Maria Center

The government rectangular survey method is a legal description for land. It references principal meridians and baselines designated throughout the country.

For example, in Florida the principal meridian crosses through Tallahassee.

Click to play

Imagine if you took a giant piece of graph paper and plopped it down over the ground. 

Those squares on the graph paper would make up sections and townships.


There are 36 sections in every township, running in rows of 6 across and 6 down.

Each section is one mile squared, or, in other words, 1 mile in width and 1 mile in height.

Also, each section consists of 640 acres.

We'll use our 640 acres per section as the starting point when solving the problem below:

Homeowner Hank owns the Southwestern 1/4 of the Southeastern 1/4 of the Northwestern 1/4 of Section 8. How many acres does Hank own?

640/4= 160  

160/4= 40

40/4= 10 

Hank owns 10 acres

See the video above for an explanation of how to solve this government rectangular survey math problem.


About the Author Maria Center

I began my career in real estate in Ohio in 2003 and currently work as a PrepAgent real estate exam tutor/instructor. 
I am licensed in Ohio, Florida, Alabama, Virginia, and Kentucky. I work as a Real Estate Broker at 1st Class Real Estate Expert Realtors in Philpot, Kentucky; Managing Broker at Renwick Realty in Middletown, Ohio; Associate Broker at 1st Class Real Estate Premier Homes in Ashland, Virginia; and as a broker in both Florida and Alabama. I am a licensed real estate instructor in Florida and teach finance and appraisal in Ohio. I look forward to helping you prep for success!


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