Land Records and Master Title Plats

The BLM collects, analyzes, and records a tremendous amount of business information about the public lands and resources, ranging from land title to recreational usage to wildlife habitat. Much of this data is geographic in nature and is best understood when displayed and analyzed in spatial form using automated geographic information systems. This data/information is used to make thousands of business decisions each year. We recognize that this business information is of great utility and value to wide variety of other parties, including public land users; education institutions; public interest groups; other Federal, State, Tribal and local agencies, and the scientific community.

With the explosive growth of the Internet and use of personal computers, expectations of our employees, citizens, and businesses having transactions with the BLM have significantly changed.  Questions concerning accessing or interpretting these records should be directed to the California State Office (CASO) Public Room staff at (916) 978-4400.

Today, access, speed and accuracy are key components of the information age. To keep pace with our public responsibility, it is now necessary to begin the business of reengineering the process that can take place using new technology to improve service, reduce cost, and meet our public obligations. The Land Record Modernization and Improvement Project (LR-MIP) is a first step in California meeting that requirement.  Official land status records, surveys, and patents for California can be found at our website.


Master Title Plat (MTP)
The MTP is a mapping of current land status for a specified township. There can be other plats included in the MTP plat group: i.e. oil & gas and the leasable minerals plats which add a graphic depiction of the current mineral lease status added to the basic MTP depiction of land status.

Historical Index (HI)
The HI is a narrative, chronological summary of use and title transactions affecting one particular township. Other types of HI documents are the Mineral Location and Contests HIs and the Acquired Lands HIs.

The (MTP/HI) records were created from the latest cadastral survey of the township the title and withdrawnal documents in the Control Document Index (CDI) see below, and from rights-of-way and easement records maintained by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).  They are updated to show changes in ownership and land use authorizations.  California has over 4,800 townships and approximately 30,000 MTP/HI and associated documents.  These official records are maintained on file in the State Office and are available for use by both BLM staff and the general public to determine land availability, land status, and title/use information.

Control Document Index (CDI) Aperture Cards
CDIs are filmed copies of patent and title documents, withdrawal orders, and opening and closure notices.  These documents are used to update the land status shown on the MTP/HIs. CDI are available for use by both internal and public customers when required to verify the MTP/HI entries.  Today, the BLM California State Office is responsible for maintaining over 150,000 documents filmed to CDI apperture cards and another 1,000 paper copy documents waiting conversion to digital format.  We have scanned the CDI, and many of these documents can be found and viewed at

Cadastral Surveys:
A Cadastral Survey consists of a plat and a written description of the surveyor's field notes. The plat represents the lines surveyed, showing the direction and length of each line, the boundaries, descriptions and area of the parcel of land, and a delineation of the culture and iMen Workingmprovements within the limits of the survey. The cadastral survey plats are used in the construction of a MTP plat.  As survey plats are updated this information is incorporated into the MTP plats. The MTP plats reflect the courses and distances shown on the latest, official cadastral survey plat but measurements are not recited on the MTP. Also, surveys and land use authorizations on an MTP are shown within 3 chains (198') of their correct location.  So, though a surveyed section of 640 acres may appear to run in cardinal directions on the MTP with all four sides exactly 80 chains (1 mile) in length, the official cadastral survey may  show numbers that are slightly different. Exact course and distance information is recited in the survey field notes and on the official survey plats. The BLM California State Office has records for approximately 30,000 cadastral survey plats, and supplemental diagrams.



Maps: Guide to online & interactive maps


Bureau of Land Management
California State Office
2800 Cottage Way, Suite W-1623
Sacramento, CA 95825-1886
Phone: (916) 978-4400
Fax: (916) 978-4416
TTY/Federal Relay System: (916) 978-4419
Office Hours:  8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., M-F
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