The Public Land Survey System (PLSS) has been around longer than St. Louis County has existed. The plan (originally developed by Thomas Jefferson) was to survey the entire country in a grid system, creating six-mile square townships, and then subdivide each township into one-mile squares. Every half mile, a monument was set to mark a corner. These original surveyors established the corners predominantly with wood posts and then blazed and scribed nearby trees as a reference (bearing trees) in case the original wood posts were ever destroyed. After the original corner was set and accepted by the Surveyor Generals Office, the corner's position is fixed and unchangeable. Once the survey was complete, a plat map was created and utilized for the sale of property from the US Government to private owners. The original public land survey plats and corners are official legal land records for Minnesota. Today, virtually all real property title in Minnesota is based, directly or indirectly, upon the landmarks and records of the United States Public Land Survey System, aka the US Government Survey.
Today, our job is to maintain the numerous records and perpetuate the original positions of the Public Land Survey System (PLSS) throughout St. Louis County. We also provide land surveying services to a variety of county departments, including Public Works, Land and Minerals, the Auditors Office, Recorder, Title Examiners and Attorney's Office to name a few. For developers and professional surveyor's, we review and approve plats, common interest community (CIC), and registered land surveys (RLS). For land owners, we assist with general land survey boundary issues and document research.