townshiptownships Survey system of the United States

created grid-like land patterns in public land states.

Kansas & California | Suburban San Fernando Valley | Colorado River Valley | Land

In order for the Land Ordinance of the United States to take effect the largest states along the coastal areas had to forfeit their claims to western lands.

Public land sattes Colonial grants

Colored in blue are the public land states where the land survey system was used.


The Township and Range system was land survey method used to rationalize boundaries and permit easy recording of land sales to replace the litigious Colonial system that prevailed before 1785.



The square patterns seen here are rational expressions of the desire for order in the 1780s when the national land-use system was adopted by the Articles of Confederation Congress, 1785.

Land patterns central Kansas | San Joaquin Valley, California



San Fernando Valley, Los Angeles, California (1998) compared to Arizona suburbs from the air (2012).

Irrigation in the southern Colorado River Valley, California & Arizona (1999).

land grid

The regular, land grid system , pattern on the terrain of the Prairies and Great Plains.

The pattern of squares.


Kansas & California | Suburban San Fernando Valley | Colorado River Valley | Land

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