Jason Lindquist (jlindquist) wrote,
Jason Lindquist
jlindquist

Grid squares and navigation

jonroma cited this reference on federal land surveys in a recent entry. That survey method explains the checkerboard pattern seen from the air flying over the Midwest. It also explains many of the political boundaries. In Illinois, at least, the boundaries of local governments and school districts trace back to these surveys as well.

The article also points out that Spanish land grant boundaries tended to follow natural features like rivers and ridges. That explains much of the development patterns in Southern California. Some of those boundaries are shown in the Thomas Brothers maps that are considered the local navigational bible. Roads here tend to weave, partly for physical reasons, and partly for political reasons based on what territory was sold to developers and when.
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