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Map Grids (Graticules)


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We've been considering some additions to the map tools on Land Matters and would like user's feedback.

Land area locations in the U.S. are typically described by their legal land description (PLSS). This is the only system that has been physically surveyed and has actual physical markers on the ground. That's why it's the system for legally describing land parcels.

All the Land Matters maps have the PLSS included as a possible display item but a lot of people (military) have been trained to use a grid to describe actual ground locations. Graticules are very much like grids but they have the advantage of following the earth's curvature, unlike grid maps. Digital graticules are capable of increasing in resolution as you zoom in to an area. These are advantages of a graticule but the use of a graticule is just like using a grid.

It's possible to use both the PLSS and a graticule when mapping so we thought we would see if some people would like the option of using a grid type mapping system. To that end I have included graticule layers on our historic places and ghost towns map to let folks try out this system and see if they would like these layers included on other Land Matters maps.

If you have an interest give it a try at the Historic Places Map. You can read more about grids, graticules and their uses on our New Projects page.

Let us know if you would like this feature added to the maps. It's a bunch of work to make those changes so we'll have to see some demand before we add these in.


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Not quite sure what graticules are. I thought they might be UTM or MGRS.  I learned maps with that system, and I do prefer those two meter coordinates to lat long, a lot because it makes it easier to see how far away something might be because they are gridded so that the grids are always just as wide as they are long even when going way north from the equator to near the poles.  I never used these maps to travel long distances, so never brought the curvature of the earth into it, but our guys who went to a more advanced TERPS course used curvature formulas for air routes.  The only thing I noticed on that was different on the historic place maps were the PLSS is now slanted, which I think is top is now aligned to magnetic north vs. true North. 

For historic places, I bet the USGS or other places don't really make a meta data file or whatever makes it easier to digitize the data, but a few of the airfields like the one by gates road at the Hassanyumpa and the Luke auxiliary fields were not shown and the Allah Ghost town across from the monarch wash and the gillete ghost town up by black canyon city were not shown.  I don't know if you want to consider putting something on the page where people can enter those coords and a brief description in so it can be put in easier.  Google has their trusted map updaters.  An old boss at work decided to hop an 8' chain link fence with three strands of barbed wire at top one day to take a shortcut to a restaurant, so now you can go on the google map and he has a part of the fence named after him.  So, these trusted agents can abuse the system also.

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