2

Starting from data I extracted from a land deed of sale from 1956 that contains bearings and distances (and incidentally, landmarks like trees and stones that I cannot see in google maps' satellite view), I would like to create shapes not associated with any particular GPS coordinates. My intent is to be able to drag it around to match parcels displayed in the map interface seen on http://tagis.dep.wv.gov/oog, which displays parcel borders.

Purpose: I want my own map that I can annotate and work with, and I want to (based on shape) match the parcels from the deed to parcels displayed on that "tagis" interface. I already (by eye on paper) constructed one of the shapes described in the deed and I clearly identified one parcel (that I already knew was ours based on GPS coordinate extracted from a digital photo), though there are clear differences that appear to have been cut out. When I attempted this with the second of 3 parcels that I don't know the location of, I could not find a matching parcel on the tagis interface. There were a lot of points in that list of bearings/distances and I can't get a sense of the comparative scale to tagis, which I'm sure I could manually address, but I thought, if there's some sort of import tool I could use, it would be a lot less labor intensive.

So my question is, is there a tool I can use to import my dataset of bearings and distances into "My Maps" on google maps as a "shape". If I need at least 1 GPS coordinate for 1 of the points, I could, with some effort, determine the GPS coordinates of one of the points shown in tagis for the one I identified (or another random position in the current view).

And also, is this possible via a web browser, or do I need to install the google earth app?

Though that also begs another question: Is there a way to export the parcel shapes (seen in the current view) from tagis? That would allow me to overlay and compare the the parcel described in the deed with whatever configuration the modern parcels currently have.

I suspect that if I lived in the area of the property in question, I could either try and find one of the described landmarks or go to the county courthouse to see if I could obtain GPs coordinates somehow. But I live a good 7 hours' drive from the parcels in question. Though if anyone knows the right question to ask of the county clerk to obtain GPS coordinates associated with the parcel, that would work too.

Ultimate goal: This is a long story, but WV allows oil and gas rights to be "severed" from the surface. My grandfather owned a 190 acre farm and he sold the surface only when he got married and moved. He and my grandmother continued to collect royalties from gas wells on the property, and when those royalties stopped in 2009, we were under the impression that the wells were simply "depleted", but after my grandmother passed away, my uncle reached out to one of the companies and in trying to get the royalty records updated at the company from my grandmother to him and my mom, he discovered that the owner they had recorded associated with a number of the wells was a person who purchased the surface somewhere along the line and somehow, he ended up being acknowledged by the company as the "OG owner" (who has passed away and the royalties appear to be going into his estate). So, we're trying to sort this all out.

2 Answers 2

3

With a bit of a learning/patience curve this is possible.

This data from (http://tagis.dep.wv.gov/oog) is an ArcGIS Feature Server and Mapserver service.

In QGIS (https://www.qgis.org/en/site/forusers/download.html)

You can the load the ArcGIS REST service with the ArcGIS REST Services (https://gis.stackexchange.com/a/304183/276) enter image description here

In QGIS you can use the Advanced Digitizing Tools to bearings/azimuth

enter image description here

For Parcels that information is available via

https://services.wvgis.wvu.edu/arcgis/rest/services/Planning_Cadastre/WV_Parcels

enter image description here

5
  • Thanks so much! I will take a look at this today.
    – hepcat72
    Commented Apr 25 at 10:39
  • So where you say "In QGIS you can use the Advanced Digitizing Tools to bearings/azimuth", you associate that with a screenshot that shows lateral wells. I'm wondering if you provided that in response to my bearings question, which maybe I wasn't clear about. The bearings and distances that I want to import are just a series of numbers I extracted from a deed of sale (a PDF document) that describe the shape of a land tract/parcel. Does QGIS have a way for me to import those numbers and represent them as a shape that I can move around on the map?
    – hepcat72
    Commented Apr 25 at 16:52
  • 1
    I would extract the data from the pdf and import it in QGIS as csv/txt gis.stackexchange.com/questions/447021/… there is also a good plugin that can import these values northrivergeographic.com/qgis-azimuth-distance-plugin
    – Mapperz
    Commented Apr 25 at 20:39
  • I was able to extract the data, although I ended up writing my own script using geopy to do the conversion and then pasting the data into a KML. I moved on to trying to export the parcel data of roughly 6 parcels. It seems like the data should be available, but I cannot find it. Using the link you supplied, there's a way to get to a page that has a "generate KML" tool, but there are 0 parcels associated & if I try to import the kmz it generates into google maps, it gives me an error. It looks like I could pay for a regrid.com account & maybe export them, but that just seems like overkill?
    – hepcat72
    Commented Apr 30 at 21:57
  • So I had installed QGIS on this work computer of mine and I just fired it up to see if I could get at that parcel data, and Holy cow, is it hard to work with. I figured out how to connect to the REST API for the parcels (THANKS!), but I can't move the map to the parcels I want. If I zoom out too far to get my bearings, the map just freezes up. Other things work, but the map area is just blank. So I tried just exporting the entire parcel layer. It didn't give me a KML option at first, but on subsequent attempts, it showed up. Then the file browser was confusing, but it's going now... slowly.
    – hepcat72
    Commented Apr 30 at 23:08
2

@Mapperz answer was extremely helpful. I'm not sure I would have accomplished my task without their help (at least, not in a reasonable time), but to be specific to my exact goal, I thought I would add a complementary answer.

To reiterate, my goal was to:

  1. be able to both convert bearings and distances in my grandfather's deed into a shape that I could move around on a google "My Maps" map, and
  2. export the official WV parcel boundaries from tagis and import them into a google "My Maps" map (so I could overlay the parcels described in the deed with the official parcels in order to accurately identify their location).

Note, I already had GPS coordinates from a photo taken on the property, so I knew where one of the parcels was, and according to family members, the parcels were all contiguous. I also wanted to share these maps with elderly family and friends involved in this effort, and I figured google maps was the lowest bar.

Converting an old deed's bearings and distances into a shape that could be imported into a google "my map"

I took the following steps (described at a somewhat high level, i.e. my intention here is not to describe every step in detail, but just map out in a bit more detail than Mapperz went into, as to what I did):

  1. I had already created a google my map and had eyed the parcel shapes using the satellite view, but for what I ended up doing, all you need to do is create a shape that you can export and edit
  2. Export the layer or whole map from google maps as kml (make sure you check the box that indicates you want kml, not kmz)
  3. I ended up writing a python script using geopy to convert the bearings and distances into a format I could use to paste into a kml file (which at some point, I will publish on github), but to describe the basics, you need to know a bit about bearings and distances in these old deeds:
    • What is a bearing?
      • Example: south 22º 19' 11" east
        • south is the relative 0º angle starting point. This needs to be converted to be relative to north, so in this case it is 180º.
        • 22º is the degrees (out of 90) from south. This must be added to (or subtracted from) the degrees (no conversion necessary).
        • 19' is the "minutes" describing a fraction of 1º. This must be converted to a decimal value by dividing by 60 and be added to (or subtracted from) the degrees.
        • 11" is the "seconds" describing an even smaller fractions of 1º. This must be converted to a decimal value, by dividing by 3600, and added to (or subtracted from) the degrees as well.
        • east is the direction from south the angle describes. The standard degrees go eastward from north (i.e. clockwise), so to go eastward from south (which is counter-clockwise), we must subtract the result from the degrees (in this case, 180º), resulting in: 180-22+19/60+11/3600 = 158.3197222222º.
    • Distances (What is a "pole"?)
      • The distances in my grandfather's deed were referenced (in different places) as either "poles" or "rods". I learned that 1 pole (aka rod) is equal to 16.5 feet, which is the length of a surveyor's chain. (The reason for the odd unit of measure is that it is an even multiple of an acre.)
    • I won't get into the particulars of the script I wrote other than to say that you need a starting GPS coordinate (which I had based on the photo) and that geopy has a method to calculate a bearing's endpoint as a GPS coordinate.
  4. Once I had all my GPS coordinates output from the script for the shape, I just manually pasted them into the kml file I'd previously exported and then imported the kml back into my google my map.

Note that I had to make a minor adjustment to the last output coordinate, because the last endpoint should have been the same as the starting point, but given the inaccuracies of manual measurements, it was slightly off. The jag that had appeared in my map confused me at first, but I realized that all I needed to do was delete the last point because google automatically makes the last connection.

Exporting the official tagis parcels

When I first started following Mapperz's answer, the QGIS installation was taking forever, so I started seeing if I could manually retrieve the tagis parcel data. The URL he'd given, if you went to it in a browser, resulted in a 400 error, but I found out that if you just append MapServer to the end, you could browse the interface. That page had a "generateKML" link that I tried every which way to make it give me the parcels in a KML download, but I couldn't figure out. I even explored other sites that had the save WV parcel data (like regrid.com, which sold parcel data at 15¢ a parcel), but eventually the QGIS install succeeded and the next time I was at my computer, I managed to get a KML file I could work with.

I had lots of problems with QGIS. I was able to zoom in and wait for it to start rendering parcels. I needed to zoom out to get my bearings, but every time I tried, the map would stop rendering and never come back. I even tried installing a plugin called "Lat Lon Tools" in order to jump to my coordinates, but I never got it to work. After forcing QGIS to quit a dozen times and an hour of fussing with it, I eventually decided to export every single parcel in the state into 1 big kml file. It took forever and the file size ended up being 3.56 gigs, but once I had the file, I could start querying it on the command line.

Here is the process I used to get and export the official WV parcel data:

  1. Add the tagis parcels to QGIS:
    1. Add an ArcGIS REST Server Layer: enter image description here
    2. Enter the URL: enter image description here
  2. Export the "WVParcels":
    1. Select Export->Save Feature as...: enter image description here
    2. Select Format "Keyhole Markup Language": enter image description here
    3. Click the "..." button to the right of "File name" and select an export file/directory and enter a file name. (Note, this does not default to the current directory, which I found out after some confusing errors): enter image description here

Once I had a kml file, I needed to isolate just the handful of parcels I wanted. Luckily, I learned from the regrid.com interface that regrid provided essential metadata I could use to grep the huge kml file, namely, the "Parcel ID", which the exported kml had annotated as <SimpleData name="CleanParcelID">, so all I had to do was get the parcel IDs from regrid and issue the following command for each parcel I wanted (replacing 00000000000000000000 with the parcel ID):

grep -B 8 -A 14 "00000000000000000000" /Users/rleach/Temporary/wvparcels.kml

I then manually constructed a new kml file using my google maps kml export as a template and then import the resulting file into my google my map.

Epilogue

Using the resulting google my map, I noted significant differences in the parcels described in the deed compared to the parcels defined by tagis. The most significant difference is that one of the gas wells appears to fall into the parcel described in the deed, but that parcel according to tagis does not include that well. It is inside a different parcel and the mineral rights owner is different. I don't know if the difference is due to a mistake in the deed or a mistake in tagis, but either way, the results of this effort clearly define the next step in our effort to regain royalties. 3 of the wells are indisputably on land to which my mother and uncle own the OG rights.

Interesting addendum: though I'm not 100% certain (and I need to verify this), wells close to the border between parcels (though not located on "your" land) only owe you royalties if the parcel size (in which the well is located) is under the requisite acreage described in the gas company's well survey. I.e. they estimate the acreage the gas effectively covers and if that is larger than the parcel the well is located on (regardless of the position of the well on the parcel), then the survey shows what percentage of royalties go to which neighbors. Nearby OG owner parcels do not get any royalties, even if the well is right by the parcel border if the parcel size is larger than the requisite acreage on the well survey. It doesn't matter if the gas is mostly under your property or not.

3
  • Good round-up glad you worked it out on the GIS data side. Though with anything regarding royalties/legal land ownership seek professional advice.
    – Mapperz
    Commented May 8 at 18:02
  • 1
    Lawyers and land services professionals are already involved. I'd already had a meeting with both before I posted. Their recommendation is what I am acting on here: calculate the potential recovery so that a lawyer can be retained on contingency. Without that, you'll likely pay hourly. Thus, I needed to accurately identify the wells involved so I could calculate recovery based on the public production data.
    – hepcat72
    Commented May 8 at 19:40
  • 1
    github.com/hepcat72/bearingstoGPS
    – hepcat72
    Commented May 11 at 17:58

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.