Creating a Plat Map from a Metes and Bounds Land Description: A New Jersey Example. Part 2 demonstrates the platting of a parcel using a free online tool
In part one of this two-part post, I created a call list, a stripped down extract of the lines in the 1847 deed that includes the compass points and distance. Armed with this information, I can begin drawing my land plat.
Although I own a copy of Deed Mapper by DirectLine Software, it was installed on my old desktop computer in another room in the home. I vaguely recalled that I had not yet installed the newer version, and didn’t know where the media was to install it on my laptop. So I decided to do an online search for other platting options. That is when I discovered Deed Platter. I am not sure how I overlooked this tool previously – it appears that it was released in 2004.
Deed Platter is a free utility available at the GenealogyTools.net website
Line call 1 reads: “…South twenty degrees East twenty nine chains and eighty three links…”
Line call 2 reads: “…South fifty four degrees and a half west ten chains and ten links…”
This information is highlighted in my line call worksheet, created in Microsoft Excel.
The highlighted information from my call worksheet is shown in the Deed Platter form. The direction column in my worksheet needs to be broken down into three parts in order to be input into the form: direction, degrees and bearing.
Deed Platter shows the distance in poles by default. By using the drop down arrow, you can choose from a variety of distance measures, including rods, perches, arpents and Spanish varas. Fill in the bottom portion of the form to have that information included in your map (i.e. grantor, grantee, township, county, state and deed citation information).
This is what the first two calls look like platted using the Deed Platter software.
This plat map is far from complete but I wanted to demonstrate the process and not just the end result. Continuing working through the line calls, I end up with a Deed Platter table that looks like this:
When I finished recording all the line calls from my worksheet into the Deed Platter table, I clicked the Plat Deed button to get a final plat map of the 1847 land purchased by Daniel Carson in East Windsor Twp., Mercer Co., New Jersey.
There is an additional table of information that can only be seen once the deed is platted that allows you to include markers and neighbors. I was unable to find a way to get that information to then be displayed on my map, though.
Markers and neighbors input into the table below the map are not displayed on the map itself. Click on image to enlarge.
Deed Platter is a great, free utility to plat a single parcel of land, but it is not without its shortcomings. Output capabilities appear to be limited to Save or Print, but may depend on which browser is used. With the Google Chrome browser, I was finally able to Print to a PDF file.
The real value in land platting is to place that land parcel somewhere on the globe, and to plat the entire neighborhood (some of whom may be kin), neither of which can be done with this software. I did not see any option to export my plat map for use in another mapping program.
Seeing the land platted definitely helps visualize a complex land description that otherwise just seems like an abstract concept. The Deed Platter software will certainly help you do that.
In summary, successful land platting is comprised of four steps, demonstrated in my two-part post.
1. Acquire a copy of the complete deed whenever possible
2. Transcribe the deed, making a full and complete copy
3. Extract the land description into a separate document that can be marked up
4. Plat the deed using platting software or by hand using paper, pencil and a protractor
If you think you’d rather tackle mapping manually, I can recommend several offline resources: Land & Property Research in the United States by E. Wade Hone (chapter 7) or How to Plot Land Surveys by Neal Otto Hively.