13 June 2019

Are you talking about townships or townships?

You're in luck either way:

If you want to map Township/Range/Section, I've just released a new tool called Township Range on Google Maps that maps them all the way down to the quarter quarter section. These townships are part of the Public Land Survey System found in roughly 30 states in the U.S. (which you can read about here).  You can search by address, place, GPS coordinates, or do a reverse find by Section, Township, Range.  They look something like this:

Using the Township Range on Google Maps tool shown above, you can:

  1. Search by address or place using the "Search places" box above the map
  2. Use the "Find parcel" tool on the left side of the map if you have a known Section Township Range you want to map
  3. Just click around the map to see which township, range, section and even quarter and quarter quarter section you clicked in  

On the other hand, if you want the other type of townships (e.g. the level between county and city in many states) discussed in my last post, they can be found on both the City Limits on Google Maps tool and the County Lines on Google Maps tool by checking the box in the lower left corner of the mapHere's an article on this type of township.  This is an example of this type of township on the map:

Be sure and read the coverage notes and usage tips below each map tool.

Hope these are useful in your research!  Feel free to share with anyone you think may find the tools useful.

05 June 2019

Townships have arrived!

One of the most commonly requested features I've heard over the past several months is the ability to map townships.

Well, now you can on both the County Lines on Google Maps and the City Limits on Google Maps tools by checking the "Also show townships" box in the lower left corner of both map tools:

If you're using the City Limits on Google Maps tool and you search for a place or address that is in a township, that township will be highlighted on the map for you even if you don't have the "Also show townships" checkbox checked.  This is based on the assumption that if you're using the City Limits tool, you probably want to know if a place or address is part of a city-like entity, which townships often are.  So, searching for Manalapan township, NJ will produce a map like this:

Checking the "Also show townships" checkbox adds all of the rest of the townships to the map.

To see townships on the County Lines on Google Maps tool, just check "Also show US townships".  If you then click on the map or search a place or address that happens to also be part of a township, you will see that information listed at the bottom of the map:

So, just remember, if you want to see the City or Townships highlighted on the map, use the City Limits on Google Maps tool.

Enjoy!  Feel free to share this tool and leave any comments below.

For those who want to dive a tad deeper...

By way of background, townships are primary governmental or administrative divisions of a county (separate from a city or town) found in much of the northeastern and midwestern U.S. states.  Here's a map showing where townships are present:

These are the townships that can be viewed on the County Lines on Google Maps tool and the City Limits on Google Maps tools.

The above townships are not to be confused with the Townships that are part of the Township, Range, Section designation used by the Public Land Survey System (PLSS) in 30 states in the west, central and southern U.S.  This latter PLSS type of Township/Range/Section can be viewed on the Township Range on Google Maps tool on this website.

04 June 2019

Several upgrades to the City Limits on Google Maps tool

Following on from the enhancements to the County Lines on Google Maps tool, I've made several improvements to the City Limits on Google Maps tool as well:

1. In addition to the city limits drawing, you can optionally choose to show county lines as well.  Just check the "Also show county lines" checkbox in the bottom left corner of the map:

2.  There are a couple of enhancements related to Latitude/Longitude or GPS coordinates.  The first one is that the Latitude/Longitude of the place you clicked on (or typed) appears at the bottom of the map (Also, the area of the city in square miles now appears below the map too).  The other new feature is that you can now type GPS coordinates into the "Search places" box above the map.  For example, let's say you have a GPS coordinate of 105.25° W, 40° N.
The format for typing GPS coordinates into the map is Longitude first, Latitude second.  Longitudes west of the Greenwich Prime Meridian* are always a negative value, as are latitudes south of the equator.  So in this example, you would type -105.25, 40 and a drop-down menu will appear with the fully formatted coordinates for you to click on.  Like this:

3. Some users commented that it was sometimes hard to see the city limits of the city you're looking at when that city is adjacent to a lot of other cities in a metropolitan area, for example.  To help with that, your selected city's boundaries are now highlighted in brighter red and its interior shaded light yellow to help it stand out a bit (note I didn't want to shade the yellow too dark or it will obscure the roads and other map features within the city you're looking at).  Here's an example showing Overland Park, Kansas:

4. You can now use your current location by clicking the "⊕ Locate" button in the upper right corner of the map.  The Locate button will be more accurate on smartphones and other devices containing a GPS; desktop browsers typically show an approximate location.

5. One final enhancement, per user request:  you can click the "☐ expand" button in upper right to get a larger map window optimized for your particular screen size.  After expanding the map, click the "☐ reset" button in the upper right to return to the original map size.

Be sure to read the coverage notes and usage tips below the tool.

I hope you enjoy these enhancements!  Feel free to leave comments below.

P.S.  Also, thanks to all those who have taken a few moments to provide feedback on the tools in the user surveys!  I'm receiving really good feedback, and am humbled at the number of great things people are using the tools for.  I'll aim to provide some high-level summaries of the survey results in the next couple of weeks.  If you haven't provided feedback yet, and would like to, please find the details here.  I very much appreciate it!

* By the way, speaking of the Greenwich Prime Meridian, I've also released a new tool that shows Time Zones on Google Maps.  With it, you can see the time zone boundaries, time zone name, GMT offset, and the current local time anywhere in the world!  Be sure to read the usage notes and coverage info below the tool.  Here's a sample screenshot, with city/county details shown: