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WhiteStar Blog

Texas Abstract Facts

Mike Schiewe

The WhiteStar data development team is quite rightly proud of the quality of the Original Texas Land Survey data they have built and maintained in Texas. It is interesting to step back for a moment to see just how vast the data actually are. Here are a few facts and figures collected by our VP of Operations Mike Schiewe.

Blocks - 10,790 - Large “container polygons” consisting of multiple “sections” of land. Each “section” generally corresponds to one abstract polygon. There is a bit of a bleedover in terminology from the public land survey states when we refer to “sections” in Texas. In reality, a section is just another type of survey.

Abstracts - 309,195. These land units are the basic building block polygons of the Texas Land Survey. Each one of them typically has a unique abstract number within each of the 254 Texas counties.

Surveys - 293,596 - A polygon having a common survey name consisting of one or more abstracts.

Overlapping Abstracts within Abstract 6
Rusk County, TX

Overlapping Blocks (10,790), Overlapping Abstracts (12,113), and Overlapping Surveys (11,272) - Unlike those multiple choice tests you took in yesteryear, it is possible in Texas to have more than one possible answer. In this case, overlapping (senior and junior) blocks occupying the same patch of ground. A senior survey (performed first) is created at an early point in history and later a junior conflicting survey also gets created. This was not an infrequent occurrence in the chaos of the early history of Texas.


WhiteStar offers a unique, unrelated feature class of surveying polygons in Texas. Subdivisions, lots and tracts were an independent surveying system developed in the 1920s to describe and sell land prospects to northern investors. Our GIS data contain 1,063 subdivisions, 74,747 tracts and 175,569 lots found nowhere else, not to mention 262 overlapping lots.

Summary of Texas Land Grid Polygons

abstracts - 309,195

overlapping abstracts - 12,113

blocks - 10,790

overlapping blocks - 1,376

lots - 175,569

overlapping lots - 262

subdivisions - 1,063

surveys - 293,596

overlapping surveys - 11,272

tracts - 74,747

Total: 889,983