Earth Point is a web site that offers a variety of mapping services, all of which will display map coordinates on Google Earth. Genealogists will be interested in the ability to display townships and ranges on Google Earth.
The BLM Township, Range, and Section service displays townships, sections, and even quarter-quarter sections if you zoom in close enough (most, but not all areas have quarter-quarter sections mapped). It also calculates area, centroid, and corner points. You must zoom into the central or western United States to see the data.
States with complete BLM coverage:In addition, Earth Point can convert Township, Range, and Section into latitude and longitude or it can convert latitude and longitude into Township and Section.
Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming
States with limited BLM coverage:
Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota (central and western portions are covered), Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota (western part is covered)
Finally, if you have a long list of locations, Earth Point can import a spreadsheet of lat/long coordinates to Google Earth. The conversion can even add pop-up balloons, icons, and paths directly from the spreadsheet data.
Earth Point provides some features free of charge but then requires payment for more sophisticated features. I found the list of what is free versus what is available only for payment to be rather confusing. The site's help files describe the differences this way:
A subscription is best for those utilities that display a grid on Google Earth, such as Township and Range, Texas Land Survey, and the Coordinant Grids. Without a subscription, these utilities display a pop-up message every ten minutes, asking you to purchase a subscription. After one day, the grid is deactivated, but continues to display pop-up messages. At this point, the user should remove the grid from Google Earth.You can see for yourself and try some of the conversions at http://earthpoint.us.
No subscription is needed for the one-time lookups, such as the Township and Range "Fly To" buttons, or the single Coordinate Conversions.
My thanks to newsletter reader Rae Williams for telling me about Earth Point.