Monthly Archives: May 2015

Call for participation in Wisconsin Historic Landscape Project

Are you interested in the landscape and vegetation of Wisconsin prior to European settlement? Do you need access to historic Public Land Survey System (PLSS) data? Are you curious about historic applications of Geographic Information Systems? Would historic data and maps assist you with planning or implementing land management practices?

If so, register to attend a community forum to discuss the Wisconsin Historic Landscape database.

Your participation will help improve our understanding of the needs, products, and usability needed to facilitate further use of this database. All forums are free and open to the public.

More information and forum registration:

Printable version of flyer:

Project Background

The Wisconsin Historic Landscape database was developed by the UW-Madison Forest Ecosystem and Landscape Ecology Lab ( from the notes of General Land Office (GLO) surveyors. From the 1830s to the 1860s, government surveyors walked the land that would become the State of Wisconsin, systematically establishing survey markers and documenting “witness” or bearing trees that would help identify boundaries. They recorded nearly a half million trees across the state – and indicated the species, size and distance from the survey marker.

With the assistance of team members, David Mladenoff – Director of the Forest Ecosystem and Landscape Ecology Lab — computerized all of the tree data and the notes recorded within these notebooks ( The data have also been shared so that other types of maps could be created.

The goal of the Wisconsin Historic Landscape Community Forum Project is to gain a better understanding of the user community and identify users’ needs, so that the database can be made more accessible and useful to interested citizens, community organizations, individual landowners, government agencies, land information professionals, educators, and others.

The project is funded by the Ira and Ineva Reilly Baldwin Wisconsin Idea Endowment (, a competitive grant program designed to foster public engagement and advance the Wisconsin Idea ( Project partners are the UW-Madison Forest Ecosystem and Landscape Ecology Lab, the State Cartographer’s Office, and UW Digital Collections Center.

If you have questions please see the project contact page at