Map highlights Ohio’s historic land tracts

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COLUMBUS – Land planners, surveyors, social studies teachers, genealogists, historians and others interested in the evolution of Ohio from an unsettled wilderness to its modern mix of farms and towns, will find a new map offered by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources a valuable tool for work or classroom.

ODNR developed the wall-sized full-color map – the first digital compilation of the state’s original land subdivisions – just in time for the start of Ohio’s Bicentennial Celebration.

The map and accompanying booklet, describing the historical development of the state from pioneer times to the present, are available for purchase from the ODNR Division of Geological Survey.

It was about land. “It was land and the desire for land ownership that drew early pioneers to Ohio,” said state geologist Tom Berg. “This map, which combines both history and surveying, illustrates how that desire was eventually translated into the modern rural and urban landscape that we know so well.”

Ohio retains the distinction of being the first state whose lands were subdivided by the federal government and sold or given to the public. Shortly after the Revolutionary War, the lands of the Ohio Territory were sold to pay off the national debt or awarded to veterans as compensation for their service in the American army.

The standard Public Land Surveying System that was developed more than 200 years ago to aid in that effort was the standard used to survey the remainder of the United States. It remains in use today by surveyors and civil engineers.

The new map and its accompanying data set were compiled for use at the county to statewide scale purposes and cannot be used to determine property boundaries.

However, the map and data provide an important index of the state’s original land subdivisions for use as a geographic and historical reference tool. It is also valuable for many geographic information system (GIS) applications.

Get a copy. Copies of the map may be ordered for $10 (plus $3.08 for tax and shipping) from the ODNR Division of Geological Survey at 4383 Fountain Square Drive, Columbus, OH 43224-1362. To receive a flat, unfolded copy of the map, add $1.50 for a mailing tube.

Copies of the accompanying booklet are $10 (plus $3.08 for tax and shipping). Geographic Information System coverages of original land subdivision information for use by GIS professionals are available at 614-265-6576.

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