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Old 06-04-2013, 07:53 PM
 
Location: Michigan
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I have noticed this over time just simply from looking at google maps, look at the roads in the midwest, do they not appear to be more squarely mapped? Then compare that to anywhere from Kentucky on south, and they are more diagonal?

Anybody else notice this? And if so, is there any reasoning behind it?
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Old 06-04-2013, 08:32 PM
 
Location: Nashua
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I guess that on relatively flat land they just don't have the landforms that make the roads wander or curve around hills or along rivers.
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Old 06-04-2013, 08:36 PM
 
Location: IN
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No, not all of the Midwest at all. The Driftless region of MN, WI, and IA has all hilly roads that follow the contours of the land and river valley areas. The grid, PLSS, are basically roads built along 640 acre sections of relatively flat land.
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Old 06-04-2013, 08:37 PM
 
Location: St. Louis
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I think it has something to do with the way the Midwest was surveyed and laid out many, many years ago. It's also mostly flat, which probably made the surveying much easier.
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Old 06-05-2013, 09:00 AM
 
11,172 posts, read 22,366,973 times
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It's because the Midwest was settled using the Township method of surveying.

Townships are created based on meridians and base lines, of which there are a few running through the Midwest. Townships themselves are 6 miles by 6 miles, measured at their distance from a particular meridan and base line, and divided into 1 square mile pieces called Sections. Each section is 640 acres and is how individual property lines/boundries are divided.

There are actually a lot of interesting features of townships. Each 6 mile by 6 mile township with the 36 Sections has one section, always #16, that is set aside for a school. Even in many cities today they are required to build a school in this Section. The Township Sections are all numbered the same, starting in the upper right and going back and forth until you get to section #36 in the bottom right.

Many roads will follow the outlines of the townships, which is why you see such a grid all across the Midwest. 1-Mile, 3-Mile, 8-Mile roads, etc. in Michigan are all platted out based on Sections of a Township.
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Old 06-05-2013, 09:09 AM
 
Location: Milwaukee
1,314 posts, read 1,737,022 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GraniteStater View Post
No, not all of the Midwest at all. The Driftless region of MN, WI, and IA has all hilly roads that follow the contours of the land and river valley areas. The grid, PLSS, are basically roads built along 640 acre sections of relatively flat land.
Yeah, it looks like a spider web when you check out the maps. No major highways (except one that extends to La Crosse) exist in the biggest (Wisconsin) part of the region. On flatter land (the majority of the Midwest), it was easier to do the grid.
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Old 06-05-2013, 04:48 PM
 
3,514 posts, read 4,012,176 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chicago60614 View Post
It's because the Midwest was settled using the Township method of surveying.

Townships are created based on meridians and base lines, of which there are a few running through the Midwest. Townships themselves are 6 miles by 6 miles, measured at their distance from a particular meridan and base line, and divided into 1 square mile pieces called Sections. Each section is 640 acres and is how individual property lines/boundries are divided.

There are actually a lot of interesting features of townships. Each 6 mile by 6 mile township with the 36 Sections has one section, always #16, that is set aside for a school. Even in many cities today they are required to build a school in this Section. The Township Sections are all numbered the same, starting in the upper right and going back and forth until you get to section #36 in the bottom right.

Many roads will follow the outlines of the townships, which is why you see such a grid all across the Midwest. 1-Mile, 3-Mile, 8-Mile roads, etc. in Michigan are all platted out based on Sections of a Township.
This is the correct answer.
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Old 06-06-2013, 10:46 AM
 
Location: Milwaukee
1,314 posts, read 1,737,022 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OHKID View Post
This is the correct answer.
In addition to terrain - in some areas, like the Driftless, a grid is impossible.
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Old 06-06-2013, 11:38 AM
 
Location: Limbo
6,475 posts, read 6,183,304 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chicago60614 View Post
It's because the Midwest was settled using the Township method of surveying.

Townships are created based on meridians and base lines, of which there are a few running through the Midwest. Townships themselves are 6 miles by 6 miles, measured at their distance from a particular meridan and base line, and divided into 1 square mile pieces called Sections. Each section is 640 acres and is how individual property lines/boundries are divided.

There are actually a lot of interesting features of townships. Each 6 mile by 6 mile township with the 36 Sections has one section, always #16, that is set aside for a school. Even in many cities today they are required to build a school in this Section. The Township Sections are all numbered the same, starting in the upper right and going back and forth until you get to section #36 in the bottom right.

Many roads will follow the outlines of the townships, which is why you see such a grid all across the Midwest. 1-Mile, 3-Mile, 8-Mile roads, etc. in Michigan are all platted out based on Sections of a Township.
Right on. Aerial views of farmland clearly show how these sections are broken into quarter sections and quarter-quarter sections, etc. It is interesting stuff.
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Old 06-06-2013, 01:44 PM
 
11,172 posts, read 22,366,973 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CowsAndBeer View Post
In addition to terrain - in some areas, like the Driftless, a grid is impossible.
Yes, very true. Even in the driftless of Iowa there are townships like everywhere else, but the road system wasn't easily overlayed so they went with the terrain. The roads follow the townships when it's very easy to do, but of course certainly don't have to.
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