Reading PDF Maps

Small version of PDF map

After loading a PDF section map, how do I read it?

The first thing to understand is reading a parcel number. The parcel number will tell you which map to look at and where a property is located on that map.

The Digits in a Parcel Number

For example, if we were looking at parcel number 3803301473200000 the digits would break down like this:

Parcel number example

Digit NumbersExample DigitsNotes
1 - 238The township the property is in
3 - 403The range the property is in. If the range begins with a 0 then it's east of the Willamette Meridian. A range in a parcel number of 03 would mean 3 east or 3E. If the range begins with a 5 then it's west of the Willamette Meridian. A range in a parcel number of 51 would mean 1 west or 1W.
5 - 630The section in that township and range the property is in. Each township and range has 36 section squares in it. Each section is a 1 mile by 1 mile square.
7 - 9147The X coordinate on the map
10 - 12320The Y coordinate on the map
13 - 160000The auxiliary digits. Not needed for locating a property on a map.


Finding the Property on the Map

The first thing we would want to do is to make sure we are looking at the correct map. On the top right corner of a map it’ll indicate the township, range, and section that the map covers:

Township range section from PDF map

These numbers will match up with the parcel number we are looking for. Because our parcel number starts with 380330 we know that the parcel will appear on this map.

Next, we can use the X and the Y coordinate numbers to find where the parcel is on the map. As a general rule the X coordinate numbers increase as you go more from the left to the right side of the map. For example, an X coordinate of 147 would be to the left of an X coordinate of 350. For Y coordinate numbers as you go more up on the map then the number increases. For example, a Y coordinate of 320 would be more up on the map than a Y coordinate of 100.

X and Y coordinates

Using this we can find out where our X coordinate of 147 and Y coordinate of 320 is on the map.

Map with highlighted area

If we zoom in on this section we can find X 147 and Y 320 on the map (highlighted in yellow).

Map zoomed in with X 147 and Y 320 highlighted

Getting a Parcel Number From a Map

If you are looking at a map it is possible to get the parcel number from the X and Y coordinates. For example, if you want to get the parcel number for X 181 and Y 333 (highlighted in green).

Map zoomed in with property highlighted

First, we would want to look at the top right side of the map to get the township, range, and section numbers.

Township range section from PDF map

The format for a parcel number is: Township + Range + Section + X + Y

So our parcel number will start with 380330. We then will add the X 181 and the Y 333 to it to get: 380330181333

Map Numbers

Each section map can have up to 21 maps that show a different level of detail inside a section. Map 01 is the whole section map and the quarter section maps are maps 02 through 05.

Map numbers on a section map diagram

Map NumberMap Area
Map 01Whole section map
Map 02Northeast quarter map
Map 03Northwest quarter map
Map 04Southwest quarter map
Map 05Southeast quarter map

Another way to visualize this is putting this as an overlay on a map.

Map numbers diagram overlay on section map

Map 01 is the full section map represented in blue below.

Map diagram showing full section map 01

An example of a quarter section map would be map 02 that represents the blue area below.

Map diagram showing a quarter section example of map 02