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Land Surveyor's Dictionary is an ongoing community project to crowdsource surveying definitions and terms with examples for the next generation land surveyor to learn from. If you are a Land Surveyor, add a term to the Almanac with its definition and examples. Help improve the collective knowledge of the community by improving upon terms added by other surveyors by commenting with your examples and applications in your local surveying environment.
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T Terms in Land Surveying

T Terms in Land Surveying

T Terms

             T (Land Status Records)  – Township.
             TA (Land Status Records)  – Tentative Approval.
             TALL MER (Land Status Records)  – Tallahasee Meridian.
             TC (Land Status Records)  – Timber culture.
             TCP (Land Status Records)  – Timber Cutting Permit.
             TEL (Land Status Records)  – Telephone.
             TELEG (Land Status Records)  – Telegraph.
             TEMP (Land Status Records)  – Temporary.
             TERM (Land Status Records)  – Terminate, Termination.
             T&M (Land Status Records)  – Trade and Manufacturing.
             TMB (Land Status Records)  – Timber.
             T & M SITE  – Trade and Manufacturing Site.
             TN  – Tennessee.
             TNS (Land Status Records)  – Townsite.
             TP (Land Status Records)  – Township.
             TR (Land Status Records)  – TRACT.
             TRANS (Land Status Records)  – Transmission.
             TRF (Land Status Records ) – Transfer.
             TRFD (Land Status Records)  – Transferred.
             TRF JURIS (Land Status Records)  – Transfer of Jurisdiction.
             TRI STA (Land Status Records)  – Triangulation Station.
             TRSP (Land Status Records)  – Trespass.
             T/S (Land Status Records)  – Timber and Stone.
             TS  – Town site. The permanent monuments placed at each turning point of town-site boundary lines are marked not
               only with the usual subdivisional information, but also with the capital-letter initials of the town-site name followed
               by TS.
             TX  – Texas.
             TACK LINE   –A straight line projected from point (tack) to point as opposed to a solar line run along an astronomic
               bearing with a solar attachment.
             TALLAHASSEE MERIDIAN      – The principal meridian governing surveys in Florida and in a small part of Alabama;
               it was adopted in 1824.
             TALLY  – 1) Five chains as measured with a two pole chain. 2) A method of keeping track of count.
             TALLY PIN  – A chaining pin.
             TALUS  – A slope. Especially a steep slope formed by an accumulation of rock debris. See CONTINENTAL TALUS,
               SCREE SLOPE.
             TALWEG    – See THALWEG and RULE OF THALWEG.
             TANGENT   – 1) A straight line that touches a given curve at only one point and does not intersect it. 2) In the public
               lands surveys, a straight line, tangent to a parallel of latitude, usually at a township corner. 3) That part of a traverse
               of alinement included between the point of tangency (P.T.) of one curve and the point of curvature (P.C.) of the next
               curve. 4) A trigonometric function of an angle. See TANGENT SCREW*.
             TAYLOR ACT EXCHANGE       – An exchange consummated under the provisions of section 8 of the Taylor Grazing
             TAYLOR GRAZING ACT      – Act of June 28, 1934 (48 Stat. 1269; 43 U.S.C. sec. 315), as amended. See GRAZING
             TENEMENT    – In its original, proper and legal sense,  “tenement”  signifies everything that may be held, if it is a
               permanent nature, whether it is corporeal or incorporeal. Though often applied to houses and other buildings or to
               lands, it is also applicable to offices, rents, franchises and so forth. See CORPOREAL, INCORPOREAL and
             TERRITORY (methods of acquisition)  – The United States has acquired territory principally by the following three
               1.  by treaty
               2.  by joint resolution of the two houses of Congress
               3.  by statute.
             TERRITORY    – In American law, a portion of the United States, not within the limits of any state, which has not yet
               been admitted as a state of the Union, but is organized with a separate legislature, and with executive and judicial
               officers appointed by the president.
             TERRITORY NORTHWEST OF THE OHIO RIVER          – The Territory bounded on the west by the Mississippi River
               and a line running north from its source to the international boundary, on the north by the boundary line between the
               United States and the British possessions, on the east by the Pennsylvania and New York State lines, and on the
               south by the Ohio River. It was made up of claims of Virginia, Connecticut and Massachusetts, and comprised an
               area of approximately 278,000 square miles. From this territory the states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and
               Wisconsin were formed. It also included that part of Minnesota which lies east of the Mississippi River and the
               northwest corner of Pennsylvania.
             TESTIMONY    – Evidence given by a competent witness, under oath or affirmation; as distinguished from evidence
               derived from writings and other sources. The words  “testimony”  and  “evidence”  are not synonymous. See
               EVIDENCE and WITNESS, EXPERT.
             TEXAS ACCESSION    – The Republic of Texas was admitted as a State in 1845, but retained title to all unoccupied
               lands. Thus, Texas was not a public-land State. Part of this territory was, however, purchased by the United States in
               1850, and is now included in the States of Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Wyoming. This purchase
               added approximately 75 million acres of public lands to the United States.
             THALWEG    -  The  “downway,”  meaning the course taken by boats going downstream in a river. The line following
               the lowest part of a valley, whether under water or not. The intricacy of detail in ordinary relief often makes difficult
               a practical location of a thalweg; in a survey of a political boundary line this difficulty may assume considerable
               weight. A thalweg may also be defined as the line down the center of the main channel of a stream or as the line of
               greatest slope, cutting all contours at right angles. See THREAD OF THE STREAM and RULE OF THALWEG.
             THENCE  – In surveying and in metes and bounds descriptions, the term designates that the course and distance given
               thereafter is a continuation from the course and distance given before.
             THENCE DOWN THE RIVER       – This phase, as used in a surveyor’s field notes, is construed to mean  “with the
               meanders of the river.”
             THEODOLITE    – A precision surveying instrument for measuring horizontal and vertical angles. The graduated circles
               are usually read by means of optical microscopes and are more precisely graduated than are the circles on a transit.
               See TRANSIT.
             THIRD PRINCIPAL MERIDIAN      – The principal meridian, adopted in 1805, which governs surveys in a large part
               of Illinois. It is abbreviated 3rd Prin. Mer.
             THIRTEEN ORIGINAL STATES      – The Thirteen Original Colonies, upon revolt from the British Crown, became
               sovereign, independent states. They are: New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York,
               Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.
             THREAD OF THE STREAM      – Though the courts do not always agree on definitions, the great weight of authority is
               to the effect that the thread of the stream is the center of the main channel thereof. If there are two prominent
               channels, the thread of the stream is the center of the channel used for navigation. See THALWEG and MEDIUM
               FILUM ACQUAE.
             THROW   – In mining, the vertical distance between the parts of a vein which have been separated by a fault, measured
               at right angles to the strike of the fault. A horizontal fault can have no  throw , and a vertical fault can have no  heave .
               See HEAVE.
             TIDAL CURRENT    – A horizontal movement of the water caused by gravitational interactions between the sun, moon
               and earth. See TIDE.
             TIDAL DATUM    – A reference for leveling defined by tidal phase observation and measurements. Mean sea level is
               usually used as the datum for elevations. Mean high water, mean low water and similar terms are tidal datums.
             TIDE  – The periodic rising and falling of the water that results from the gravitational attraction of the moon and sun
               acting upon the rotating earth. See TIDAL CURRENT.
             TIDE, EBB  – The movement of the tidal current away from the shore or down a tidal stream. The correct technical
               term is  “Ebb Current.”
             TIDE, FLOOD   – The movement of a tidal current toward the shore or up a tidal stream. The correct technical term is
               “Flood Current.”
             TIDELANDS   – Coastal areas situated above mean low tide and below mean high tide, particularly the areas alternately
               covered and uncovered by the daily tides. As part of the bed of navigable waters, such lands belong to the states by
               right of sovereignty. Tidelands, including coastal  “salt marshes”  are not subject to survey. In contrast, coastal
               marshes not covered by daily tides are  “swamp and overflowed lands”  within the meaning of the various  “Swamp
               Lands Acts,”  and are subject to survey. See NAVIGABLE WATERS, LOUISIANA SWAMP LANDS ACT OF
             TIDE, NEAP  – See NEAP TIDES.
             TIE  – A survey connection to an existing station or corner of the Public Lands from a point whose position is desired to
               be referenced.
             TIE IN  – 1) To make a connection to a previously determined point. 2) To connect corner accessories, topographic and
               cultural features to the survey.
             TIE POINT  – The point to which a survey connection is made.
             TIER (United States public land surveys)  – Any series of contiguous townships situated east and west of each other;
               also, sections similarly situated within a township.
             TIMBER AND STONE ACT     – An 1878 act which authorized the negotiated sale of public lands especially valuable
               for either timber or stone, and otherwise unfit for cultivation. The Timber and Stone Act was repealed in 1955.
             TIMBER AND STONE ENTRY      – An entry of public lands valuable for timber and stone made under laws now
               repealed. See TIMBER AND STONE ACT.
             TIMBER CULTURE ACT      – In 1873 Congress passed an act to encourage the growth of timber on the western
               prairies. It provided for the entry of public lands if the entryman planted and cultivated trees on a specified part of
               the land. The law was repealed in 1891.
             TITLE  – In real property law, title is a means whereby the owner of lands has the just possession of his property.
             TITLE 43  – Refers to Title 43 (Public lands) of the United States Code (U.S.C.), or to Title 43 (Public Lands: Interior)
               of the Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R.).
             TOPOGRAPHY     – Collective or individual features both natural and cultural, improvements, significant changes in
               character of land and relief which are tied to a point on the survey line or are intersected by it. See
             TORRENS REGISTRATION SYSTEM        – The basic principle of the system is the registration of the title to the land,
               instead of recording the evidence of such title.
             TOWN LOT    – A subdivision of a townsite or of an urban subdivision.
             TOWN LOT ENTRY     – A cash entry of a town lot within a townsite. See TOWNSITE.
             TOWNSHIP    – The unit of survey of the public lands; normally a quadrangle approximately 6 miles on a side with
               boundaries conforming to meridians and parallels within established limits, containing thirty-six sections, some of
               which are designed to correct for the convergence of meridians or range lines. See FRACTIONAL TOWNSHIP.
             TOWNSHIP CORNER      – A corner of a township. See CLOSING TOWNSHIP CORNER.
             TOWNSHIP LINES    – The township boundaries that run north and south are termed  “range lines;”  with few
               exceptions the range lines are run on cardinal and have been intended to be on cardinal. The boundaries running east
               and west are termed  “township lines.”  By law, they were intended to be on true parallels of latitude.
             TOWNSHIP PLAT    – See PLAT.
             TOWNSITE   – An area of public lands which has been segregated for disposal as an urban development, often
               subdivided into blocks, which are further subdivided into town lots.
             TOWNSITE ENTRY     – A cash entry of a townsite.
             TOWNSITE RESERVE     – A reservation of public lands which have potential value as a townsite. See MUNICIPAL
             TOWNSITE SURVEY     – A survey of street and lot boundaries executed to segregate from the public lands an area
               qualifying under the townsite laws.
             TRACT   – Generally, a metes and bounds survey of an area at large within a township. In modern public land surveys
               the term is used specifically to mean a parcel of land that lies in more than one section or that cannot be identified
               completely as a part of a particular section. Tract numbers begin with the next higher number of the numerical
               designation within a township, for example: if there is an old numbers are sequential and no number is repeated
               within a township, for example; if there is an old Mineral Lot No. 37, the tract would be Tract No. 38. If a tract falls
               across a township line it is given a separate number in each township. See LOT.
             TRACT BOOK    – Starting about 1800, tract books designed primarily for the maintenance of permanent records of all
               transactions involving public domain lands were created and maintained in local land offices. Tract books were the
               companion records to the land office  “status plat.”  Prior to the beginning of the records improvement program in
               1955, these records constituted the records required in accordance with 43 C.F.R. 1813.1-1. Over the years, many of
               the tract books became worn and mutilated making status difficult to determine. To protect these books from further
               damage and to preserve the information they contain, these records are now microfilmed. As this is done, the tract
               books are transferred to the appropriate Federal records center as part of the National Archives. See LAND OFFICE
             TRADE AND MANUFACTURING SITE (Alaska)       – Section 10 of the Act of May 14, 1898, as amended August 23,
               1958, authorizes, under its terms and provisions, the sale of not more than 80 acres of land in Alaska possessed and
               occupied in good faith as a trade and manufacturing site.
             TRADE-AND-MANUFACTURING-SITE ENTRY          – A cash entry of 80 acres or less in Alaska which are used as a
               trade or manufacturing site.
             TRANSIT  – A repeating surveying instrument for measuring horizontal and vertical angles. The graduated circles are
               usually not graduated as precisely as are those on a theodolite. See THEODOLITE.
             TRANSPORTATION ACT OF 1940      – Act of September 18, 1940 (54 Stat. 954). See RELEASED RAILROAD
             TRANSVERSE MERCATOR MAP PROJECTION           – A conformal map plotting system in which points on the
               ellipsoid are mathematically projected onto a cylinder whose axis is oriented 90  (transverse) to the axis of the
               ellipsoid. The cylinder surface may meet the ellipsoid at the map center or it may cut below the surface (secant)
               creating two parallels where the scale is exact. The secant form of this projection is the basis of State Plane
               Coordinate Systems where the zone extends north-south more than east-west.
             TRAVERSE   – In surveying, a sequence of lengths and directions of lines between points on the earth, obtained by field
               measurements and used to determine the positions of the points through use of trigonometric computations.
             TREATY OF GHENT, 1814    – By the treaty of peace concluded at Ghent (Belgium) on December 24, 1814, it was
               agreed to provide for a final adjustment of the boundaries described in the Treaty of 1783 that had not yet been
               ascertained and determined, embracing certain islands in the Bay of Fundy and the whole of the boundary line from
               the source of the River St. Croix to the most northwestern point of the Lake of the Woods.
             TREATY OF GUADALUPE HILDAGO        – The peace treaty signed Feb. 2, 1848, at the close of the Mexican War,
               and proclaimed July 4, 1848. See MEXICAN CESSION.
             TREATY WITH GREAT BRITAIN, 1782      – The original limits of the United States were first definitely described in
               the provisional treaty concluded with Great Britain on November 30, 1782.
             TREATY WITH GREAT BRITAIN, 1783      – The definite treaty of peace with Great Britain concluded on September
               3, 1783, defines the boundaries of the United States in terms similar to those of the provisional treaty. The northern
               boundary became at once a fruitful source of dissension between the two countries. From the time of the conclusion
               of peace almost to the present day (1954) the definite location of this line has been subject to a series of treaties,
               commissions, and surveys.
             TREATY WITH SPAIN, 1795    – The southern boundary of the United States was described in definite terms by the
               treaties with Great Britain of 1782 and 1783, but its location was not accepted by Spain and was disputed by that
               country until settled by the treaty concluded on October 27, 1795.
             TREATY WITH SPAIN, 1819    – The treaty of February 22, 1819, settled conflicting claims between the United States
               and Spain concerning East and West Florida. The third article of the treaty defines the boundary between the United
               States and the Spanish possessions in the Southwest. The western boundary of the United States south of the 42nd
               parallel, as fixed by this treaty, was confirmed by treaty with Mexico on January 12, 1828, since by that time
               Mexico had gained independence from Spain.
             TRESPASS   – An unlawful act causing injury to rights or property of another. As used in BLM, an unauthorized use of
               federal lands or resources.
             TRIANGULATION STATION      – A marked and/or described point whose position has been determined by
               triangulation. The usage has broadened to include any precise control station.
             TRUE  – 1) The correct value, as distinguished from an assumed value or approximate value. 2) An adjective applied to
               bearings indicating astronomic or geodetic values. See TRUE LINE.
             TRUE LINE  – A line of constant bearing (Rhumb Line) between two corners of a survey.
             TRUSTEE DEED    – A deed which is issued by the trustee in connection with the sale in Alaska of a town lot in a
               trustee town site.
             TRUSTEE TOWN SITE, Alaska    – An area of public land in Alaska which has been segregated for disposal as an
               urban development, the town lots which are sold by a trustee appointed by the Secretary of Interior.
             TRUST PATENT    – See PATENT, TRUST.
             TRUST TERRITORY OF THE PACIFIC ISLANDS        – Islands in the western Pacific; the Caroline, Marshall and
               Mariana (except Guam) Groups. Formerly under Japanese mandate, they were placed under the administration of the
               United States Department of the Interior through an agreement with the United Nations following World War II.
             T-SHEET  – A topographic map or chart prepared by the former Coast and Geodetic Survey, and now by the National
               Ocean Survey, including the manuscript copy. The topographic map is identified with a number, prefixed with the
               letter T, such as T-5542. As now prepared they are prefixed  “TP”  (topographic-photogrammetric). The term  “T-
               Sheet”  is an inhouse expression to denote such maps and charts.
             TUNNEL   – In mining, a lateral or horizontal passage underground intended to reach the vein or mineral deposit, where
               a drift may begin. See DRIFT, SHAFT and ADIT.
             TUNNEL LOCATIONS     – Tunnel sites are acquired in accordance with local rules and customs, but may not exceed
               3000 feet as imposed by Federal law. When a lode is discovered within a tunnel, the owner is called upon to make a
               surface location of the vein or lode as required by law. Discontinuing operations for 6 months constitutes
               abandonment of all right to the veins along the line of the tunnel.
             TURNING POINT    – In meandering, or in any irregular survey,  “turning point”  is synonymous with  “angle point.”  In
               leveling, however,  “turning point”  refers to an intermediate point of known elevation in a level circuit.
             TWENTY-FOUR-MILE TRACTS       – The largest unit in the rectangular system of surveys. Each area controlled by a
               principal meridian and a base line is divided into tracts by means of standard parallels or correction lines (true
               parallels of latitude) located at intervals of 24 miles to the north and south of the base line and by means of guide
               meridians (true meridians) spaced at intervals of 24 miles east and west of the principal meridian. Because of the
               convergence of the meridians, the distance between the guide meridians is 24 miles only at the starting points; at all
               other points, the distance is less by the amount of the convergence. Twenty-four-mile tracts were first specified in
               the 1881 Manual of Surveying Instructions.

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