Common Joe 'n Jane Real Estate Wiki

Real estate exam prep made easy! Dive into our wiki for key concepts and study materials tailored for success in your exams.

<--Back to Wiki Home
Bite sized definition logo.

Define Township in Real Estate


A township is a large piece of land that measures six miles by six miles, which is divided into smaller squares called sections. It's part of a way to organize land called the rectangular survey system, which helps people easily locate and describe properties.


In the rectangular survey system, a specific township could be described as being between two north-south lines (meridians) and two east-west lines (parallels). The township contains 36 sections, each measuring one square mile, which can be further divided into smaller pieces for individual properties.

Illustration of a diver exploring the depths of the ocean. This image represents in-depth further learning in various real estate dictionary and glossary terms on our website.
"A Deep Dive for Real Estate Agents and Appraisers"

A few more aspects of townships that can be useful to know:

Rectangular Survey System: Also known as the Public Land Survey System (PLSS), this method of land division was adopted in the United States in the late 18th century to systematically organize and describe land, particularly in the western territories. The system uses a grid-like pattern to divide and categorize land into townships, sections, and smaller units.

Ranges: Townships are organized into columns called ranges, which run north-south. Ranges are numbered consecutively from a principal meridian, a designated north-south line that serves as a reference point.

Tiers: Townships are also organized into rows called tiers, which run east-west. Tiers are numbered consecutively from a base line, a designated east-west line that serves as a reference point.

Township and range designations: When identifying a specific township, it is described by its position relative to the principal meridian and base line. For example, a township might be designated as "Township 2 North, Range 3 East," indicating that it is two tiers north of the base line and three ranges east of the principal meridian.

Sections: As mentioned earlier, townships are divided into 36 sections, each measuring one square mile or 640 acres. Sections are numbered from 1 to 36, starting in the northeast corner and following a back-and-forth pattern.

Quarter-sections and further divisions: Sections can be further divided into smaller parcels of land called quarter-sections, each containing 160 acres. Quarter-sections can be further divided into smaller units, such as quarter-quarter-sections, which contain 40 acres.

Understanding townships and their role in the rectangular survey system is essential for real estate professionals, as this knowledge helps to locate, describe, and manage properties, particularly in areas where the PLSS is in use.
Illustration of Dumb Ox mascot.

"Wit & Whimsy with the Dumb Ox: Unlocking Knowledge with Rhyme:"

In the land of squares and lines,
Where properties align,
A township stands, so big and wide,
Six miles by six, combined.

With meridians and parallels,
That mark its borderlines,
This grand square holds thirty-six,
Sections, all in lines.

Each section, like a smaller square,
One mile by one, it stands,
The township, in its neat array,
Divides the plots and lands.

So in the world of land and maps,
The township has its place,
Organizing, neat and clear,
In the rectangular survey space.

Invest in Your Future.

Buy Access Now!