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Beginner's Guide to PLATS.NET

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PLATS.NET is a system developed by the Maryland State Archives, the Administrative Office of the Courts and Maryland Circuit Court Clerks to preserve and make accessible all plats filed with the Land Office and the Circuit Courts of Maryland.

Plats are cartography relating to land ownership. They represent in graphic and pictorial terms the boundaries, or metes and bounds, of properties as described in deeds. As such, plats are crucial to understanding and documenting the conveyance of land title in Maryland. Attorneys, realtors, surveyors, title searchers, and private citizens need to consult plats recorded in the Circuit Courts when researching property boundaries and land conveyances.

Beginning in 1945 copies of subdivision plats recorded with the Circuit Courts were filed with the Land Office. In 1965, the Hall of Records, now called the State Archives, assumed the functions and responsibilities of the Land Office, including the preservation and storage of the state copies of plats. The Archives began microfilming these documents and providing aperture cards (plats on microfiche) to most jurisdictions in 1993. During this process, the Archives recognized the need for a more comprehensive appraisal and accessibility of all plats. By 1997 the Archives, Administrative Office of the Courts, and Circuit Court Clerks had determined that an online system for plats reference and retrieval could meet this need.