Bayfield County built the parcel mapping from a grid and scale that can vary up to 200 feet from the true location. The parcel mapping is meant to get you close to the property; this is also known as “index” mapping. To know the exact location of the parcel lines, a survey is needed.
Bayfield County contracts with private survey firms and collects survey grade GPS locations on the section corners and quarter corners that can make the parcel lines more accurate when displayed on the aerial photo. This will take around 90 years to complete the project county-wide with current funding levels. But the main goal is to GPS and gain a tighter control on populated areas first.
The legal description may be poorly written and may not account for different sizes in sections. Various sources of information are used as reference (e.g., recorded documents and surveys).
Every effort is taken to utilize proper techniques and reference viable data sources when drawing map features. It should be noted that some data sources are more accurate than others, and this may explain why certain map features appear to be drawn incorrectly. Users of Bayfield County Interactive Mapping should take notice that the digital map serves as a general representation of what exists in the real world and should be used accordingly.
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Recorded Acres: The acres recorded on a deed or Certified Survey Map (CSM). It may also have been carried over from many years ago by assessors or tax lister information when exact acreage was not important.
Calculated Acres: The acres calculated from our digital parcel mapping. Parcel boundaries are not based on good control or Public Land Survey System (PLSS) such as Survey Grade GPS so there are inherent errors built from the beginning. Additional errors are created when fitting the parcels together. For example, in the Geographic Information System the acreage is calculated from the water’s edge not the meander line. In the future, mapping on an accurate control grid will reduce the differences.
Map of Survey, Plat of Survey, or Unrecorded Map: These are not filed in the Register of Deeds office and are not reviewed by the County. At times these are only concept plans. These maps and any other maps are required by law to be filed in the County Surveyor’s office. When we become aware of surveys that have not been submitted to our office, we try to acquire them. In the past the County has not had a Land Records office or County Surveyor so many of those older maps have not been submitted. The map accuracy of an unrecorded map in today’s standards should be the same as a CSM.
Certified Survey Map (CSM): These are maps that are reviewed at the County and recorded in the Register of Deeds office. When the County reviews a map we find an error 90% of the time, then send it back to the surveyor for corrections. Once recorded, the information is then forwarded to the Tax Lister to update the recorded acres in the land records system (NOVUS).
Bayfield County staff do not assist people in writing new legal descriptions for property splits and merges. The Property Lister only reads, maps, and lists abbreviated descriptions for listing purposes with limited space. What you see listed in our Novus tax database is not your full legal description. Always refer to your deed for the full legal description. We recommend talking with a land surveyor and/or attorney (title company in case of a land sale) to get a new legal description and have the proper recording done.
Check with the assessor for your municipality; see this listing of municipal assessors.
If your land has been previously surveyed by a registered land surveyor, a copy of the map should be filed in the County Surveyor’s or Land Records office and can be provided to you for printing cost (25 cents per page). You would then need to locate the monuments that were set at the property corners. If you cannot find the monuments yourself, or if your property has never been surveyed, you need to hire a registered land surveyor. To find one, view the list of registered land surveyors who frequently work in Bayfield County and are familiar with the rules and regulations of Bayfield County and the State of Wisconsin.
Visit the Wisconsin State Cartographer's Office website for more information.
Coordinate conversion can also be done online.
Call Emergency Management at 715-373-6113 or 715-373-6325 if you have any questions on the correct address that was assigned to your property in Bayfield County.
Use the address application to apply for a new address online or submit a paper form to Emergency Management.
Land Records does not map easements in GIS. Easements are only viewable in our GIS Web Map if included in a survey record, such as a map of survey or CSM. Researching recorded documents in the Register of Deeds office is where the search can be conducted; a title search can assist with this process.
This 2021 WI state statute provides information and clarification on the repair and maintenance of private roads: https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2021/related/acts/99