December 2007

The 1832 Georgia Lottery Surveys

Note: In the future, this page will contain historical information about the Roads and Trails in the area covered by this map. While it was the first U.S. Survey of North Georgia, it is also an important last look at the Georgia portion of the Cherokee Nation before it was consumed. Right now, however, this page is devoted to a description of how this map was created. This Project is very much a work in progress as we try to develop a format to integrate these early surveys into some kind of cohesive and useful whole. [at some later point, all this techno-talk will be moved out of the way to a Methods page]. If you'd like to skip the description of the methodology and get to the downloadable map files, click here.

Method I:

Our first attempt was labor intensive, using the 1832 Georgia Lottery Survey Plats [catalogued below]. For plat placement, we had a general Georgia Land Lot Index of the various Sections and Districts [also visible on this historic 1838 map]. We used Google Earth ® to overlay the plats onto the modern 3D imagery, then refined the placement of each plat using the rivers, particularly the river branchings, until the plat fit the modern map. In a couple of cases [the Federal Road and the Unicoi Road], we could also use the known course of the road for our fitting. With the plats in place, we could trace the roads onto Google Earth ® precisely. It was often hard to see the geography on Google Earth®, so we added a layer of standard U.S.G.S. Topographic Quad Maps. As with our Trail Tree Project, we used Google Earth ® as our primary program because it's so easy to use, it's versatile, and because it's free [you can download it here]. Then we traced the marked roads as Google Earth ® paths.

Here are some screen captures of the process:

Here are the survey plats as overlays on Google Earth ® for a portion of the map [Forsyth County] with the Trails traced as Google Earth ® "paths."

This is a screen shot of the same map with the plat overlay layer turned off showing the underlying topography.

Next, we've taken the map file from Google Earth® [a KML file], and translated it into a text file that was then imported into the DeLorme Topo ® program.

Finally, using the KML file and a slightly different format, we were able to import the data into the National Geographic Topo!® program [that uses the standard USGS Topographic Maps].

Method II:

We have been evaluating a new program for this project, Manifold®, a newer G.I.S. program for the PC that's affordable [unlike the "big" versions]. For the uninitiated [as we were], G.I.S. [Geographic Information Systems] is a general term for the "georeferenced" map systems originally housed on minicomputers that use files containing latitude/longitude and sometimes altitude information embedded [so overlays "line up" automatically]. Our plat key was a very large file. On a lark, we pulled it into Manifold® and lo and behold, it was a georeferenced file. Shortening a minor detective story, we ultimately found that all of the Lottery Survey files had already been georeferenced and were available on the Georgia Department of Natural Resources web site! So, after some tooling up, we re-did the 1832 Georgia Lottery Survey using these large geographically informed files. Once mastered, the process was much quicker and simpler than eye-ball fitting the overlays [and we learned some of the basics of G.I.S. in the process].

Map Files:

Currently, we have complete files for Google Earth® using both Methods. In addition, we have partial files for other mapping programs. We're still looking for a way to publish these files on topographic maps for field use that doesn't require buying one of these map programs.

Lottery_Survey_1832_Method_I.kml
This is a Google Earth® file of the roads in the 1832 Lottery Survey using Method I. Save the Lottery_Survey_1832_Method_I.kml file to your hard disk. If it doesn't open by itself, launch Google Earth® and open this file using the File->Open menu selection. Voila` - the roads from the 1832 Cherokee Nation!
Lottery_Survey_1832_Method_II.kml
This is a Google Earth® file of the roads in the 1832 Lottery Survey using Method II. Save the Lottery_Survey_1832_Method_II.kml file to your hard disk. If it doesn't open by itself, launch Google Earth® and open this file using the File->Open menu selection. Voila` - the roads from the 1832 Cherokee Nation again!
section_1_1832.tpo
This is a National Geographic Topo!® file of the roads in Section 1 of the 1832 Lottery Survey for demonstration. Save the file to your hard disk. Launch National Geographic Topo!® and open this file using the File->Open menu selection. One could use a zoomed-in version of this map to go road hunting. We don't yet know the precision of these maps. There are potential inaccuracies in the original surveying and in our map fitting using either method. But using the roads that we know the locations of as a marker, they're suprisingly close.
section_1_1832.txt
This is a text file file of the roads in Section 1 of the 1832 Lottery Survey. It can be imported into a variety of programs. In our case, we used it to import the data into National Geographic Topo!®. Save the file to your hard disk. Launch any mapping program that imports text files and use the "import" functions of the program.
section_1_1832_delorme.txt
This is another text file file of the roads in Section 1 of the 1832 Lottery Survey, adapted to a format specified by DeLorme Topo®. The only difference between this file and the previous one is that the coordinates are LAT,LONG instead of LONG,LAT. We used the import function to bring in the map [We're still pretty low on the DeLorme Topo® learning curve - more later].

Primary Data: The table below shows the plats used for this project [with links to the original files]. The Georgia Land Lot key follows below the table:

1832 Georgia Lottery Survey Plats
Section 1 Section 2 Section 3 Section 4
District Type Files District Type Files District Type Files District Type Files
1   1 - 1   1  
2   2   2   2  
3   3   3   3  
4   4   4   4  
5   5   5   5  
6   6   6   6  
7   7   7   7  
8   8   8   8  
9   9   9   9  
10   10   10   10  
11   11   11   11  
12   12   12   12  
13
North
  13   13   13  
13
South
 
14   14   14   14  
15   15   15   15  
16   16   16   16  
17   17   17   17  
18   18   18   18  
19   19   19   19
[1832]
 
19
[1841]
 
  20   20    
21   21  
22   22  
23   23  
24   24  
25   25  
26   26  
27   27  
  28  
The Land Lottery plats are subdivided into 160 acre lots. The Gold Lottery plats are subdivided into 40 acre lots - land that might possibly contain gold [America's first Gold Rush followed the discovery of gold in North Georgia in 1829]. Section 1 District 13 was divided between the two Lotteries. The Section 4 District 19 area was resurveyed in 1841 by State decree.
The "plat" files are in the Georgia Archives and are directly viewable in your Browser. The "geo"-referenced files are MrSid files on the Georgia DNR server as zipped archives. You have to download them and unzip them one at a time. You can then open the ".sid" file in your browser if you have the appropriate "plug-in" [available here from LizardTech [free].

The key below shows the placement of the plats used for this mapping [click the map to see the entire Georgia Land Lot key]:


screen shot of the plats in place in Google Earth®


The roads displayed on Topographic Maps
[available after we settle on formats]