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QUADRANGLE MAP - A map of a four sided figure bounded by parallels of latitude and meridians of longitude. See STANDARD QUADRANGLE MAP* and MAP SERIES*. 

QUALIFIED (as a witness) - Persons who are accepted by the court as being professionally skilled and knowledgeable in a particular field of study or science, as surveying. See WITNESS and EXPERT. 

QUANTITY GRANT - A grant in connection with which the Congress specifies only the number of acres or the general type of public lands which are granted and which the grantee will secure by making selections from available public lands. See GRANT IN PLACE, INDEMNITY LANDS and PLACE LANDS. 


QUARTER-SECTION CORNER - A corner at an extremity of a boundary of a quarter section. Written as 1/4 section corner, not as one fourth section corner. 

QUARTER SECTION - One-fourth of a section, containing 160 acres more or less. See SECTION, QUARTER. 

QUASI - As if. Almost as if it were. Seen often in terms such as "quasi-legal" or "quasi-judicial." 

QUIET TITLE - In the legal proceeding called "action to quiet title," the word "quiet" means to pacify; to render secure or unassailable by the removal of unsettling causes or disputes. Under this proceeding, the plaintiff's title to land is established by bringing into court an adverse claimant and there compelling him either to establish his claim or be forever estopped from asserting it. See ESTOPPEL. 

QUITCLAIM DEED - A deed in the nature of a release containing words of conveyance as well as release. It conveys any interest the maker may have in the property described without any representations or liability of any kind as to title conveyed or encumbrances that may exist thereon. A patent from the Government is a quitclaim deed. 

Q.V. - An abbreviation of "quod vide," used to refer a reader to the word, chapter etc., the name of which it immediately follows. Quod vide means which see.


RAILROAD GRANT - Usually, title to railroad grant lands passed under patent conveyances. These grants were made to railroads to aid in their construction, and covered designated sections within specified grant limits. Prior to 1875, railroad right-of-way grants conveyed a hybrid type of interest in the public lands. Laws authorized each grant and set forth the limits of the grant and the lands granted. In determining these limits, and ascertaining the interests obtained under the various grants, legal advice may be required. See INDEMNITY LANDS; PLACE LANDS; RAILROAD GRANT, ADJUSTED OR UNADJUSTED; RAILROAD INDEMNITY SELECTION and RAILROAD LIEU SELECTION. 

RAILROAD GRANT, ADJUSTED OR UNADJUSTED - If the legal processing (adjudication) was terminated, and the grantee received all the lands to which entitled or as much as it was possible to give under the terms of the grant, prior to the Transportation Act of 1940, it is termed an "adjusted" railroad grant. If the adjudication was not completed prior to that time, it is called an "unadjusted" railroad grant. See RELEASED RAILROAD CLAIM. 

RAILROAD INDEMNITY SELECTION - A lieu selection, which is made by a railroad, based upon rights to railroad grant lands lost to the railroad within the primary limits, selection being made within the indemnity limits. See RAILROAD LIEU SELECTION. 

RAILROAD LIEU SELECTION - A lieu selection, which is made by an applicant other than a railroad, based upon the relinquishment of rights to land within a railroad grant. See RAILROAD INDEMNITY SELECTION. 

RAILROAD TOWN-SITE RESERVATION - A reservation, along a proposed or existing railroad line in Alaska, of public lands which are valuable or potentially valuable as a town site. 

RANDOM LINE - a trial line run from one monument toward the next monument so that the difference in latitude and departure between monuments may be determined and the true line may be computed. On the trial line, temporary intermediate corners are set. Offsets may then be computed from the temporary corners to the correct positions on the true line. See TRUE LINE, RANDOM AND TRUE AND CORNER MOVE. 

RANDOM AND TRUE - A survey method whereby a trail line is run to connect two monuments. With the data obtained while running the trial line, the true line is computed and rerun. 

RANGE - A north-south tier of townships or sections. A range of townships is described by its relationship to the principle meridian. 

RANGE LINE - A boundary of a township surveyed in a north-south direction. See TOWNSHIP LINE. 

REACH (of a river) - A continuous unbroken portion of a river, particularly a straight stretch. 


REAL ESTATE - An ownership interest in real property. In common usage it has come to mean the property itself. See REAL PROPERTY. 

REAL PROPERTY - Land and generally whatever is erected upon, growing on or affixed to the land. See PROPERTY. 

RECEIVER - An official in the Washington office of the General Land Office who was authorized to accept cash payments for the public lands and resources. Receivers could not be appointed until there was sufficient land surveyed to authorize the opening of land offices since they were assigned to land offices to perform their duties. All reference to Receivers was dropped following the Act of March 3, 1925, which provided for the consolidation of the offices of Receiver and Register. See REGISTER. 

RECESSION OF WATER - A legal expression that is applied to the gradual, natural and more or less permanent lowering of the surface elevation of a lake, or its complete disappearance, when referred to what at one time has been regarded as the normal (as at the date of an established survey). See RELICTION. 

RECLAMATION HOMESTEAD ENTRY - An entry initiated under the act of June 17, 1902 (32 Stat. 338; 43 U.S.C., sec. 43 et seq.), which provides for the issuance of patents to entrymen who settle upon and improve agricultural public lands, not exceeding 160 acres in size, within reclamation projects. 

RECLAMATION PROJECT - A water development project, for irrigation of arid lands and for other purposes, which is administered by the Bureau of Reclamation, United States Department of the Interior. 

RECLAMATION STATES - The public-land States in which the Bureau of Reclamation is authorized to function, viz., Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. 

RECLAMATION TOWN LOT - A town lot of a town site which is within a reclamation project. 

RECLAMATION WITHDRAWAL - A withdrawal of public lands in connection with a reclamation project. See FIRST FORM RECLAMATION WITHDRAWAL and SECOND FORM RECLAMATION WITHDRAWAL. 

RECONSTRUCTED - The same as "rehabilitated." Used in section 215 of the 1930 Manual of Surveying Instructions as follows: " ... such original corners, if not in a good state of preservation, will be reconstructed in first-class order ...." 

RECONVEYED LANDS - Lands once granted but later forfeited and returned to Federal ownership by reconveyance. See COOS BAY WAGON ROAD LANDS. 

RECORD - 1) The approved field notes and plat of a survey. 2) A value of area, bearing or distance from the approved field notes. 3) The act of recording a document as in a county. 4) All of the documents pertaining to title and boundaries including status, group files, county surveyor information as well as field notes and plats, when used as "to search the record." 


RECREATIONAL ENTRY - A cash entry for public lands by a State, county, municipality, or other local governmental agency, or by a nonprofit organization, which are to be used for recreational purposes. 

RECREATIONAL WITHDRAWAL - A reservation of public lands which have been designated as chiefly valuable for recreational purposes and as suitable for State exchange, recreation entry, or recreational lease pursuant to the act of June 14, 1926 (44 Stat. 741, 43 U.S.C. sec. 869). 


RECTANGULAR LIMITS - The amount by which a section, or its aliquot parts, may vary from the ideal section and still be considered regular. The rectangular limits are: a) For alinement, the section's boundaries must not exceed 21' from cardinal in any part, nor may the opposite (regular) boundaries of a section vary more than 21'. b) For measurement, the distance between regular corners must be within 25 links in 40 chains. 

RECTANGULAR SYSTEM OF SURVEYS - A system inaugurated by the Continental Congress on May 20, 1785, for the survey of the public lands of the United States. Its distinguishing characteristic is that in the main, and in all cases where practicable, its units are in rectangular form. RED BOOK, THE - Slang for Standard Field Tables and Trigonometric Formulas, a supplement to the Manual of Surveying Instructions which was first published by the General Land Office in 1910; the eighth edition was published in 1956. The tables and data are designed for use by Cadastral Surveyors in the field and office. 

RED RIVER CASE - When oil was discovered in the Red River Valley between Oklahoma and Texas, land prices soared. The location of the Oklahoma-Texas boundary line, once a part of the boundary between the United States and the Spanish holdings in the Southwest, became a matter of great importance. Any rights to the bed or the banks of the river were dependent upon the wording of the treaty of 1819. In 1919 Oklahoma entered in suit against Texas and the United States intervened as a protection of the rights of Iowa and Comanche Indians. The suits involved amounts of more than $100 million. The U.S. Supreme Court proceedings fill 5,510 printed pages in nine volumes and the case required more than five years to settle. As a result of this landmark case, a new and unprecedented principle of law for the establishment of river boundaries came into being. (260 U.S. 606, 261 U.S. 340, 265 U.S. 493). See GRADIENT BOUNDARY. 

RED RIVER OIL LANDS - Public lands, containing oil and gas, which are located in the south half of the Red River, Oklahoma, from the 98th Meridian to the North Fork. 

REEF (T.R. No. 4) - A chain or range of rock or coral, elevated above the surrounding bottom of the sea, generally submerged and dangerous to surface navigation. A barrier reef roughly parallels the land but is some distance offshore, with deeper water intervening. 

REFERENCED - Bearings and distances from a monument to described or identified points to be used for future corner point determination are said to be "referenced." 

REFERENCE MONUMENT - An iron post or rock cap accessory used where the point for a corner monument is such that, for practical purposes, a permanent corner monument cannot be established, or if monumented, a full complement of bearing trees or bearing objects are not obtainable. 

REGIMEN - The condition of a stream and its channel with respect to stability. A river or canal is "in regimen" if its channel has reached a stable form as a result of its flow characteristics. 

REGIONS (BLM) - From 1946 until the mid 1950's, the direction of the public land surveys was conducted through regional offices of the Bureau of Land Management. The original regions were: 

1. Washington, Oregon & Idaho (Headquarters, Portland, Oregon) 

2. California & Nevada (Headquarters, San Francisco, California) 

3. Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa & Missouri (Headquarters, Billings, Montana) 

4. Utah & Colorado (Headquarters, Salt lake City, Utah) 

5. Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas & Louisiana (Headquarters, Albuquerque, New Mexico) 

6. the remaining states (headquarters, Washington D.C.) 

7. Alaska (Headquarters, Anchorage, Alaska) In 1950, the Bureau of Land Management prepared a wall chart showing that Region 6 had been increased to include Iowa & Missouri (from Region 3) and Arkansas & Louisiana (from Region 5). Alaska was a territory during the period in which BLM regions existed. See AREAS (BLM). 

REGISTER - An official in the General Land Office who was in charge of a land office subordinate to that agency. The reference to " register" was changed to "officer designated by the Secretary of the Interior" under the 1946 reorganization plan which created the Bureau of Land Management. See MANAGER and REGISTER*. 

REGISTERING (Deeds) - The main object of the registration or recording of deeds is to give constructive notice of such conveyance to purchasers and creditors. A deed may be valid between the grantor and grantee but will fail to give constructive notice to others if not so registered or recorded. 

REGRESS - The right to return to land. See EGRESS and INGRESS. 

REGULAR CORNER - Corners which are established or indicated by the survey according to the normal plan of the rectangular system. 

REGULAR ORDER - The prescribed procedure and method of establishing the rectangular system of surveys. 

REGULAR SECTION - A section whose boundaries, as returned on the original survey, are within 21' of cardinal and with 25 links from each 40 chains in measurement. See REGULAR SECTION SUBDIVISION and REGULAR SUBDIVISIONS OF A SECTION. 

REGULAR SECTION SUBDIVISION - The plan whereby a section is divided into the maximum number of aliquot parts. See ALIQUOT PARTS, SUBDIVISION-OF-SURVEY and REGULAR SECTION. 


REGULAR TOWNSHIP - A township which is surveyed with four complete boundaries every part of which is within allowable limits and is subdivided into 36 sections according to the regular method of subdivision. 


REHABILITATION - The restoration of a corner monument or its accessories to original conditions but not the addition of new accessories or any altering of the record. See REMONUMENTATION. 

REIMBURSABLE SURVEY - A survey or resurvey authorized by law and made with BLM funds which are repaid, according to the terms of written agreements. 

RELEASED RAILROAD CLAIMS - The lands any potential claim to which was relinquished by railroads pursuant to the Transportation Act of 1940, viz, all railroad grant lands within the primary limits of the unadjusted railroad grants for which a patent or its equivalent had not been issued and all public lands within the indemnity limits of such grants which might have been available for the selection by the railroads in satisfaction of their grants. The railroads did not relinquish rights to lands for which they had received patents (or their equivalent) or which they had sold to bona fide purchasers prior to September 18, 1940. 

RELICTION - The gradual and imperceptible recession of the water resulting in an uncovering of land once submerged. Also known as dereliction. See ACCRETION. 

RELICTION, ARTIFICIAL - A recession of the waters of a stream or lake uncovering riparian land where the recession was caused or induced by man's activities. 

RELOCATION - The legal appropriation of a claim previously staked and held by either the relocator or another. The term implies that there was a former mining location which once had legal significance but has become open to forfeiture by abandonment, laches or the like. The burden of proof is on the relocator. See CLAIM JUMPING. 

REMANDER - To establish new meanders along a riparian boundary replacing previous meanders. 

REMEASUREMENT - A term applied to a survey made for the purpose of verifying or determining distances as opposed to a retracement, which is done to verify or determine both bearings and distances. It also differs from a resurvey, which is the rerunning and remarking of lines represented in the field notes and on the plat of a previous official survey. See RESURVEY and RETRACEMENT. 

REMONUMENTATION - The construction of a corner monument (iron post, rock cap or concrete monument) at the position of an original monument as determined from proper measurement from its original accessories. New accessories may be added if required. See REHABILITATION and PERPETUATION OF CORNERS. 

REMONUMENTATION PROGRAM - A cooperative effort to remonument survey corners which are in danger of becoming lost. This program is restricted to National Forest Lands and certain, designated, BLM Districts. Many State and local agencies have similar programs in their areas of authority. 

REMOTE UPLAND OWNER - One whose land is immediately upland from that owned by a riparian owner. See RIPARIAN OWNER. 

REPRESENTATIVE FRACTION - A fraction expressing scale in which the numerator is unity and the denominator is the number that the unit distance must be multiplied by in order to obtain its distance on the ground in the same units. For example, 1/12,000. Also seen as 1:12,000 and 1-12,000. 

RESERVATION - A withdrawal, usually of a permanent nature; also, any Federal lands which have been dedicated to a specified public purpose. See MINERAL RESERVATION. 

RESERVED LAND - Federal lands which are dedicated or set aside for a specific public purpose or program, and which are, therefore, generally not subject to disposition under the operation of all of the public land laws. 

RESERVOIR-SITE RESERVE - A reservation of public lands which have potential value as a site for a water storage reservoir. 

RESIDUAL ERROR - 1) The total error of closure of a traverse. 2) In mathematics, the difference between as observed value of a series and its corresponding adjusted value. 3) Any remaining error after all adjustments are made. 

RES JUDICATA - A matter settled by judgment. The rule of "res judicata" is that a matter once judicially decided is finally decided. The plea of "res judicata" is an "estoppel" against the losing party from again litigating matters involved in previous action, but does not have that effect in matters which occurred later and which were not at issue in the prior action. See ESTOPPEL and STARE DECISIS. 

RESOURCE AREA (BLM) - The primary subdivision of a BLM District. It is composed of at least two (typically five to eight) planning units and intermingled and adjoining lands such as National Parks, National Forests, Indian Reservations, Military Reservations and private lands. It is under the administration of an Area Manager. 


RESTORATION - 1) The purpose of a resurvey; the recovery of one or more lines or corner positions, or both, of a prior approved survey; or the replacement of one or more lost corners or obliterated monuments by approved methods, including the substantial renewal of one or more monuments, as required for the purpose of a survey. 2) A revocation of a withdrawal which also effects the opening of the public lands in the withdrawal. Also, an action which returns ceded Indian lands to tribal ownership. See RESURVEY, DEPENDENT RESURVEY and INDEPENDENT RESURVEY. 

RESTORATION OF MEANDERS - The reestablishment of original meanders. See REMANDER. 

RESTRICTED DEED, ALASKA - A deed which is issued to an Alaska Indian or Eskimo for land claimed by him in an Alaskan trustee town site and which contains a proviso that the land is inalienable except with the approval of the Secretary of the Interior. 

RESURVEY - A term applied to the reestablishment or restoration of land boundaries and subdivisions by the rerunning and remaking of the lines that were represented in the field note record and on the plat of the previous official survey. This includes, as in the original survey, a field note record of the retracement data, observations, measurements and monuments descriptive of the work performed, and a plat that represents such resurvey, all subject to the approval of the directing authority. The above definition is intended or implied unless modified as in an Independent Resurvey or in some other appropriate manner. The adjective "dependent" applied to the term "resurvey" is for emphasis, and specifically to suggest the recovery and restoration of the prior official survey. See DEPENDENT RESURVEY, INDEPENDENT RESURVEY, RETRACEMENT, RESTORATION REMEASUREMENT and RESURVEY*. 

RETRACEMENT - A survey made to ascertain the direction and length of lines and to identify monuments and marks of an established prior survey. Recovered corners are rehabilitated, but lost corners are not restored and lines through timber are not reblazed. See RESURVEY and REMEASUREMENT. 

RETURNED - Areas and/or boundaries of the public lands which are described in the approved field notes and appear on the accepted plat of an official survey are said to be "returned." 

RETURNS - Official reports. In cadastral survey parlance, the "returns" are the field notes, report and approved plat of a survey. See FIELD RETURNS and FINAL RETURNS. 

REVERSION CLAUSE - A clause in an order of withdrawal providing that the lands shall revert to their former status after they have served the purpose for which they are withdrawn; also, a clause in a patent providing that title to the lands shall revert to the United States upon failure of the patentee to use the lands for the purposes stated in the patent. 

REVESTED LANDS - Lands once granted and later forfeited and returned to Federal ownership by Congressional revestment of title. See O & C LANDS. 

REVISED STATUTES - A body of statutes which have been reviewed, re-examined, rearranged or otherwise improved, and have been collected, arranged in order and re-enacted as a whole. In 1873, all of the general and permanent laws of the United States then in force were arranged by subject under 74 headings and enacted into law by Congress. This compilation was corrected and superceded by another codification of the laws in 1878. The 1878 codification is known as the Revised Statutes. The sections of the Revised Statutes are numbered consecutively. When cited, the section number should follow the abbreviation R.S. Thus, R.S. 2478 is a citation to section 2478 of the Revised Statues. A citation to the Revised Statutes is always understood to refer to the codification of 1878, See UNITED STATES STATUTES AT LARGE, UNITED STATES CODE and CODE OF FEDERAL REGULATIONS. 

REVOCATION - Generally, an action which cancels a previous official act; specifically, an action which cancels a withdrawal. 


RIDGE TOP - The highest part of a range of hills or mountains; an elongated crest or a linear series of peaks or crests. The highest elevations of a divide or the top of a ridge are often used for boundaries. See DIVIDE, HYDROGRAPHIC DIVIDE and CONTINENTAL DIVIDE. 

RIGHT BANK (River) - The bank on the right-hand side of a stream or river as one faces downstream. 

RIGHT LINE - An obsolete term for "True Line" or for a straight line between corners. The term is found in Manuals of Surveying Instruction as recently as 1894. 

RIGHT OF WAY - The legal right to cross the lands of another. Also used to indicate the strip of land for a road, railroad or power line. In BLM, a permit or an easement which authorizes the use of public lands for certain specified purposes, commonly for pipe lines, roads, telephone lines or power lines. Also, the lands covered by such an easement or permit. 

RIPARIAN - From the Latin "ripa" meaning river bank. 

RIPARIAN BOUNDARIES - Water boundaries, or boundaries formed by a river, lake or the sea. The general rule is that riparian boundaries shift with changes due to accretion or erosion but retain their original location if brought about by avulsion or by artificial causes. See ACCRETION, AVULSION, RELICTION, EROSION, RIVER BED and LITTORAL. 

RIPARIAN LANDS - In strict interpretation, lands bordering on a river. The term "riparian" is also used as relating to the shore of the sea or other tidal water, or of a lake or other considerable body of water not having the character of a watercourse. 

RIPARIAN LAW - The branch of the law which deals with the rights in land bordering on a river, lake or sea. 

RIPARIAN OWNER - One who owns land having a boundary defined by a water course. Usage has broadened the term to include land along the sea or other tidal water, or along the shore of a lake or other considerable body of water. Strictly speaking, the correct term for lands bordering the sea, or other tidal water, is "littoral." See LITTORAL. 

RIPARIAN RIGHTS - The rights of an owner of land bordering on a river, lake, bayou, or sea which relate to the water (its use), ownership of the shore, right of ingress and egress, accretions, etc. 

RIPARIAN RIGHTS ENTRY - An owner of contiguous land may be permitted to make such an entry of public lands when, due to erroneous meandering of a river, lake, or other body of water, public lands are shown on the original survey plat as water-covered areas. 

ROD - One rod equals 16.5 feet or 25 links. Also termed "perch" or "pole" in older surveys. 

ROOD - A square measure equal to 1/4 acre or 40 sq. rods. The term rood was sometimes used also for a linear measure varying locally from 51/2 yd. To 8 yd.. 

RULE OF APPROXIMATION - A purely administrative expedient intended to equitably decide whether an entryman could obtain patent to more than the area provided by the Preemption and Homestead laws, still maintaining the contiguity of tract entered. Where the excess is less than the deficiency would be if the smallest legal subdivision is excluded from the entry then it is allowed to stand. (See 8 LD 205). Thus, if an entryman selects surveyed lands in excess of the statutory amount, say 175 acres, the Rule would allow him to pay for and receive the excess fifteen acres under certain conditions. The principle condition is that the excess cannot exceed the deficiency which would occur if the smallest legal subdivision were disallowed. The Rule would not be applied if the entryman had made substantial improvements to the tract disallowed and the differences were small (27 LD 78). The final selection was required to be one continuous tract after application of the Rule. If, in the sample, the selection included aliquot parts containing 40, 40.50, 65 and 29.50 acre lots totaling 175 acres, the 29.50 acre lot would be disallowed because 40 + 40.50 + 65 = 145.50 which is deficient by only 14.5 acres whereas the excess was 15 acres. The Rule does not apply to the mining laws except placer claims filed by legal subdivisions of 10 acres, (34 ID 9). It does not apply to claims in unsurveyed areas, (28 ID 149). See 43 CFR 2731.6-1 concerning acreage limitations and the application of the rule of approximation in the matter of small tracts. See DE MINIMIS NON CURAT LEX. 

RULE OF THALWEG - In river boundaries, the rule which holds that where a navigable river separates two nations, the middle of the main channel is the boundary between them, as distinguished from the geographic middle of the 
river, per Shalowitz. The rule of thalweg has also been applied to other boundaries where the boundary is described as being the "middle (or center) of the main channel" of a navigable river. See THALWEG, MEDIUM FILUM ACQUAE, GRADIENT BOUNDARY and MEDIAL LINE. 

RULE OF TIDEMARK - A baseline for determination of coastal boundaries which follows the sinuosities of the low water mark except where true bays are encountered. RULES OF PRACTICE - Certain orders made by the courts for the purpose of regulating the proceedings before them. 

RUSSIAN MEASURES - 1 archine = 28 inches = 0.71120 meters = 16 verskops. 1 sagene = 3 archines. 500 sagenes = 1 verst. 1 dessiatine = 2,400 sq. sagenes = 2.6997 acres. 

Q - R
Source:  Glossary of Cadastral Surveying Terms, 1980,  Bureau of Land Management, U. S. Department of the Interior 
                 * = consult separate BLM Glossary of Mapping Terms, not included herein.

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