Thanks, it'll come in handy, escpecially since I know I'm going against 2 9th graders that have been in this event all 3 years and are pretty goodI would say you should, because it's an important part of PLSS, and it's not a super involved concept, so they're quick points if you ever encounter them on a test. They're basically like longitude and latitude for public surveys.
In the PLSS, each survey has a horizontal base line (analogous to the equator) and a vertical principal meridian (analogous to, well, the Prime Meridian). The rest of the survey is then split up into a rectangular grid by supplementary survey lines. Each resulting block (or township) then has a township number and a range number that designates its position in relation to the base line and principal meridian. These numbers are formatted in very similar ways:
Township: Township X (North or South), where X is the amount of rows above or below the base line. e.g. Township 7 South would designate that the township is in the seventh row south of the base line
Range: Range Y (East or West), where Y is the amount of columns east or west of the principal meridian. e.g. Range 13 East would designate that the township is in the thirteenth column east of the principal meridian.
In topographic maps, these are often shortened to three-character codes, such as T7S or R13E. They mean the exact same thing, it's just a shorter way of writing it. Also note that if a row or column touches the base line or principal meridian, then it uses a number of 1, not 0.
Here and here are a couple good sites for PLSS info. There are others too that may easily be found through your preferred search engine.
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