Understanding Maps

The time has come for a over of our mapping services to clear the way for further development of handy tools for our users. As such, this month we have rolled out a new map format to better allow our users to quickly peruse land patents by disposition.

In order to keep the maps as clutter free as possibly, we have replaced all button text with icons.  Some new buttons will be popping up in later versions, but for the moment, we will give a quick overview of the tools you have at your immediate disposal:

Map Marker Location Markers come in two different flavors: patent markers and geography markers.  Both are fairly intuitive: patent markers indicate the location of specific patents, while geography markers present a general overview of a state, county, or township.  patent markers are different colors to represent their disposition—authorized or closed.  The geography markers use this same color key to indicate how many patents of each disposition are in any one state, county, or township.  Hover on the main marker to see the marker expand with details.

There can be multiple patents on the same location—as different patents may have been authorized at different times. These overlapping patents will appear grouped together with a number describing how many patents are on that location.  Clicking on this marker will split them apart so that you can explore them individually.

Map Layers Icon Layer control appears on the upper right corner of the map and allows users to toggle map views as well as location marker visibility by patent disposition. While we show a topographic base map by default, you can switch to a satellite view by hovering over the layer icon and selecting “Satellite.”

Along with controlling what type of map you see, patent level maps will allow you to show / hide patent markers by disposition. Geographic area markers summarize the number of patents in a given state, county, or township. Once you are zoomed into a more detailed section of the map, you can start exploring individual patents. In this patent level map, you can toggle the visibility of markers by their disposition—open, pending, or closed. If you are looking for potential areas to stake a new patent, you can avoid being distracted by authorized patents while you are perusing closed patents, but a simple click can make authorized patents visible again so that you can confirm that there are no overlapping patents that have been staked since the patent you are interested in was closed.

Map Location IconGeolocation allows you to quickly focus on your present location. The first time you use this, your browser will ask permission for the website to access your location data. You will need to grant permission to be able to use this feature.

Fullscreen Map IconFull Screen optimizes the map viewing process. Rather than just filling the browser window, pressing this button will fill the entire computer screen with the map. Once you are done, simply press the “ESC” (escape) key to return to your original browsing view.

Map Refresh IconRefresh updates the contents of your map based on your current view. If you are zoomed out so that you can see the entire country, pressing refresh will present markers for each of the states that contain land patents. The more one zooms into the map, the more detailed the markers, from states to counties to townships to individuals patents.

Map Legend IconMap Legend explains the significance of different colored markers on the map. We use different colors for authorized and closed markers. In case you loose track of what is authorized and what is closed, you can always open the map legend for a quick refresher.

Start exploring for yourself: US land patents

Given that this is a whole new take on our maps, we know there may still be some little problems that may pop up. Don’t hesitate to contact us with any thoughts, suggestions, and concerns you may have in the comments.

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