What is a plat map, and why do they matter?


Property lines are an important part of every homeowner’s and farmer’s life. By delineating lines between you and your neighbor, you can avoid disputes over property, land, and resources. Homeowners can find property resources online, at their local town council, and by researching surveyed land in the nearby area.

What is a plat map?

A plat map is a guide to surveyed land that has been created and maintained by licensed surveyors. The map is a blueprint featuring information about the property. Although these pieces of information may seem easy to create and straightforward, the process of forming a plat map can be quite complicated if the right people are not involved.

Platting laws are based on public law - not contract law. This means the regulations outlined in a plat map are based on the regulations and government rules, instead of the idea that the public has some say in controlling their land. Therefore, public law can be vague and ambiguous in regards to a plat map, click here to learn about plat map.

The basics of a plat map

     Plat maps should provide a description of a section of land, access ways, and the tract

     Plat maps should prevent trespassing on private property


     The maps ensure land for public use remains public to all

     Ensure complying with zoning laws

     Ensures all property owners have access to necessary utilities, i.e. ground wells

What does a plat map show?

     Tract orientation - the property’s direction

     Placement of property lines - prevents the need to resurvey the land

     Easements associated with the property - this information is compared with the deed to show who is the legal owner of a subdivision

Rules of using a plat map

After you register a plat map with the city, you need to follow specific steps when creating a public record.

     Describe the subdivision

     Locate the subdivision in the original land survey

     Record the dimensions of the subdivision, indicating which sections are intended for public or private use

     File and record the plat with the county clerk

Why do you need a plat map?

All of the details about a plat map seem confusing and tedious - so why do you need one? A plat map is a one-size-fits-all document that contains the necessary information required to merge, produce, or subdivide any property. With all of the property division, it is a crucial document to transferring ownership.

A plat map also comes in handy when defining property dimensions to distribute natural resources or construct new structures on the land. The plat map is used to show access to water supplies, such as wells, and sewer facilities.

Who uses plat maps?

Plat maps are viable resources for all landowners, especially those whose professions deal with land ownership and land distribution, like real estate agents or oil companies. When resources are used, companies must ensure they do not trespass on public land or use a private resource.

To avoid any confusion, there are five different types of plat maps used for businesses:

     Amending plat - records any corrections to an already existing plat map

     Plat of subdivision - used when a landowner divides a tract

     Plat of consolidation - when a landowner combines pieces of land into one parcel

     Vacating plat - cancels a previous plate

     Short plat - subdividing land into fewer parcels

How to read a plat map

A plat map contains pieces of information that are key to understanding the details of the land, such as the ownership, property lines, utilities, and other geographical components. Those reading a plat map must understand the different pieces to decipher details about the property.

The tract number and name are provided with the source of the information. In addition, the street number of each lot is given, along with the parcel number and building lot number. You can see a lot of dimensions along the property lines, indicating the shape and size of the property.


Creating a plat map may seem time-consuming, confusing, and unnecessary. However, this legal document is crucial to dividing property or finding ownership for a piece of land. Since this legal guide shows all necessary details that are required to move forward with a piece of land, a plat map is very important for real estate agents, oil and gas companies, and other landowners.

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