Cadastral Survey


The Branch of Cadastral Survey is responsible for surveying all public lands in the United States.


  • The rectangular survey system, also known as the Public Land Survey System (PLSS), was developed from 1785 to about 1849.
  • Until 1785 all land descriptions and surveys were by the indiscriminate method of the metes-and-bounds system.
  • The first surveys, using Thomas Jefferson's idea of a rectangular survey system, were done north of the Ohio River and south of Lake Erie.
  • The General Land Office (GLO), under the Treasury Department, was created in 1812 to oversee the land surveys and sales of public land.
  • The GLO was later placed under the Department of the Interior when it was established in 1849.
  • In 1946 the GLO, the Grazing Service, the Oregon and California Administration, Alaska Fire Control, and others were joined to form the Bureau of Land Management making Cadastral Survey the oldest program within the BLM.
  • The Public Land Survey System forms the basis for all legal land descriptions in the United States except for the original 13 colonies, Texas, Hawaii, and portions of Louisiana. These legal land descriptions are needed to meet the requirement that all federal land, to be sold or otherwise conveyed, must be surveyed and have a legal land description. 

Female Survey Crew on the Minidoka Project, 1918

Female Survey Crew on the Minidoka Irrigation Project, 1918

Survey plats for Idaho are available for downloading at the BLM GLO Records web site.

The plats may be searched for by State, County, Township number and direction, Range number and direction, Meridian and Survey type.

The Request for Cadastral Survey Form 9600-4 is available for downloading as a fillable pdf.

Idaho State Office:

The Branch of Cadastral Survey responsible for surveying public lands in Idaho is located at the Bureau of Land Management's Idaho State Office at 1387 S. Vinnell Way in Boise, Idaho 83709

Stanley French, Chief, Cadastral Surveyor, 208-373-3981

Jeff Lee, Field Chief, 208-373-3984

Mike Dress, Office Chief, 208-373-4094

Field Section Offices:

Sean Birt, Boise Dristrict Office

Patrick Baumgartner, Twin Falls District Office

Steve Tate, Coeur d'Alene District Office

Jesse Baca, State Office, Special Projects

Mike Broce, Idaho Falls District Office

Greg Hoskins, Idaho Falls District Office

Monte King, Lapwai Project Office

If you have questions, please feel free to contact Jeff Lee at (208)373-3984 or email him at 

Best Job in the World!