What are Section Corners?
July 2, 2024
By: Cook Surveying Engineer
section corners or TLSS

In the world of land surveying, section corners and TLSS (Triangulation and Leveling Survey Station) monuments hold critical importance. These elements serve as fundamental reference points that help define property boundaries and geographic data across landscapes, including urban environments like Salt Lake City, Utah. This article explores what section corners and TLSS monuments are, their historical significance, and their ongoing role in modern surveying practices.

What Are Section Corners?

Defining Section Corners

Section corners are specific points established by surveyors that mark the corners of sections within a township in the Public Land Survey System (PLSS), widely used in the United States to survey and parcel land:

  • Purpose: They serve as the primary reference points for land division, helping delineate property lines and facilitate legal land descriptions.
  • Usage: These points are essential for landowners, developers, and government agencies when determining land ownership boundaries and in planning and development processes.

Historical Context of Section Corners

The use of section corners dates back to the Land Ordinance of 1785, which began the standardized division of land into square-mile sections and townships to facilitate land sales and settlement across the expanding United States.

The Role of TLSS Monuments

Introduction to TLSS Monuments

TLSS monuments are fixed objects used in geodetic surveying as part of a broader network of survey markers that include benchmarks and other types of monuments:

  • Purpose: They are used for setting baselines in triangulation networks and as reference points in leveling surveys.
  • Construction: Typically, these are solidly constructed so they do not move or deteriorate over time, ensuring reliable, long-term reference points.

Importance in Modern Surveying

TLSS monuments provide crucial data for a variety of applications, including:

  • Mapping and Cartography: Supporting the creation of detailed, accurate maps and charts.
  • Construction and Engineering Projects: Ensuring precise measurements for infrastructure projects, such as roads, bridges, and buildings.

For more information on the significance and maintenance of these monuments, the National Geodetic Survey provides extensive resources and guidelines.

Preserving and Accessing Survey Monuments

Challenges in Preservation

The preservation of section corners and TLSS monuments faces challenges such as natural wear, vandalism, and urban development, which can lead to the loss of these crucial surveying references.

Legal and Community Efforts

  • Protection Laws: Many states, including Utah, have laws that protect these monuments, requiring that they be preserved or suitably relocated during construction activities.
  • Surveyor Responsibilities: Land surveyors are often tasked with the responsibility to report and update the condition and coordinates of these monuments, contributing to the maintenance of national geodetic data.

The Impact on Local Development in Salt Lake City

Utilization in Urban Planning

In Salt Lake City, the preservation and knowledge of section corners and TLSS monuments are vital for:

  • City Planning: Assisting city planners and civil engineers in designing and implementing urban development projects.
  • Property Disputes: Providing authoritative references that can help resolve disputes over property boundaries.


Section corners and TLSS monuments are indispensable tools in the field of land surveying, providing the backbone for all types of land measurement and management activities. Their accuracy and preservation are crucial for everything from individual property ownership to large-scale urban planning. For those in need of precise surveying services that respect these historical and critical markers, Cook Surveying offers professional expertise in utilizing and preserving these monuments for future generations.

Have any questions, give us a call here at Cook Surveying & Associates. (801) 364-4051

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