Glossary, Acronyms and Abbreviations


Glossary

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Acronyms and Abbreviations


Glossary - the following glossary is a list of terms which apply to the general subjects addressed in this educational course. Much of this glossary is derived from a larger glossary of terms from the Colorado Counties GIS/LIS Committee glossary for data layer standards for assessor parcel mapping, whose glossary in turn was compiled from various sources.

Note that definitions for entities and attributes found in the Cadastral Data Content Standard should be looked up in the Directory of Entities and Attributes, not in this glossary.
 
 

***** A *****

Abandonment - An action involving relinquishment of rights in real property, by an owner, for the sole purpose of permanently terminating his ownership. Land cannot be abandoned in favor of a specific party. The act of abandonment must be voluntary and intentional.

Abstract of Title - A compilation of abstracts of deeds and other pertinent data which affect the title to a piece of real property, all bound together in chronological order. It is a form of title evidence made for the purpose of title examination.

Access - The right of an owner to go from and return to his land.

Acre - A quantity of land containing 43,560 square feet or .4047 hectares of land.

Adjacent - Lying near to or neighboring, but not necessarily in contact with another property. "Close to", "contiguous with", "in the vicinity of". and "adjoining" are all phrases and terms which can mean the same as adjacent.

Adjoining - The word "adjoining" in a description means "next to" or "in contact with" and excludes the idea of intervening space.

Adjusted Position - An adjusted value for the horizontal or vertical position of a survey station in which discrepancies, due to errors in observed data, are removed.

Along - "Along a line" means on and in the direction of the line. "Along the road" means along the centerline or thread of the road unless qualified; for example, along the east side of the road. "Along a line" may be changing in direction by curves or angles. The term "along" may also mean "on".

Appurtenant - A word employed in deeds, leases, etc., for the purpose of including any easement or other right(s) used or enjoyed with the real property, which are considered to be so much a part of the property that they automatically pass to the grantee under the deed conveying the real property.

Assessment Cadastre - The inventory of real property, cadastral maps, map records, appraisal records, ownership lists, assessment roll, statements of value, etc.; used for the purpose of justly apportioning ad valorem taxes on such property.

Assignee - The person to whom an assignment has been made.

Assignment - The transfer of the interest one has in real estate.

Assignor - The party making the assignment.

Assigns - The party to whom the property should have been transferred.

Associations (also known as relationships) - in data modeling, descriptions of how data entities relate to each other. The associations in the data model for this Standard are: one-to-one, one-to-many, and many-to-many.

Attributes - additional information which describe an entity; the properties and characteristics of an entity.


***** B *****

Base Line - A surveyed line established with more than usual care; used as the known length of a triangle (in triangulation) for computing the other triangle sides.

Base Line (sectionalized land) - A parallel of latitude, or approximately a parallel of latitude, running through an arbitrary point chosen as the starting point for all sectionalized land within a given area.

Basic Control - In cadastral cartography, the horizontal control of the base control map. The basic control is the position of points which has been accurately coordinated and correlated by a method called analytical bridging - forming a network of lines to which other surveys and deeds are adjusted.

Basic Land Unit - The parcel, or land parcel.

Bearing - The direction of a line measured from north or south to east or west, not exceeding 90 degrees. Examples: North 30 Degrees West or South 87 Degrees East.

Bearing Tree - A tree which is used as a reference to the position of a corner.

Being - Denotes a secondary call. In to the northeast corner of Brown's land, being also a two inch iron pipe, the "two inch pipe" is usually the secondary or informative call, whereas "Brown's corner" is normally the superior call. A "being clause" is frequently a controlling call.

Being Clause - The "being clause' of a deed denotes the origin or history of the present deed, such as being the same land conveyed to Brown in Book 1237, page 672, of Official Records. If a change is made in the wording of a deed, there should always be inserted a being clause. Reference to a being clause generally does not serve to enlarge or restrict a particular and sufficient description of land conveyed.

Bench Mark - A point whose elevation, above or below some definite or assumed datum, is known. A bench mark can be natural or artificial, and it can be either permanent or temporary.

Blaze - A blaze is a mark on a tree caused by cutting off the bark and a portion of the live wood.

Block - A block is a square or portion of a city enclosed by streets, whether occupied by buildings or vacant lots. Blocks are often enclosed by the boundary of a subdivision and are usually broken down into smaller units called "lots".

Boundary Monument - A material object placed on or near a boundary line to preserve and identify the location of the boundary line on the ground.

Boundary Survey - A survey made to establish or re-establish a boundary line on the ground, or to obtain data for constructing a map or plat showing a boundary line.

Bounded - Usually referred to in legal descriptions as being bounded by the adjoining land owners or by a road, stream, etc. Set off by a boundary.

Bounds - Bounds are the lines by which different parcels of land are divided. "Butts and bounds" or "butted and bounded" are phrases sometimes used to introduce the boundaries of land. "Buttal" means along the end of the land.

Butted and Bounded - Sometimes used in a deed to introduce the traverse of real property boundaries.

By - In a deed, "by a road" is construed as including the land to the center of the street, but "by the east side of the road" means "along the east side" and not "along the centerline". "To", "on", or "by" means to the limits of the grantor's land.


***** C ******

Cadastral Cartography - The science and art of making cadastral maps.

Cadastral Map - The base of the assessment cadastre. A map that shows the size, shape and extent of each land parcel in a prescribed geographical area.

Cadastral Surveys - The establishment of land boundaries and subdivisions by running and marking of the lines that are required by the plan of the cadastral surveys of the United States. In general, it is any survey executed to measure the boundaries of land parcels.

Cadastre, or Cadaster - A public record, survey, or map of the value, extent, and ownership of land.

Cadastre Assessment - The inventory of real property, cadastral maps, map records, appraisal records, ownership lists, assessment roll, statement of value, etc.; used for the purpose of justly apportioning ad valorem taxes on such property.

Cadastre (historical) - A detailed register, inventory, statement of public record, of lands, their extent, ownership, locations and value; executed by governments as a base of property tax systems.

Cadastre (jurisprudence) - An official statement of the quantity and value of real property in any district, made for the purpose of justly apportioning the taxes on such property.

Cadastre (legal) - The land title recording system; i.e., recorded deeds, mortgages, contracts, indexes, etc.

Cadastre (modern) - A comprehensive, modern land data system, composed of interrelated subsystems such as the assessment cadastre, legal cadastre, survey cadastre, demographic cadastre, etc.

Cadastre (survey) - The record of cadastral surveys; land boundary or parcel boundary surveys.

Call - The designation of visible natural objects, monuments, courses, distances, or other matters of description as limits of boundaries. "Locative calls" are particular or specific, and locate a point or line. "Descriptive calls" are general and merely direct attention to the neighborhood in which more specific calls are to be found.

Cardinality - a description of the association between data entities as either mandatory or optional.

Chain - (1) A land surveyor's measure - 66 feet or 100 links; (2) a directed non-branching sequence of non-intersecting line segments and/or arcs bounded by nodes, not necessarily distinct, at each end. Area chain, complete chain, and network chain are special cases of chain, and share all characteristics of the general case as defined above.

Chain of Title - A chronological list of documents which comprise the recorded history of title of a specific piece of real estate.

Clear Title - Title that is free from defects, doubts and litigious uncertainties; a title that would qualify as "marketable title".

Clearinghouse (National Geospatial Data Clearinghouse) - a distributed, electronically connected network of geospatial data producers, managers, and users.

Closed Traverse - A traverse that starts and ends at the same point, or at points whose relative horizontal position are known. A traverse that forms a continuous loop enclosing an area is known as a "loop traverse" (also being a closed traverse). Another kind of closed traverse is a "connecting traverse" that starts and ends at separate points whose relative positions have been determined by a survey of equal or higher-order accuracy.

Compilation - The preparation of a new or revised cadastral map, or portion thereof, from existing maps, aerial photographs, field surveys, and other records.

Compliance - data exists and the data have the same logical relationships as do the entites in the Standard; the ability to convert data to the Cadastral Data Transfer Profile.

Convey- To transfer or deliver to another; to pass from one person to another. Equivalent to the word "grant".

Conveyance - Any instrument in writing by which a estate or interest in real property is created, mortgaged, or encumbered, or by which the title to any real property may be affected (except wills).

Conveyed - The land transferred in fee title.

Corner - The intersection of two or more converging property or survey lines, whether internal or external. In surveying the terms "corner" and "monument" are used largely in the same sense. However, "corner" usually denotes a point determined by the survey, whereas "monument" is the physical structure erected to mark the corner on the earth's surface.

Course - "Course" as is used in surveying includes both bearing and distance. "Course and distance" where "bearing and distance" is meant is a common error. When a ship is set on a "course", a bearing is implied, and the word "course" is sometimes used in land description utilizing that meaning.

Crosswalk - A term used to describe the process of comparing and matching each entity and attribute, and their definitions, in a database with entity and attribute definitions in the Cadastral Data Content Standard.


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Data Dictionary - an organized compilation of defintions for data entities and attributes.

Data Element - A logically primitive item of data.

Data Model - A data model defines for an organization what data is needed, and the interrelationship of that data. This data is needed by an organization to support decision making and provide rules to govern the use of the data.

Data Set - A collection of related data.

Database - Files of data interrelated in some manner and organized for quick search and retrieval by various data elements. For example, a database of names and addresses might be retrieved by ZIP codes or alphabetically by last name or street. A location is always included in a GIS database, since that is what gives GIS its value - the spatial distribution and relative locations of various features.

Deeds - A deed is evidence in writing of an executed contract for the sale of and. Its purpose is to define location and title to land. Several types exits: (1) A Grant Deed conveys the fee title of the land described and owned by the grantee. If at a later date the grantor acquires a better title to the land conveyed, the grantee immediately acquires a better title to the land conveyed, the grantee immediately acquires the better title without formal documents (after rights). In some States, by law, the grantor warrants the deed against acts of his own volition; (2) A Quit Claim Deed passes on to the grantee whatever title the grantor has at the time at which the transaction is consummated. It carries no after rights. In essence, if the grantor acquires a better title at a later date, it is not passed on to the grantee. The deed carries no warranties on the part of the grantor; (3) An Agreement Deed is an agreement between owners to fix a disputed boundary line; (4) A Warranty Deed conveys the fee title to the land described to the grantee and in addition guarantees the grantor to make good the title if it is found lacking; (5) A Trust Deed is a written instrument by which a borrower (trustor) conveys his land to another (trustee) for the benefit of the lender (beneficiary) as security for the repayment of money lent. In the event of a failure of the trustor to repay the money, the trustee conducts a foreclosure sale of the real property.

Descendants - All those who have issued from an individual; i.e., children, grandchildren, and their children-to the remotest degree.

Description - The exact location of a piece of property stated in terms of lot, block, and tract, or by metes and bounds.

Domain - (1) Complete and absolute ownership of land, land so owned and territory over which domain is exercised; (2) in the definition of elements in the metadata standard, the domain identifies valid values for a data element.

Due - Where monuments or other deed terms do not limit the calls, "due north" means "astronomical north". "Due north", as originally used, meant "true north" as determined by a declination correction to a magnetic reading. The word has become ambiguous in meaning because of careless usage. If astronomical north is meant in a deed, use "astronomical north", but not "true north".


***** E *****

Easement - An interest in land created by grant or agreement which confers a right upon owners to some profit, benefit, dominion, or lawful use of or over the estate of another; it is district from ownership of land.

Engineer's Chain - A 100 foot chain (actually, a tape with each chain equaling 1 foot).

Entitle - To give a title or legal right.

Entity - any object about which an organization chooses to collect data.

Entity relationship diagram- an illustration of data entities, their attributes, and their associations.

Estate - The condition or circumstances in which an owner stands with reference to his property. The degree, quality, nature, and extent of one's interest in, or ownership of, property, real, personal, and mixed. "Estate" describes property, particularly real property, of which one is possessed.

Examiner - A person who analyzes a chain of title to land, passes on the validity of various instruments, and then renders an opinion.

Exception - An exception withdraws a part of the thing described as granted, and which would pass but for the excepting clause. The word "except" means "not included". Lot 12, excepting the east 30 feet clearly conveys that portion of lot 12 lying west of the east 30 feet, Lot 12 and 13, except the east 30 feet is not clear since the exception might apply to either lot or both. Lot 13 and lot 13, except the east 30 feet of lot 13 is better.

Exclusive Ownership - An ownership of real property that is free from any legal or equitable interest that another might have in that property.


***** F *****

FAQ - usually a list of answers to frequently asked questions.

Fee - An estate of inheritance in land.

Fee Simple - An estate of inheritance in land without qualifications or restrictions as to the persons who may inherit it as heirs. Also called an "absolute fee" or a "fee title". Denotes absolute ownership.

Foreign Key - a primary key from another entity that points to a record in the related entity.

Fractional - The use of fractional in a deed means there is less land than is usually contained in a lot, block, section, or township. "Fractional" is not synonymous with "part".

Fractional Lot - A fractional lot is a portion of a section not subdivided in the regular manner and may be more or less than the smallest division (40 acres). It is meaningless to refer to a lot in a subdivision, other than government sections as being a fractional lot.

Fractional Section - A section that does not have the full 640 acres due to a body of water or because of a boundary of county or state, but not because the original survey was inaccurate.

Fronting - The words "fronting" and "adjoining" are synonymous, and reference to lots fronting upon a street means that the lots touch the boundary line of the street.


***** G *****

Geographic Coordinates - Geodetic coordinates, state plane coordinates, rectangular survey coordinates, local coordinates. Any coordinates that relate to a specific geographical network of coordinates. Usually means geodetic coordinates.

G.L.O. - The General Land Office of the United States. An agency created in 1812 to take charge of "all such acts and things touching or respecting the public lands of the U.S.", which included the surveying of the public lands. On July 16, 1946, the B.L.M. was established in the Department of Interior. Under that plan, the G.L.O. was abolished and its functions were transferred to the B.L.M. The office of the U.S. Supervisor of Surveys, together with the field surveying services known as the Cadastral Engineering Service, was abolished and the functions were transferred to the Secretary of the Interior. In July of 1946, the Secretary of the Interior ordered that the functions and powers of the G.L.O., and the U.S. Supervisor of Surveys, together with the Field Surveying Service, be exercised by the Director of the B.L.M. and subject to the direction and control of the Secretary.

G.L.O. Plats - The official plats of the U.S. Government Land Office. The term is often used in reference to B.L.M. plats executed after July 1946.

Good Title - Generally, a title free from substantial restrictions or limitations; however, not necessarily one perfect of record. The term is synonymous with clear title, good and marketable title, and good and merchantable title.

Government Lots - Lots established, measured, and computed by the U.S. Government's survey of the public lands. The term is often used synonymously with "fractal lots" or "lots" (1/4 1/4 sections irregularly shaped and more, or less than 40 acres). Some government lots are regular in shape and are 40 acres in area.

Government Survey (U.S. Rectangular Land Survey) - In 1785 the U.S. Congress authorized the first land survey of the United States. It specified that surveyed townships were to be 6 miles square. The townships are surveyed from an east-west base line and from north-south principal meridians. Townships are laid off from these base lines and meridians. To identify the townships, each is given an identification in which it was referred to by its relation to the base line and meridian. Horizontal tiers of townships are laid off north and south from the base line and numbered consecutively. Vertical columns of townships called ranges are laid off to the east and west of the principal meridians and numbered accordingly. The townships can be identified by listing the township tier number and the range number, such as township 2 north, range 2 west. Each township is usually divided into 36 sections, each approximately one mile square and divided into 36 sections, each approximately one mile square and containing approximately 640 acres. This may vary considerably at rivers or where base lines or meridians converge, etc., but generally holds true.

Grant - The transfer of real property by deed.

Grantee - The person to whom a grant is made; the one who acquires property.

Grantor - The person by whom a grant is made; the one who transfers the property.


***** H *****

Hack - A hack is a mark on a tree made by cutting out a V notch well into the live wood.

Half Section - The south-half, north-half, east-half, or west-half of a section would be that half according to the government survey. The general and proper acceptance of the terms section and half section as well as their construction by the B.L.M., denotes the land in the sections and subdivision lines, and not the exact quantity which a perfect measurement of an obstructed surface would declare.

Heirs and Assigns as Used in Deeds - Unless the words "and heirs" are used, the estate conveyed is only for the life of the grantee (estate for life). "And heirs" is not necessary in most states because of statutes abolishing the necessity. "And assigns" is included to take care of corporations, trustees, etc., which cannot have heirs.

Highway Right-of-Way - The limit of property acquired to build a highway. It is usually marked by monuments or fences. Right-of-Way for roads, where no property was acquired originally, is normally the limit being used as the road.

Horizontal Datum (plane surveying) - The grid systems of reference used for the horizontal control of geographical area. It is defined by the easting and northing of one station in the area, and the azimuth from this station is to an adjacent station.


***** I *****

Initial Point - The starting point of a traverse.

Instrument of Conveyance - A written legal document by which property is transferred. A deed, contract, etc. Instruments of conveyance must have a grantor, a grantee, a thing conveyed, consideration stated, words of grant, signatures, acknowledgement, delivery and acceptance.

Interest - Any share, part or right in the nature of the property; generally, a right in property less than title.

Interest in Land - The legal concern of a person in a thing or property, or in the right to some of the benefits or uses from which the property is inseparable.


***** J *****

Joint Estate - An estate which has a plurality of tenants having the same interest in the estate, occurring under the same conveyance, commencing at the same time, and held under the same undivided possession.

Joint Tenancy - An estate arising by purchase or grant to a plurality of persons who have the same interest, under the same conveyance, commencing at the same date, and under the same undivided possession.

Joint Tenants - Two or more persons who own equal shares in an estate created by a single transfer. Upon death of a joint tenant, the surviving joint tenant(s) takes the entire property and nothing passes to the heirs of the deceased.

Just Title - Regarding acquisition of property by prescription, a title received from any person honestly believed to be the real owner, providing the title was such as to transfer the ownership of the property.


***** K *****

no entries

***** L *****

Land - Used to denote actual land, real estate, and real property, including the land itself, above or under water, all buildings, structures, improvements, machinery, equipment or fixtures erected upon, under, above or affixed to the same, all mines, quarries, geothermal sources, and vegetation, under or above the land, and any estate, right, title or interest whatever in the land or real property, less than fee simple.

Land Grant - The donation of public lands to a subordinate government, a corporation, or individual.

Landmark - A monument or material mark or fixed object used to designate a land boundary on the ground.

Land Surveyor - A person who has knowledge of the principles of mathematics, physics, and applied sciences, the techniques of measurement necessary to the various surveying branches and the relevant requirements of law for adequate evidence, which are all requisite to surveying of real property.

Land Surveys - Generally, surveys executed to establish property boundaries and corners.

Layout (noun) - A preliminary cadastral map or work map used for plotting secondary surveys and parcel boundaries, computing acreages, tax lotting maps, and/or plotting lines from aerial photos. The manuscript map.

Leveling - The surveying process of determining the difference in elevation between two or more points by measuring the vertical distance between two points; the determination of elevation of points above a datum.

Leveling Rods - Rods marked in feet and decimals of a foot, or in meters and decimeters, used with leveling instruments to determine distances in elevation.

Link - (1) A one-hundredth of a surveyor's chain, a linear measure of 66 hundredths of a foot or 7.92 inches; (2) a topological connection between two nodes. A link may be directed by ordering its nodes.

Locate - Discovery by survey methods.

Location Monument - Location monuments are established in districts where corners of the public survey, and other monuments within two miles, do not exist. Sites of the monuments are usually at some prominent point, giving good visibility from every direction. The monuments are of stone, and marked "USLM" followed by the number of the survey. The exact reference point is marked by a cross chiseled on the top of the monument.

Logical Model - data model depicting the true relationships of attributes as they are grouped into entities, relating attributes to attributes and entities to entities.

Lost Corner - A point of a survey whose position cannot be determined, beyond reasonable doubt, either from traces of the original marks or from acceptable evidence or testimony that bears upon the original position, and whose location can be restored only by reference to one or more independent corners.

Lot Line - Lot line is the line shown upon the map creating the lot. Lot line is permanent and does not change with street openings.


***** M *****

Magnetic Azimuth - An azimuth measured with reference to the direction indicated by a magnetic compass needle. Measured from magnetic north which is east or west of true north as shown by magnetic declination.

Magnetic Bearing - The direction of a line within a quadrant, with respect to the magnetic meridian.

Magnetic Declination - The angle between the magnetic meridian and the geodetic meridian (true), often referred to as simply "the declination". Magnetic declination is designated by degrees east or west of true north.

Meander - To follow a winding course of a stream. A line (usually the center) that follows the sinuosities of a stream. "Meander" is not synonymous with "meander line". If a deed runs "to a stream; thence with the meanders of said stream", etc., it usually means the line which follows the sinuosities of that stream, and the stream is the boundary. So the deed would be running to the center of the stream (but only if the stream is not navigable), not merely to the banks or the surveyed meander line.

Meander Corner - Corner monuments established according to the U.S. Public Land Surveys at the intersection of section lines with the meander lines of all meanderable bodies of water.

Meander Line - The traverse of the margin of a permanent natural body of water. In original surveys, meander lines were not run as boundary lines, but for the purpose of defining the sinuosities of the bank or shore line, and for ascertaining the quantity of land remaining after segregation of the water area.

Metadata - data about data. Geospatial metadata describe the content, quality, and other characteristics about geographic data sets, and also how to locate and acquire the geographic data sets.

Metes - The exact length of each line and the exact quantity of land in square feet, rods or acres; however, when used in the term "metes and Bounds" it does not necessarily mean that the length of a boundary is given. A parcel of land bounded in the deed description by the lands of named persons, rather than by bearings and dimensions would qualify as land described by metes and bounds.

Metes and Bounds - As commonly understood, descriptions of real property which are not described by reference to a lot or block shown on a map, but are described by starting at a known point and describing the bearings and distances of the lines forming the boundaries of the property are called metes and bounds deeds. Parcels of land created in sequence by conveyances, but not all delineated on a map at one time, have senior and junior deed considerations.

Midpoint (Rectangular Survey) - Halfway between two section corners; halfway between a 1/4 corner and a section corner, etc.

Monuments - Monuments are tangible landmarks indicating boundaries. (1) Physical Monuments: A physical monument is an existing feature such as a stone, stake, tree, hill, ocean, river or lake, but not the line of an adjoiner. (2) Natural Monuments: A natural monument is a naturally occurring object such as a lake, river, tree, boulder or hill. Although the courts sometimes refer to a record monument as a type of natural monument, such a broad meaning is excluded in this definition. (3) Artificial Monument: An artificial monument is a man-made object such as a stake, fence, set-stone, etc. (4) Record Monument: An adjoiner property called for in a deed such as a street or particular parcel of land. Frequently the boundary line of the adjoiner is referred to as the record monument; actually the entire property, rather than the line, is the monument. Physical monuments may or may not mark a record monument. (5) Legal Monument: Any monument controlling in a legal description. It is often limited in meaning so as to be synonymous with record monument.

Monument (surveying) - A physical structure erected for the purpose of marking points on the earth's surface. The monuments of land surveys range from the deposit of some durable material, a marked wooden stake or post, a marked stone, an iron post having an inscribed cap, a marked tablet set in solid rock or concrete block, a marked tree, a rock in place marked with a cross (X) at the exact point of the corner, and other special types of markers.

More or Less - The words "more or less" in their ordinary use are to be taken as words of caution, denoting some uncertainty in the mind of one using them and a desire not to misrepresent. When used in connection with quantity and distance, "more or less" are words of safety and precaution, intended merely to cover some slight or unimportant inaccuracy. When "125 feet more or less to the point of beginning" is the point of beginning" is the controlling term. "About 12 acres more or less" is indefinite and should be avoided since the word "about" is very broad in meaning.


***** N *****

National Geospatial Data Clearinghouse - A distributed network of geospatial data producers, managers, and users linked electronically. Building on initiatives such as the national information infrastructure, the clearinghouse uses a distributed, electronically connected network, such as the Internet. Each data provider will describe available data in an electronic form, and provide these descriptions (or "metadata") using means that can be accessed over a communications network. Thus, the data for the clearinghouse are located at the sites of data producers (or, where more efficient, at the sites of the intermediaries) throughout the country. Using the network, users will search these descriptions to locate data that are suitable for their applications.

Natural Boundary - Any existing boundary that can be readily identified and located, e.g., the boundary line of an adjacent parcel of land, a river boundary, ditch, wall, bluff, etc. Courses and distances, as a general rule, give way to a call for a natural boundary, because a natural boundary, if fixed, is unchangeable, and more likely to be the true call than courses and distances.

Natural Monuments - Objects permanent in character, which are found on land as they were place by nature, e.g., lakes, streams, bluffs, etc.; in contradistinction to artificial monuments which are landmarks or signs erected by the hand of man.

Northerly - Towards north. When not controlled by definite courses, monuments, or other definite descriptions, usually means due north. This term must always yield to monuments and other definite calls.


***** O *****

Obliterated Corners - Corners where no trace remains of the original surveyor's work. It differs from a lost corner in that it can be located by competent evidence (such as a witness tree), whereas, a lost corner cannot be replaced by reference to any existing data or source of information.

Offset Line - A supplementary line close to, and usually parallel to, a main survey line to which it is referenced by measured offsets. When the line for which data are desired is in such a position that is difficult to survey it, the required data are obtained by running an offset line in a convenient location and measuring offsets from it to salient points on the other line.

Offset Traverse - The traverse of an offset line.

On Record - A deed, etc., is said to be "on record" when it has been filed or registered at the clerk's office and made a matter of public record.

Orient - To establish the correct relationship in direction with reference to the points of the compass; to bring into correct relationship in direction with reference to points on the compass.

Original Plat - Used to distinguish the first plat from the subsequent additions. Original Town or Original Townsite are employed in the same manner.

Original Standard Corners - Standard township, section and quarter section corners; meander corners, corners terminating the survey of a standard parallel, and closing corners in those cases where they were originally established by measurement along the standard line as points from which to start a survey. Corners on the base line are to be regarded the same as those on standard parallels.


***** P *****

Pace - A measure of length 2.5 feet long; the ordinary length of a step. A geometric pace is five feet long.

Parcel - In land ownership mapping for assessment purposes, a parcel is usually held to be a tract of land under one identical ownership. It may be a combination of two or more tracts acquired by separate deeds.

Parcel Identifier - A sequential, numeric, alphabetic or alphanumeric system used as shorthand for referring to a particular parcel in lieu of its full, legal description.

Parcelling (verb) - The act of plotting ownership boundaries on a map whether in subdivisions or metes and bounds.

Parent Parcel - An indefinite term used in reference to a parcel of land as it existed at a specific time, or as it existed under a specific owner. It is often used in reference to a parcel as it was patented, subdivided or mapped.

Patent - The title conveyed by the government describing land disposed of by the government is called a patent.

Patented Lands - Lands conveyed by the United States to private persons.

Perfect Title - Title showing the absolute right of possession and of property in a particular person. Perfect title, however, does not mean "perfect" in the strict sense of the word. A "perfect title" must be one that is good and valid beyond all reasonable doubt; free from litigation, palpable defects, and grave doubts. It should consist of both legal and equitable title. "Perfect title" is synonymous with "merchantable title" and "marketable title".

Physical Model - data model used for the implementation of a logical model; designed to account for data storage, indexes, how to retrieve data, and how keys are concatenated. Physical models strive to optimize logical models for how data are going to be used, such as for reports, data entry, and analysis, taking into account the software that will be used, as well as whether the database will be relational, hierarchical or network

Plane Survey - A survey in which the curvature of the earth is usually neglected. The computations of relative positions of stations being made by plane geometry and plane trigonometry. Most surveys used to develop cadastral maps are plane surveys.

Plat - A drawing showing one subdivision with its respective right-of-way, easements, blocks, lots, etc. Same as plot, map, or chart.

Plat Plan - Sometimes referred to as a plat map; usually a survey drawing of an individual parcel of land showing special characteristics and the location of any buildings thereon.

Point of Beginning - In a deed description, it is a reference point from which the description begins. It is abbreviated as P.O.B.

Points of Call - Monuments, landmarks, objects, boundaries, or other elements of a description, in a deed, that defines the limits of the boundaries of a parcel of land, e.g., "the NW corner of Lot 4", "the left bank of the river", "the north line of the J.P. Smith property", "the center of the county road", etc. The courts have held that where points-of-call are inconsistent with the measurements (either by course, angle, or distance) the points of call are paramount.

Pole - 5.5 yards; 16.5 feet; one rod.

Primary Key - an attribute that serves as a unique identifier for an entry in an entity.

Principal Meridian - A line running through an arbitrary point chosen as a starting point for all sectionalized land within a given area.

Protraction - In surveying, the act of plotting or laying down on paper, etc. the dimension of a field or plot of ground.

Public Lands Surveys, or Public Land Survey System (PLSS) - In general, the survey of Federal or State lands or the lands of any other public body. The term, however, is commonly used to designate the cadastral survey of the public lands of the U.S.; originally the Government land Office (G.L.O.) surveys; the present surveys executed by the Bureau of Land Management (B.L.M.). Synonymous with rectangular surveys of the U.S. lands; or the rectangular survey system.


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Quadrangle - In mapping the term has no definite meaning other than a map of a tract of country shown in rectangular format. For example a map of the NE 1/4 of a section could be said to be a quadrangle (a quadrant) of that section. A map of the NE 1/4 NE 1/4 could be said to be a quadrangle (a quadrant) of the NE 1/4 of that section. U.S.G.S. quadrangle maps can be 30 minute quads (for 30 minutes of latitude and longitude), 15 minute quads (for 15 minutes of latitude and longitude) and 7.5 minute quads (for 7.5 minutes of latitude and longitude). Most quadrangle maps show contours and elevations, highways, roads and other man-made structures, water features, woodland areas, bench marks, triangulation stations (some), geographic names, section lines, etc.

Quadrant - Any of four quarters into which something is divided by two real or imaginary lines that intersect each other at right angles. 90 degrees of a circle; one-quarter of a section (the NE 1/4, NW 1/4, SW 1/4, and SE 1/4 of a section are each quadrants of a section); one-quarter of a quarter section.

Quarter-Quarter-Section Corners - Corners placed on the section line midway between the quarter-section corner and the section corner (except on the last half-mile of section lines closing on the west boundaries of the township, or on other lines between fractional and irregular section). Few quarter-quarter corners were set in the original surveys of the U.S. public lands.

Quarter Section - A 160 acre block of land or 1/4 of a section.

Quarter Section Corner- The corners on a section line that were established halfway between the section corners. They were established and marked as part of the U.S. Public Land Survey. Although the general plan for the system called for quarter-section corners to be located halfway between section corners, few such corners are mathematically halfway between the section corners.

Quarter Section Lines - The lines that divide the sections into four parts.


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Range - A vertical column of townships in the rectangular survey system.

Range Lines - The north-south township boundary lines.

Real Estate - Leaseholds and licenses to use as well as any and every interest in land, whether corporeal or incorporeal, whether freehold or non-freehold, whether held separately or in common with others and whether the land is situated in this state or elsewhere.

Real Property - Land and generally whatever is erected, growing, or affixed to the land.

Recorded - A deed, etc., is said to be recorded when it has been filed for record in the courthouse and made a matter of public record.

Record Owner - The owner of real estate at the time in question, as revealed by records. Usually used in reference to public records.

Reference Point - Points established or used to aid in finding or relocating survey points or monuments; i.e. bearing trees.

Restrictions - Provision in a deed which limit the use of the land.

Resurvey - A retracement of a survey or surveys.

Retracement Survey - One made for the purposes of verifying the direction and length of lines and to identify the monuments and other marks of an established prior survey. The retracement, as such, does not modify the former line or lines, excepting where renewing the marks or monuments. The field notes, however, do afford new evidence of the character and condition of the previous survey, including careful redetermination of the direction and length of all lines retraced, and whether the retracement is corroborative of the former record field notes and plat, or not so in any particular.

Right-of-Way - Any tract of land that has been procured by a sale, lease or dedication for the passage of persons or vehicles other than the original owners, but may include them. Also, the right to use or cross over property of another.

Ring - Sequence of non-intersecting chains or strings and/or arcs, with closure. A ring represents a closed boundary, but not the interior area inside the closed boundary.

Rod (or Pole) - Is a surveyor's lineral measure of 16 1/2 feet of 1/4 of a chain.


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Section - A one square mile block of land containing 640 acres or one thirty-sixth of a township.

Subdivision - A tract of land divided by means of a map into lots or lots and blocks for the purpose of resale, generally for residential or agricultural purposes.

Survey - The act or operation of making measurements for determining the relative positions of points on, above, or beneath the earth's surface; also, the results of such operations. Photogrammetric Survey: A method of surveying that uses either ground photographs or aerial photographs; Aerial Surveys: - A survey using aerial photographs; Ground Survey: - A survey made by ground methods. Ground surveys may or may not include the use of photographs.

Survey (geodetic) - A survey that takes into account the size and shape of the earth (as distinguished from a plane survey, in which the surface of the earth is considered a plane).


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Tie - The bearings and dimensions or other evidence or information that accurately defines the location of a point or monument.

Tie Points - Offset monuments set by the city engineer to mark street lines are commonly called tie points.

Tied - As used in surveying, monuments are tied together by measurements. A property corner is tied to offset monuments or to other property corners.

Tier - The east-west row of townships.

Title - Ownership

Title of Land - The means whereby an owner has just possession of his property. It is the evidence of his right, extent of his interest, or means whereby he is able to assert, maintain, or continue his possession.

To - "To", "on", "by", "at" and "along" a road carry title to the center line unless otherwise qualified. "To" implies contact. "To" does not always include an object, as "to a certain property" does not include the property. But "to a stone" usually means "to the center of the stone". "To" is directional, as "90 degrees to (not with)" or "at right angles to". "To" is a word of exclusion rather than inclusion. If you go "to" an object, you exclude other objects.

Township - A township is an approximately 6-mile square area of land containing 36 sections.

Tract - An indefinite stretch of land. In a subdivision, a defined area of land.

Transfer (general) - An act by which title to property is conveyed from one living person to another. The words "convey" or "transfer", as operative work in a deed, is equivalent signification and as effective as the word "grant". Synonymous with "sale".

Transfer (straight) - The direct sale of the whole parcel of land, or of an interest in the whole parcel of land; whereas, the term "name change" is less definite and implies either a direct sale of the whole parcel or a change in name only; and the word "segregation" implies a sale of only part of a larger parcel of land or a division of the larger parcel. The word "transfer" alone could mean either "straight transfer" or "segregation".

Translate, or Translation - to bring existing data into compliance with the Standard; to put data into the format to comply with the Cadastral Data Content Standard.

Traverse - A method of surveying in which a sequence of lengths and directions of lines between points are measured.


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Unrecorded - A deed, etc., is said to be unrecorded when it has not been filed for record in the courthouse and made a matter of public record.

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Acronyms and Abbreviations

ALP- Automated Lands Project (Forest Service)

BLM - Bureau of Land Management

CADD - Computer Aided Drafting and Design

CCP - Canyon Country Partnership

DNR - Department of Natural Resources

FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

FIPS - Federal Information Publications Standards

FGDC - Federal Geographic Data Committee

FWS - Fish and Wildlife Service

GCDB - Geographic Coordinate Data Base

GIS - Geographic Information System

GLO - General Land Office

GMM - GCDB Measurement Management

IACREOT - International Association of Clerks, Recorders, Election Officials, and Treasurers

MMS - Minerals Management Service

NACRC - National Association County Recorders, Election Officials, and Clerks

NSDI - National Spatial Data Infrastructure

OGC- Open GIS Consortium

OMB - Office of Management and Budget

PLS - Public Land Survey

PLSS - Public Land Survey System

RPMIS - Real Property Management Information System

SDTS - Spatial Data Transfer Standard

TAG - Technical Advisory Group

TSSDS - Tri-Service Spatial Data Standards

USDA - NRCS - United States Department of Agriculture - Natural Resource Conservation Service

USGS - United States Geological Survey

USGS - NMD - United States Geological Survey - National Mapping Division


Links to the Course Sections and Modules: [Quick Reference] [Introduction] [Section 1: Purpose and Benefits of the Cadastral Data Content Standard] [Section 2: How the Standard Was Developed] [Section 3: Other Standards and Related Activities] [Section 4: Data Modeling Techniques, Rules and Diagram Conventions] [Section 5: Crosswalks, Translations, and Examples] [Section 6: Understanding Compliance with the Standard] [Section 7: Maintenance of the Standard] [Section 8: User and Technical Support] [County Recorder Module] [GIS Specialist Module] [Surveyor Module] [Glossary]


Learning the Cadastral Data Content Standard

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Presented by the United States Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management, and

the Federal Geographic Data Committee Cadastral Subcommittee