BLM GLO Team’s story maps bring land records to life

Since February 2018, the BLM Eastern States General Land Office (GLO) Records Automation Branch has published online weekly a "General Land Office Record of the Week" story map.

As part of the project, the team curates a GLO land record relevant to current events, anniversaries, or unique records depicting cities or people of notoriety in U.S. history. Then they create a story map and share the record with the public via BLM social media platforms.

Over the past few years, the increasingly popular "Record of the Week" (ROTW) has garnered a regular following. The purpose of the project is to educate the public on the importance and relevance of the BLM's GLO records collection.

glo team

"Record of the Week" story maps

According to the BLM GLO Records Team, "The concept of a record of the week began in 2016, when the staff started to inventory the 'Easter eggs' in the collection, so named because they contain delightful surprises hidden in historical documents: fascinating records depicting towns, cities, battlefields, dinosaur fossils, and more historical notations. As this curated set grew, it only made sense to share it with the world."

As a result, the ROTW Story Map Project was formalized in 2018 by Daniel Fleming, BLM Branch Chief of GLO Record Automation.

glo team

"Record of the Week" story map on Antoinette Funk, who was appointed as the Assistant Commissioner of the General Land Office in 1933. The story map was published on International Women's Day on March 8, 2019.

The GLO team is based in the BLM Eastern States Office located in Washington D.C. and consists of GIS specialists, Legal Instrument Examiners, Land Law Examiners, Quality Assurance Specialists, and more.

GLO team

The BLM GLO team (left to right): Kellen Irby, Daniel Sharareh, Daniel Fleming, Matt Kime, Rachel Maynard, Kelsey Combs, Bryan Barr, and Chad Ennis.

Since its launch in 2018, the ROTW story map project has grown to include ad hoc members from nearly all State Offices. Contributors to the ROTW include Kelsey Combs, Rachel Maynard, Bryan Barr, Kellen Irby, Daniel Sharareh, Jamie Lange, Chelsea Herbertson, Joe Cullinan, Frank Lahm, Stacey Crowe, John Reitsma, Matt Kime, Daniel Fleming, Ryan Tietjen, Chad Ennis, Rebecca Gardner, Stephanie Wiberg, Robert Patterson, Davida Carnahan, Lesley Elser, Francis Piccoli, Ashley Muriel Luna, and Jasmine Brown.

The General Land Office was dissolved in 1946 when it merged with the Grazing Service to form the BLM. However, the BLM is the authorized agency for surveying and conveying lands and still performs this work today. The BLM Eastern States General Land Office Records Branch manages the official land tenure records related to the public land survey system for the 30 public states, which are states that were created out of the public domain.

Currently, there are over 11 million land records published on the GLO website, which ensure the GLO "Record of the Week" story maps project will continue far into the future.

Click here for the archives of the "Record of the Week" story maps.

Editor's Note: On the last Thursday of the month, the BLM Daily will publish a roundup of that month's "Record of the Week" story maps.

by: Black, Meredith C, Assistant Director for Communications