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More about PLSSFinder Print

Released in April, 2011, this free application is designed as a central point of access for locating Wisconsin Public Land Survey System (PLSS) corners for a variety of counties with access to related attribute information and metadata. Most appealing is the direct linkage, in many cases, to County websites for their corner tie sheets. PLSSFinder has been endorsed by the Wisconsin County Surveyor's Association as a vehicle representing statewide county collaborations for displaying and providing access of their progress towards the completion and maintenance of the PLSS in the state.

By state statute, counties act as the custodian for PLSS corners within their boundaries. This statutory authority was not supported with state funds, so most remonumentation has been completed with local revenues. Progress towards updated PLSS monuments and coordinates varies widely across the state, with some counties having completed remonumentation, while others are at various stages of completion.

Through our continued interaction and long-term relationships with contributing source agencies, we are working to create a state network of WFS public land survey system corner services that feed county applications making this a true distributed interoperable mapping information delivery for the benefit of all.

For your convenience we also provide export functions such as KML, Shapefile, GPX, and ASCII file formats.

Data Layers

red_square_9PLSS Corners with tiesheets: These corners represent, through direct linkage from PLSSFinder, the availability for online access to the corner tiesheet(s) from the contributor's server.

red_square_hollow_9PLSS Corners without tiesheets: These corners represent corners that do NOT have direct linkage from PLSSFinder for online access to the corner tiesheet(s) may be due to a variety of reasons from the contributor, i.e., fee based subscription for online access, tiesheets not in a digital format, etc.

How to add your data

Adding data to PLSSFinder is easy: simply provide, at minimum, a unique corner name/id,  coordinates (Northing/Easting or Lat/Long), coordinate date (to reflect currency), coordinate accuracy (i.e., survey grade, sub-meter, or approximate), units/datum with tag, spatial reference system, tie sheet URL, and metadata (if possible).

Note: See below instructions if your county is using the Wisconsin Land Information Program's Strategic Initiative Grant to fund completion and integration of PLSS:

  • Those counties who utilize Strategic Initiative grant funds for PLSS work will be required to submit a digital copy of all county PLSS corner coordinates values for inclusion in the State Cartographer’s Office online PLSSFinder upon project completion. New or updated corners must be tagged with their appropriate accuracy class (survey-grade, sub-meter, or approximate).
  • Survey-grade – Coordinates collected under the direction of a professional land surveyor, in a coordinate system allowed by s. 236.18(2), and obtained by means, methods and equipment capable of repeatable 2 centimeter or better precision.
  • Sub-meter – Accuracies of 1 meter or better
  • Approximate – Accuracies of within 5 meters or to coordinates derived from public records and other relevant information.
  • This submission must include an attribute flag, timestamp, or other mechanism in the data to identify PLSS records that have been added or modified since your last submission, provided you have already submitted an earlier version.

The preferred formats are Geodatabases, ArcInfo shapefile (.shp), Microsoft Excel (.xls), dBASE (.dbf), or MS Access (.mdb), but Comma Separated Volumes (.csv), or ASCII text (.txt), are also acceptable. The data should be in a column/row layout with fields across the columns and individual records down the rows.

To either submit your data file or if additional assistance is needed, contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it at the State Cartographer's Office at (608) 263-4371.

Data Dictionary

Corner Name: unique corner name assigned by the contributor

Corner ID: unique corner ID assigned by the contributor

County: corner location

Corner Type: corner classification (meander corner, quarter corner, mile post, etc.)

Monument Type: material, composition of the physical corner marker

Monument Date: date monument was set

Township: number of townships, north or south

Range: number of columns of townships, east or west

Section: 1 of 36 section numbers within a township

Horizontal Coordinates & Datum:

  • Easting & Northing Coordinates: projected coordinates assigned by the contributor as either county coordinates or state plane coordinates along with the reference datum.
  • Geographic Longitude & Latitude Coordinates: latitudes are referenced as positive north and negative south; longitudes are referenced as positive east and negative west along with the reference datum as assigned by the contributor.
  • Spatial Reference System: WCCS, WISCRS, SPC, etc.
  • Coordinate date: date coordinates derived
  • Coordinate method: method used to obtain coordinates, e.g. GPS

Horizontal & Vertical Accuracy:

  • Horizontal Accuracy: The accuracy or reliability for the reported horizontal coordinate position.
  • Vertical Accuracy: The accuracy or reliability for the reported elevation for the corner.


  • ellipsoid accuracy:
  • ellipsoid height: the height of an object above the *reference ellipsoid* in use. These days, this term is generally used to qualify an elevation as being measured from the ellipsoid as opposed to the geoid. GPS systems calculate ellipsoidal height. The geoid height at that location must be subtracted to obtain what is commonly referred to as the elevation.
  • orthometric height: refers to the distance measured along the plumb line between the geoid and a point on the Earth's surface, taken positive upward from the geoid.
  • orthometric accuracy:

Comments: any additional information about the corner.

External Point Information: full url to more information (tie sheet, etc) for a particular corner

Dataset Metadata: URL to contributors metadata file for their dataset

Dataset Inventory: date the dataset was received from the contributor

Contacts: contact information for the contributor of the data

For problems with…

  • Retrieving data
  • Missing data
  • Broken links, etc.

Contact: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it at the State Cartographer's Office
Phone: (608)263-4371, Fax: (608)262-5205.

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Last Updated on August 11, 2016