Energy land professionals’ history & best practices for land mapping.
Land Data from Start to Finish
With Anthony Ford, President and Co-Founder of USLandGrid
Duration: 40mins, Released Sep 13, 2022
Land professionals have access to a plethora of data sources that can help make their day-to-day jobs easier. But deciding which data to track can be tricky. Today, more energy leaders leverage GIS data technology than ever before.
In this one-hour session, Anthony Ford, President and Co-Founder of USLandGrid, peels back the layers of land data available. See how you can better understand your areas of interest (AOIs) and map precise polygons with more complete information, including:
By learning the sources and depths of available land data, you can map polygons much more accurately and confidently. This includes considering all the land layers from sections, to abstracts, to lots, to parcels, and so on. Each is probably relevant to the area of interest you are working. By having that data available and understanding the relevance of the data behind it, you start to get a much more detailed view of your land assets.
About The Pandell Leadership Series
The Pandell Leadership Series is a collection of free webinars featuring presentations by energy industry experts in a variety of specialized fields. Topics range from global business issues to recommended best practices in oil and gas; pipelines; mining; utilities; and the renewable energy industry (including wind, solar, hydrogen, geothermal, marine & hydrokinetic, nuclear and biomass power).
Please Note: Views and opinions expressed by the PLS presenter(s) do not necessarily represent the views of Pandell and its representatives.
ELIZA WITH PANDELL Good afternoon, everybody. My name is Eliza. I'm the Customer Engagement Specialist here at Pandell and welcome to this next Pandell leadership series of webinars. This installment is called, Land Data from start to finish and we are delighted to have Anthony Ford with us today.
Anthony is the President and Co-Founder of USlandgrid.com. Previously Anthony worked for Geographics, White Star, Esri, and Premier Data. And we are delighted to have his expertise here to speak to us today. So, Anthony, I will welcome you and pass you off on the stage here.
ANTHONY Thanks Eliza, much appreciated. Today we're going to be talking about Land Data from Start to Finish. So, we're going to be talking about the history of land data and then some of the specifics when it comes to the specific layers.
Before we get started though a little bit about USLandGrid. So, we were founded in 2012. You can find us on the web at uslandgrid.com. Our primary focus is land grid data and land tax parcels. I think over the last few years we've probably done a little too much work on the digitization of hard copy maps. So, we do do a lot of digitization work for a lot of the counties and parishes across the United States. But apart from that we're most well known for our pre-processed, on-demand data that comes in multiple formats.
So, a quick intro about me and I think Eliza covered it pretty well. I'm the founder of USLandGrid, the VP of Sales. I have about 20 years experience in GIS and land mapping. Most of that has come from the surface and subsurface mapping side of things. So, I have a fair bit of years in the oil and gas industry and the energy side of the business. When it comes to USLandGrid I'm the head of sales and product management. And I'm very proud to say that I'm the head rugby coach at the Colorado School of Mines.
So, today we're going to cover land data of the United States. So, it is U.S. centric when it comes to USLandGrid. And we're going to be covering the public land survey system which covers most of the states. So, all the states minus the original 13 colonies and minus Texas. Then we're going to be talking about the Texas land grid. The history behind that how Spain and Mexico play a big part in that land grid. And then we're going to be talking about land parcels or tax parcels across the continental United States.
So, if we jump straight into the Public Land Survey System [PLSS]. The land grid that was pushed or created by Thomas Jefferson. Essentially it was created in order to populate the western United States and it started with meridians. So, you'll find that the first meridian is in Ohio. And Ohio is an interesting piece of land when it comes to land grid and the Public Land Survey System because once again that's where it started with the first meridian. But it was also the place where they didn't perfect surveying.
So, I think you'll find that there's seven meridians in Ohio and the reason being is they realize they stuffed it up. So, they did the first meridian they started surveying, like oh my god we haven't really figured this process out the way we wanted to. So, they created a second starting point, and they started surveying more of Ohio. Once again, they realized they hadn't perfected the art. So, it took them about seven meridians in Ohio to get the art of surveying right and done. But as you move west and across the United States, you'll notice that there's a lot less meridians and much larger pieces of land associated to that starting point, that meridian.
The original source of the land grid that we see today or that we use today, the digitized land grid, is sourced or digitized from the USGS [U.S. Geological Survey] 1:24k topos [topographic maps]. So, the United States Geological Survey [USGS] topos. Now what that means is those topos have an accuracy of plus or minus 40 feet. Which means your land grid has an accuracy in the PLSS states of plus or minus 40 feet. The good thing about the topos and the land grid being on the topos you can always bring the topo map underneath your land grid if you do see a data bust or if you do see some land grid that you're not sure of. A great way to check the integrity of your land grid is to bring in a topo map and have a look how it matches up to that topo map.
In the Public Land Survey System states, so most of the states once again in the United States, you basically got four main layers that you need to accurately auto map or map to your land grid. So, you've got your sections, you've got your townships, you've got your lots, and you've got your quarters.
If you look at the sections, I call them the content king of the Public Land Survey System. And the reason I do is it's really the basis for the PLSS language, it's where the surveys really, really do base their soul from, I guess. It's also content king because that's where most of the legal descriptions that you guys deal with are referring to. They're referring to section corners, or north halves, or the south quarter, and so on. They could be footage calls or quarter calls, but they are obviously referring to the sections in the land grid.
You've got in most cases, and I say most cases because it does depend on boundaries and things ending, but in most cases there's 36 sections that make up a township. Each section is approximately 640-acres or one square mile. And the reason I say approximately, is they're never going to be perfect. And the reason being is it goes back to the Ohio real life analogy of how they did the surveying. You know as they moved west and as these surveyors moved west, all sorts of things played into how accurate their surveys were. I mean in many cases these guys and girls were out in the middle of nowhere by themselves. In some cases, landowners would try and influence them, but you can imagine there's going to be variances just based on the fact that it's a human doing those surveys all the way back in the in the mid 1800s.
Sections within a township generally wrap around in an S shape or a cow plow. And so, what you'll find is section number one will be in that top right-hand corner, going from right to left to section six. And then down to section seven left to right, all the way to section 12 and so on. In our land grid you'll find that the section ID [Identity] is unique. You won't find two section IDs anywhere in the country that are duplicates. And the same principles go for when you're comparing or combining sections with townships and counties obviously, they should be unique.
If we look at townships, so obviously there's 36 square miles in a township or 36 sections. The range number for a township identifies how many townships the property is to the east or west of that starting point or in other words the meridian. Which is the starting point for any of the PLSS land grid. And the township number identifies how many townships the property is to the north or south of that starting point. Now I know the image on the map is hard to read but it actually in the middle there you can kind of see township 5 north, range 2 east. So, what that means is the township we're looking at is five townships to the north and two townships to the east of that starting point, that meridian.
All right moving on to lots. So, lots obviously are a very important part of auto-mapping and mapping leases. Lots are referred to quite often when we talk about legal descriptions. Lots are a subpart of a section, they're not an aliquot part, they can be irregular or regular. And what that means is you will find lots looking very consistent in shape but then again if you come across lots along river boundaries ever you will see lots that look like shattered glass, and you'll even see duplicates of the same lot in the same section. Which can create problems for auto-mapping as you can imagine. But the acreage for lots because of this does vary, and once again you will see them referred to in legal descriptions, lots are usually identified by a number, for example lot number three.
So, quarters basically are a section divided into four quarters. Each quarter is generally 160-acres. Obviously, it's a derivative of the section, so it does depend on the acreage of that original section. And when we're dealing with quarters, they're obviously labeled with a quadrant direction, so you'll find the northeast quarter for example, or the northwest quarter, and so on. Quarters are very important once again when it comes to depth in a land grid, when it comes to mapping your leases most legal descriptions or a lot of legal description, I should say do refer to quarters when it comes to mapping that lease or that plot of land.
Okay, I'm going to mention fractional townships only because it's interesting. I think it's pretty rare you're going to come across fractional townships, but they do occur. An example is in Nevada where you will see fractional townships either be a half, a quarter, or even three quarters in one case. More a point of interest, I don't think you'll come across it very often if at all, but fractions can occur in townships when they're prematurely ended by a boundary, like a state boundary for example.
Okay, so that was the very quick and maybe in some cases too detailed rundown of the Public Land Survey System.
We're going to jump into Texas right now and talk about the Texas land grid. So, as a quick overview, the Texas land grid is the land grid we use today. The original creator was the General Land Office [GLO]. The Railroad Commission [RRC] updates the land grid based on permits from commercial companies. In a lot of cases historically it's been oil and gas operators.
Land grants have an associated abstract number and so each land grant also has an abstract and an associated survey attached to it. Each and every other survey in West Texas essentially were designated as railroad land or public-school land. And we'll talk about this later, but it is an important point especially when we're talking about commercial interests and operating in those areas.
And lastly talking about West Texas again in that area of university lands, public school lands, and railroad reservations you will find a more standardized land grid much like you would have found in the Public Land Survey System [PLSS]. So, you will find sections with 640-acre plots of land. And that's relevant because you will find some of well some of our customers auto map to those sections in Texas which makes life a little bit easier.
But before we get into the nitty gritty and the layers when it comes to land grid in Texas, I think it's important to understand the history behind the Texas land grid.
So, Spain claimed the land that is now Texas in 1519. The land grid that we use today does date back to those Spanish settlements and missions and presidios that existed back then. Spain issued leagues and labors. They measured units in a thing called a varas, which was 33 and a third inches and was later adopted by the state of Texas as its official land measure. And in Texas today the largest concentration of Spanish land grants that you're going to find are going to be in southwest Texas.
So, if we take a little bit of a sidestep and talk about leagues and labors. You will not find leagues and labors in our land grid. It's not used today, but it is worth mentioning. You may come across some old legal descriptions and I'm sure all of you have in one case or another come across a legal description that refers to a league or a labor.
So, leagues are large parcels of land granted by the Spanish for grazing purposes. They were generally 4500-acres. While they also granted a league they granted a labor, which was approximately 180-acres and was more for farming, generally had access to water or to a river but had water access. So, we'll talk more about leagues and labors a little bit later, but I did want to introduce that because it does come up in later slides.
So, Mexico claimed independence of what is now Texas in 1821 from the Spanish. They too welcomed foreign settlers. Stephen F. Austin is probably one of the most famous and successful empresarios that I could find. He was big on cadastral surveying. He was big on populating the land especially from the Americas having people migrate to this land and populate this land.
Some of the Mexican period influences that we still see today for example is the Homestead Act, which prevents seizure of a home as payment for debts. And this is actually an example of one of those one of those titles. I think I don't see the date on there but I'm assuming it's probably well it is it's 1837. So, just after the GLO was founded.
Okay, so once again Mexican law welcomed empresarios, foreign settlers, they really wanted to make the land economic. Which was honestly tough to do in the Spanish and Mexican days. Each settler would receive one league and one labor. And rich settlers could possess up to 11 leagues and 11 labors. I think that image is somewhat interesting on that slide as well it shows you the land titles issued by Stephen F. Austin’s colony. And as you can see it's a huge, huge swaths of land. And was the start of what we're about to talk about.
So, in 1836 the Republic of Texas was formed and in 1837 the General Land Office opened. At the time if you were living in Texas before 1836, up until the formation of the republic, every head of the household living in Texas at that time received one league and labor. So, quite a large piece of land.
Vacant land became the property of the state. Land was surveyed by the actual grantee and then approved or disapproved by the General Land Office. And an interesting note was to help populate the land they introduced the Bounty Act, which allowed for 640-acres for soldiers who were migrating to Texas, which later increased 800-acres. Interestingly enough if you weren't a soldier at the time and you migrated to Texas after the republic was formed generally you were granted 80-acres. So, you can see the apportionment of land really declined from leagues all the way down to 80-acres.
So, some interesting stats about the Republic of Texas when it was founded. So, you had 6.4 million acres were granted to soldiers. That ended up being I think about 6000 soldiers or about 5700 soldiers. 35 million acres were apportioned to railroad companies, 52 million acres went to university lands, and 22 million acres remained in the public domain, like state parks and things like that.
So, let's talk about University Lands. This is an area of Texas a lot of people don't generally know a lot about but as we mentioned earlier, University Lands’ date back essentially to the creation of the General Land Office back in 1837. In 1949 the authority of University Land passed from the state to the University of Texas. And even today University Land revenues are exclusively for the benefit of the universities in Texas. With that in mind we have 2.1 million acres of University Lands in 19 counties in West Texas today. They're large continuous blocks of acreage with clean titles and one landowner, so they're advantageous blocks of land usually for commercial interest.
So, some brief Texas land facts before we delve into the Texas land grid layers. The General Land Office [GLO] was the original creator. Abstracts are assigned or were assigned by the GLO as unique identifiers. And every land grant has an abstract and number associated to it. The Railroad Commission on the other hand updates the original land grid based on permits submitted by commercial corporations in most cases. Adjustments are made if the surveys don't match, adjustments are made if legal decisions have been made in the courts, and that's where you find the Railroad Commission updates are quite useful when it comes to current land grid.
So, Texas land layers. So, we talked about the Public Land Survey System and the main layers being the sections of the townships, the lots, and the quarters. In Texas the main layers tend to be abstracts, surveys, blocks, sections, and townships. You do have the junior surveys and the lots, tracts, and subdivisions that date back to the early, early, early days back to the formation of Texas.
If you look at that land sorry that piece of land or that image on the slide there it goes back to the land grants and what I was saying. So, I think, well not I think but prior to 1938 that yellow box represents a league, approximately 4500-acres. So, if you were living in Texas before the formation of the state that's how much land at a minimum you would have gotten because you would have also got a labor as well. If you arrived after 1838 and you were not a soldier you were literally limited to that 80-acres in that red box set. But anyways it's interesting because the league that you see there that yellow box actually pretty much represents the city of Austin, so a large piece of land.
Okay, so let's get into the details of each layer. So, like sections in the PLSS, abstracts are king in Texas. So, abstracts are the original surveys, and they contain the information abstracted from the land grant files pertaining to these surveys. They're specific to each county, which means that you can have an abstract number one in one county and obviously you can have an abstract number one in another county.
Information in our land data includes things such as the abstract number, the grantee or survey name, the section it falls within a section, the block, county, and district. Surveys for each county are listed in numerical order by abstract number. And if you ever come across abstract question mark for example this is a legally questionable abstract. It's an undetermined land title, it means it's worth going back and looking at the land title for that piece of land. I would argue that it's a data bust and it's also something that the Railroad Commission has not made determination on.
You will also see sometimes abstracts fall on top of each other. Once again, I would consider that a land bust but it does require going back and looking at land title to decipher what's really going on. You will find abstract numbers, survey, and county are unique to each other, so they don't exist twice ever. Which is good from an auto-mapping perspective or a good point to note. And duplicate abstract numbers once again cannot occur obviously in the same county.
If we jump straight into surveys. These are the original grantee as listed by the GLO, when it comes to the land title. They're directly related to abstracts and honestly, they're probably the closest reference that we have today to the Spanish leagues and labors, or at least the Spanish leagues. In our land grid you'll find it in a separate layer but also under attribute value or survey name. Surveys can have overlaps as well.
So, subsurveys. Subsurveys are usually derivatives of the original survey. You tend to find subsurveys occur when a family you know deeds the land to 16 different relatives, so you have those sub-grantees. You know essentially the land has been sold and split for some reason. But once again subsurveys directly relate to abstracts obviously they directly relate to subsurveys. Attribute value in our land grid, it is a separate layer once again but the attribute value you're looking for is subsurvey name and they can have overlaps as well.
So, if we look at blocks. Blocks basically describe a group of surveys. They're numbered or lettered. You're going to find most of the blocks as you can see from the image are found in West Texas or the west half of Texas. Separate layer obviously once again like all our land grid layers but with an attribute value or block label and they can overlap other blocks.
So, moving on Texas sections. So, this is probably the closest thing we have to the Public Land Survey System in Texas. In West Texas you tend to find that sections are like sections in the PLSS 640-acres. This is a direct move away from the Spanish and Mexican land system that you find in the majority of Texas. It tends to follow the Public Land Survey System and we have quite a few of our customers auto-mapping to sections in in West Texas.
Without bleating the issue too much there's 36 million acres of land in West Texas that tend to be associated with sections, and once again in a lot of cases University Lands. So, you do tend to find not only from a mapping perspective but also from a commercial perspective it's a good area of land to be working from and a lot easier than other parts of Texas in some cases.
So, I will talk about lots and tracks real briefly. Lots and tracks do get quite complex. We're talking about the end of the Mexican era when it comes to Texas and the start of the GLO, but it does go back to those original land grants. Lots generally are 640-acre tracts however they do vary in size, so it's definitely not a hard truth that they're going to average 640-acres they do vary in Texas. Tracts on the other hand do tend to be smaller, but they vary even more. They can be 320-acres in some cases all the way down to 80-acres. And I think if you find the 80-acre tracts you might find that there are they tie into the original migration when the GLO opened up in 1837.
Okay, so I know that's a lot when it comes to land grid but essentially what we just talked about was history and specifics of layers when it comes to land grid in the Public Land Survey states. So, all the states outside of Texas and those original 13 colonies. And then we talked about Texas and the uniqueness of Texas and why Mexico and Spain obviously play a big role when it comes to the Texas land grid.
So, the big question is how do we map those original 13 colonies? I mean when Thomas Jefferson decided to survey the western United States starting in Ohio there was no need to survey from a land grid perspective those 13 colonies because they're already populated. You know they're really trying to push population growth out west.
So, there are two stable sources of land data that most of our customers use in places like New York, Pennsylvania, and places like that. They use the municipal boundaries, and they use the land parcel or tax parcel data. It's definitely a different way to manage land from a PLSS and a Texas perspective but it doesn't stop you from auto-mapping to parcel IDs. And in many cases, it could be argued it's a more effective way to map depending on what your workflow is and the type of land that you're managing such as the size of that land.
So, let's talk about land parcels. Let's talk about these tax parcels that most of most folks are using as a land grid in those eastern states. To be fair I had to give a brief history of tax parcels because we did the same for Thomas Jefferson's land grid, and then Spain, Mexico, and the GLO's land grid, but tax parcels date all the way back to Ancient Egypt.
Ancient Egypt tax land among other things. Athens financed their wars through high property taxes and the Romans introduced a valuation and incentive system. So, what the Romans did they would send somebody out and they'd go ahead and evaluate your land, a building that was on your property if you're a farmer, and then they would give you a quota, if you're a farmer for example. And if you exceeded that quota, they actually reduced your taxes, so there was a true tax and incentive system for I guess overproduction or exceeding your quota. Interestingly enough William the Conqueror was the first to keep cadastral records with his tax roll, so with his tax book. And I'm not sure I'm pronouncing this correctly, but I think it's called a Domesday Book and the picture you see there is an example of his cadastral records from his Domesday Book. So, it's kind of interesting.
So, if we look at early United States and tax parcel history Boston town records show that in 1676, they kept a fairly detailed tax roll. So, they kept details of each taxpayer, the acres of land, even the value of the houses of that on that land, and an assessment of a personal estate. Interestingly enough once again in Boston up until 1733 the sheriff was the tax assessor and collector and he happened to be doing that for the church. They did keep very, very, very detailed maps numbered but as you can see from the example and it's a real-life example, they did keep quite detailed cadastral maps when it came to their tax information.
Some more interesting points I guess, Wyatt Earp was born by the law enforcement officer and a tax collector for the city of Tombstone. And taxes on land were much more prominent leading up until 1913 when the Sixteenth Amendment was passed which allowed for direct taxes and income taxes. So, at that time property taxes started to reduce, and income taxes started to play a much, much bigger role. But that being said even Benjamin Franklin and I don't know the dates on Benjamin Franklin, but it was definitely before 1913, I'm pretty sure of that, even he said, “But in this world nothing is certain but death and taxes.” So ironically, he was talking about property taxes when he was talking about that. And he was probably talking about the English I'm sure, so I don't want to allude to that either.
So, let's have a look at a more detailed picture of actual land parcels. So, land parcels generally fall on one layer. It's the land ownership and polygon information for each and every parcel of land in the United States. So, what that means is your house, whether you rent or own, is on a parcel of land - we've got that mapped. And it not only tells us who owns that land, but it tells us who's renting that land. It tells us how big the land is, it tells us what the purpose of the land is, it tells us the legal description of the land.
So, it's got all sorts of incredibly useful information for many different uses whether you're a right-of-way company, whether you're an exploration company. You know whether you're trying to contact a property owner or whether you're actually just trying to cross-check the land grid and make sure you're drilling a well in the right section. There's probably a thousand different uses for tax parcels. The tax parcels are sourced from the individual county and parish assessors. So, each county and each parish manage their own tax roll and we collect that information from them, put it in a map and a consistent format.
So, we put into a standardized data model no matter where you are in the country, so all the data is standardized. If you are working on a county or a parish on one side of the country and then move to the other side the data model and everything remains the same. So, it's easy to implement and easy to work with. Most counties update, and so do we, update their tax roll twice per year. And so, you do find updates for tax data much more frequent than you will find for land grid. I will note because I didn't say earlier Texas land grid does update quarterly and you'll generally find it's anywhere from you know 20 or 30 changes all the way up to a couple of hundred changes, so updating your Texas land grid is fairly important.
So, moving on with tax parcels. I think I already mentioned this, but it's a great way to contact property owners or get the information that you need in order to contact property owners. It's a great way to get physical addresses.
Once again, it's a great way of cross-checking planned infrastructure. You will find that tax parcel data generally, and I'm going to say generally because once again it is collected from the individual counties, but generally is tied a lot more, closer to modern-day survey data. So, you will generally find that tax parcel data is going to be more accurate than the plus or minus 40 ft accuracy you're getting on your land grid.
So, cross-checking planned infrastructure especially when that planned infrastructure is basing the footage calls off section corners, cross-checking that planned infrastructure with tax parcels can be really useful and, in some cases, have saved some of our customers huge amounts of money. Tax parcel descriptions are based off the language, so they actually are based off section corners but much more so based off surveyed section corners than the original Public Land Survey System that we use today.
It also has other useful information such as market value, zone, land use, all that sort of good stuff. The image I've actually got on the screen is just an example the top the top picture shows land grid, the bottom picture shows land grid with tax parcels. So, really all I'm trying to show there is some of the depth that you get if you do combine the land group, the tax parcels and once again when it comes to planning or contacting property owners just as two examples of many tax parcels can be really useful.
So, that's it for me. I'm not sure if anyone has any questions or if there's anything that I didn't talk about that maybe somebody would like me to cover but Eliza, I'll pass it back to you.
ELIZA WITH PANDELL Sure, sounds good thank you Anthony that was a lot of very useful information. I really enjoyed that. Let's dive on into some questions starting with what is an aliquot?
ANTHONY So, for the purpose of today's presentation really when we're talking about aliquots we're just talking about quarters. And they're just what do you call it a rational part of a section in that case. And so, an aliquot is something that's split up into even parts is how I would define an aliquot.
ELIZA WITH PANDELL Thank you. This next one could you remind us quickly what GLO stands for?
ANTHONY The General Land Office is what the GLO stands for. And the General Land Office is probably the first place I would go to if I do see a data bust, or if I see an abstract overlapping where I want to go ahead and check the land grant and see if I can do some research information of why this data bust is occurring.
ELIZA WITH PANDELL Why are Kentucky and Tennessee not covered by PLSS and what land grid do they use?
ANTHONY Great question and I should have covered that, so thanks for bringing that up.
So, Kentucky and Tennessee use Carter Quads and we do provide Carter Quads as part of our as part of our land grid, it comes standard.
I don't like the land grid very much that Carter Quad system in Kentucky and Tennessee because I see it more as a protracted land grid. And what I mean by that is, I don't really understand that there's a real source behind it whereas in the PLSS states you've got the USGS 1:24k topos that you know it's been digitized to. In Kentucky and Tennessee Carter Quads I think are really, really suspect but that's the land grid that exists there. I would advise to use tax parcels if you are going to be mapping effectively in those two states.
ELIZA WITH PANDELL Do all Texas GLO lands dedicated to public universities go to the University of Texas or allocate amongst all the public Texas public universities?
ANTHONY My understanding is they're managed by the University of Texas, but they are actually allocated to all the public universities in Texas.
ELIZA WITH PANDELL Another one for you, this is great we've got some good questions coming in. How do permitted locations impact a land grant?
ANTHONY It's a good question because unlike the PLSS states where the land grid is very, very, very defined because it's very mathematical right. As we defined how they did the survey with the section being 640-acres and so on it was very defined. Unfortunately, in Texas because you've got a mix of land grids that have essentially you know rolled into one, which is the land grid we use today, you do have some contested areas.
Okay and so if I'm thinking about the original question here, if you do find that you've got an overlapping abstract or even a sliver of land you know it's still being interpreted in some cases and a lot of the language changes that you see in Texas actually come from the courts. So, it's literally been decided in the courts in the last few months, it's then been submitted to the Railroad Commission, the Railroad Commission has made the update based on a court ruling. But if you do come across areas where there are some overlaps or there are some slivers, it generally means that it's time to go ahead and look up the land grant and start to look at what the data bust is and see if you can decipher what's really going on. But you will find that there are contested areas in Texas.
These permitted locations will get submitted and if they're contested, they will then go to the courts and get decided. If they're not contested, then the Railroad Commission will go ahead and accept the permit. And if there's a change that needs to be made to the land grid based on that permit, they'll actually make that change because those permits are obviously land surveys and so they do hold weight with the Railroad Commission.
ELIZA WITH PANDELL The next question that popped in was that the PLSS grid in Alaska appears to be particularly regular and clean compared to the rest of America is there some interesting history related to that?
ANTHONY You know I don't know and it's an interesting point, it is clean. And you would think it would be quite complex because of all the different islands along the way, well not along the way, but out of the way. I don't know the history behind it but obviously we do provide land grid for Alaska, and it is very true it is clean.
Maybe the reason it's so clean and this is more an educated guess than anything else, it was probably the last or one of the last states to be surveyed. So, chances are they did a good job…
ELIZA WITH PANDELL And they had good practice at that point.
ANTHONY Yeah, they didn't do what they did in Ohio put it that way.
ELIZA WITH PANDELL Okay next question is, of the original league and labors in Texas how many still exist, like the way they were created originally?
ANTHONY You know it's such a loaded question. So, and I say that because I'm going to say none. From a legal perspective, they don't exist. I mean I don't think if you went to the Railroad Commission, or you went to the Texas courts referring to a labor that you might actually win the case.
I do think it gives history to the land though and it does start to give you more context as to maybe what happened to that land, so they are relevant. You will find I guess if you're dealing with some really, really, really old maps they will refer to leagues and labors in some cases. And that's where I think it gets challenging right because that land doesn't officially exist today, but you still need to map it.
So, if you've got a legal description that refers to this league and this labor and then maybe some footage calls from the old oak tree. How do you map it? And I think the best way to answer that is when it comes to our land grid you do have the lots, the tracts, and subdivisions and you do obviously have the original surveys. I would start there but once again I would try if it became too difficult to map, I would have to go back to those original land grants, all those land titles and try and decipher it. Hoping that they refer to that original league or labor.
ELIZA WITH PANDELL I think we've gone through all the questions that people have submitted. Those were some really good ones. It was really a pleasure to have you online with us today, Anthony that was a lot of fantastic information and I know our audience enjoyed it as well. So, thankyou very much for your time.
ANTHONY It was my pleasure, I appreciate it.
ELIZA WITH PANDELL Thank you to everybody who joined us online today we hope you'll join us again at a future webinar but it's great to see everybody and have a wonderful afternoon.
ANTHONY Thanks so much everyone I appreciate your time, bye.
ELIZA WITH PANDELL Bye.