Three cadastral surveyors work on the top of a mountain with a landscape view. BLM photo.

Cadastral Survey

The BLM’s Cadastral Survey program is one of the oldest and most fundamental functions of the U.S. Government. Originating with the Land Ordinance of 1785, cadastral surveys create, define, mark, and re-establish the boundaries and subdivisions of the public lands of the United States.

The word "cadastral" is derived from cadastre, meaning a public record, survey, or map of the value, extent and ownership of land as a basis of taxation. These surveys provide public land managers and the public with information essential to correctly determining ownership rights and privileges, and facilitating good land management decisions.

Read more about the history of cadastral surveys of public lands.