The work of today's BLM cadastral surveyors is based on principles established more than 200 years ago. In 1785 Congress ordered the vast lands of the Northwest Territory be surveyed and sold to generate revenue and encourage western settlement. The General Land Office (GLO) surveyors laid out the rectangular survey system, creating and marking 6-mile square townships over thousands of miles of diverse terrain, thereby playing a vital role in the growth and development of the United States. Original cadastral surveys set the boundaries of these lands and provide the basis for their legal descriptions.
Today the BLM is the only agency authorized to determine the official boundaries of the federal interest lands of the United States. Our cadastral staff also assists the general public, State agencies and professional surveyor associations by providing access and interpretation of cadastral survey plats and field notes; and conducting technical cadastral survey training for professional surveying associations throughout the State of Alaska.