Public Land Survey Office Overview
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Public Land Survey Office Overview 
Geodetic Control Monument 

PUBLIC LAND SURVEY OFFICE

Building Access Change as of 7/9/14
If you are planning on coming to the NRB, to visit the PLSO or for any other business, you will need to check in at the reception desk in the first floor rotunda upon your arrival. The receptionist will have you sign in and then you will be issued a visitor’s key card pass which will allow you  access to the area(s) you need to visit.

Please call the PLSO at 360-902-1190 (toll free 888-902-1190) if you have any questions.

Duties
The Public Land Survey Office:

  • Collects, preserves and indexes survey records.
  • Established survey industry standards of accuracy and methods of procedure.
  • Issue permits for the removal of survey monuments.
  • Cooperates with and advises the public regarding the recovery and monumentation of section corners and other land boundary marks.
  • Facilitates and encourages the use of the geodetic network.

Why are They Necessary?
These Public Land Survey Office functions:

  • Reduce research time
  • Reduce the likelihood of conflicts between surveyors about corner positions
  • Reduce the chance of costly lawsuits over boundary disputes

 Who Needs These Services?

  • Private: Surveyors and Title companies
  • Local Agencies: Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, Dept. of Transportation, Dept. of Natural Resources
  • Federal Agencies: Bureau of Land Management, US Fish & Wildlife and US Army Corps of Engineers

Structure and Purpose
The Public Land Survey Office (PLSO) is a section within the Engineering Division of Washington's Department of Natural Resources.

It is the responsibility of the state to provide a means for the identification and preservation of survey points for the description of common land boundaries in the interest of the people of the state.  There is a necessity for the adoption and maintenance of a system of permanent reference as to boundary monuments.  The Department of Natural Resources shall be the recognized agency for the establishment of this system. 

Removal of Survey Markers
When it becomes obvious that a survey marker must be removed, either temporarily or permanently, the professional surveyor involved must apply to the PLSO prior to beginning any field work. The application must show the proposed method of  referencing and/or reestablishing the monument. Under extraordinary circumstances, verbal permission may be granted pending the processing and issuance of the written permit. This permit system provides public record of changes that occur to survey monuments.

Permit To Remove Or Destroy A Survey Monument And Other Downloadable PLSO Forms

Washington's Repository of Land Boundary Information
The Public Land Survey Office (PLSO) is a service of state government that identifies, preserves and maintains a statewide repository of land boundary information. Established in 1951, the office collects land boundary data — currently more than 542,000 documents — many of which were privately held by corporations and individuals and not available to the public.

Through the Survey Recording Act of 1973, the state legislature authorized the PLSO to collect all surveys. The office also continues to collect pre-1973 property records which are considered "historical" but valuable in establishing new surveys.

The work of the PLSO is not funded by tax dollars and is completely supported by user fees and sales of its data and maps.

Wanted: historic land boundary records    click here

Historical Data    Click Here
Search the survey records from 1973 back to statehood.

Survey Research Online Service (WebXtender)    Click Here
Now online is a database of 542,000 documents of state land boundary dating back to 1856.  This fee subscription service is used by organizations,  businesses and government agencies.

Washington Geodetic Survey    Click Here
(Previously Washington State Survey Control Data Warehouse) 

Washington State BLM Data    Click Here
The PLSO offers General Land Office (GLO) comprehensive records research for a fee, although the public can access the BLM website via the link above and do research without cost. Caution is advised since, without indexes to the GLO field notes, much time and energy can be spent without success. Those who subscribe to the PLSO online research database Application Extender Web Access (WebXtender) have access to the GLO indexes, assembled by the PLSO (not found on the BLM website), which are key to successful GLO field note research. To place a GLO records research request (for a fee) Click Here

Guidebooks and Manuals for Download    Click Here
Available here are a number of guidebooks and manuals which are instructional and informative.

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 Contacts

Public Land Survey Office
PO Box 47030
1111 Washington St SE Olympia, WA 98504-7030
360-902-1190 or 1-888-902-1190
Fax 360-902-1191
plso@dnr.wa.gov

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