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Information About the Jefferson County Township Maps

John W Pierce
R2 Systems, San Diego
December 12, 1999

The initial scans of the map were done with an HP Scan Jet 4C. Because of the size of the map, it had to be scanned in sections. Six different scans were made at 600 dpi, with a great deal of overlap between the areas they covered. The original scan images were quite large - on the order of 500 kilobytes each. These images were then reduced to about 20% of their original size (linear dimensions) using Microsoft Photo Editor. The resulting images were "glued" back together using Microsoft Image Composer to form a map of the full county. This map is still quite large (557 kilobytes); it would take a very long time to download for most people, and is too large for some browsers to display.

Reducing the image size both lost some details and made many words difficult to read by blurring letters together; this is particularly true for small letters such as the section numbers. It is possible that a lower resolution for the initial scans would have been a better idea. The overall images would probably have been somewhat dimmer, but I think there might have been less blurring. Also, since the map had to be moved around on the scanner's surface to scan the different regions, there was some slight misalignment between the various scans. I had expected this, but it was much more difficult to correct than I had thought it would be; the end result is useable, but it is certainly not perfect.

The misalignment that occurred in gluing areas together is not, however, the cause of the misalignment between the "Township 40 North" and "Township 39 North" sections. That misalignment is the way the land was actually surveyed. The oddities in the section shapes in the southeast around Plattin and Danby, and in the southwest around De Soto and Vineland, are also the way the land was surveyed. Actually, these variances from the theoretical definitions of townships and sections would have brought this project to a halt without Mona Houser's generosity in supplying a map with the township and section boundaries on it.

Also with respect to alignment, we are accustomed to the top of a map pointing due north. I tried to keep that alignment, but I suspect that all of the maps are canted just a bit to the east or west.

The full county map at the reduced size was cut into individual townships (approximately) in Microsoft Image Composer. In order to provide some context when viewing maps of adjacent regions, these maps have the subject township(s) more or less centered in the image, and include a small amount of the surrounding townships, usually about one section width all the way around. Along the county boundaries, where often only a small portion of a township is within the county, the "bits and pieces" are included in the image that contains an adjacent full township.

In general, the darkest and widest absolutely straight lines on the maps are the survey township boundaries. The section lines are thinner and lighter. Unfortunately, the distinctions are sometimes difficult to determine from the township maps, but a little practice at interpreting them does make it easier. I made an effort at enhancing the boundary lines, but it wasn't at all successful. It's quite likely that somebody with more knowledge and skill at this sort of work could do a significantly better job. Links to compressed files containing the original scans and the intermediate images are on the main page, and anyone who wants to experiment with them should feel free to do so.

The map that shows the political townships overlayed on the survey townships was made in Microsoft Image Composer from two different maps. The survey township map was another of Mona Houser's many contributions to Jefferson County research. I don't know where I got the political township map. I know I got it as an image (i.e., I didn't scan it), but I don't remember if I found it at some web site, or if someone sent it to me (it's quite possibly also from Mona Houser).