THE INSTITUTE OF MARKING AND MEASURING  
  PROJECTS ABOUT EPHEMERA  
       
   

The grid of the Rectangular Survey System is a defining feature of the landscape of the Western United States, exacting on the ground and strikingly visible from the air. The seemingly ubiquitous grid may appear at first a perfectly uniform and endless system, yet within the millions of square miles it encompasses, there are 32 distinct markers that serve as the zero- point for individual survey campaigns performed throughout the history of American expansion. These survey markers, called Initial Points, were established between the years of 1803-1881; the monument at each one marks the singular Point of Beginning from which all lands surveyed under its coordinate system are referenced. These individual surveys range in area from a few hundred square miles to hundreds of thousands of square miles engulfing multiple states. The resulting reference system is vast; with, for example, a point in northwestern North Dakota described in reference to an Initial Point in southeastern Arkansas. At its greatest reach, the terrestrial coordinate system operates at a distance of over 1,000 miles.

BLM Map of Base Lines and Principal Meridians
An Historic Itinerary of the Initial Points of the Contiguous United States
6th Principle Meridian, Kansas/Nebraska State Line
Survey Workshop, with the Center for Land Use Interpretation
Exhibit at the Center for Land Use Interpretation
 
 
 
 
    Initial Points
   

Jesse Vogler
Louis Schalk
with
The Center for Land Use Interpretation

Collaborators
Bureau of Land Management
City of Los Angeles Department of Public Works
National Museum of Surveying

Principle Meridian Project

Exhibit
CLUI, Los Angeles
Jan-April, 2012

National Museum of Surveying
Springfield, Illinois
Aug 2012 - 2015

Field Sessions
Surveying Workshop
Saturday, January 28, 2012
CLUI, Los Angeles

Press
BLDG BLOG
Graphite Interdisciplinary Journal
Domus
Artforum