained on our website.

We plan a total of about 42 maps in the Western U.S. We will be bringing out several new maps this year including several in California and at least two in Arizona.

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First of all, I am a complete newbie at this whole gold prospecting and mining thing. I took a tour last year and finally got some good color in South Dakota. I am looking to expand my searches. One of the tools I use is minecache. I use this tool to get close to the gold. As the saying goes, you can find gold where it was found before. So, I use the tool to scope out the area and look for gold activity. This brings me close to the gold bearing area. The next step is to find out if there are any active claims. I ended up paying someone to pan on their claim since I did not want to get in trouble especially being out in the sticks in the middle of nowhere.

I guess my next step was as you described, to get more recent and detailed data about claims. I never realized that in national parks, prospecting was sometimes or many times prohibited. So doing more research seems like a great idea.

I am definitely going to checkup on your information.

So the second question really is how do you choose the place to go prospecting?

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