Frequently Asked Questions

The TractBuilder Tools for ArcGIS

Do the TractBuilder Tools create graphics or must you use a TractBuilder feature class?
Neither. The TractBuilder Tools were designed to streamline the edit process by working in a “Standard Edit Session”, meaning that any layer type (shapefiles, geodatabases, etc.) that you can edit with ArcMap, you can use the TractBuilder Tools on, no conversion necessary. If you would like the tools to produce graphics there are ways within ArcMap do so very easily.

Which editions of ArcMap are the TractBuilder Tools compatible with?
The TractBuilder Tools for ArcGIS work with ArcView, ArcEditor, and ArcInfo; versions 9.3 and above.

Which parts of the county will the TractBuilder Tools work in?
The TractBuilder Tools are able to draw features anywhere in the world! We have included all units of measure we could find in use in the United States, including feet, meters, arpents, links, varas, and more!

How small or large of a feature can the TractBuilder Tools create?
We put no limitations within our software to restrict users from creating as small, or large, of a feature they need. You can click “NE4” to your hearts content, or maps a 25,000 acre (or larger) tract if you desire.

A feature is more than a shape, it is a shape with attributes. What is the easiest way to add attributes to the features I am creating?
The TractBuilder Tools include a tab labeled “Attributes”, on this tab users can easily add values for the attributes of the feature they are creating. This means that with a single tool you can create a shape, and add attributes to it, completing your feature in the most efficient manner possible.

Some of your competitors like to talk about have twenty, seventy, or even more tools for creating features, why do you have so few?
At TractBuilder we believe in innovation, honesty, and efficiency. Many companies simply repackage tools that are already part of ArcMap, such as copying a feature, manipulating vertices, and measuring distances. Our tools are unique and feature-rich, often times our competitors have several tools to do the all the jobs that one of our tools can do.

How do I get started after I install the TractBuilder Tools?
Once installed a PDF file is place under Start >> All Programs >> TractBuilder with step by step instructions on every function of the tools.


The TractBuilder Metes & Bounds Tool

Many of the legal descriptions I work with include curve calls, is the TractBuilder Metes & Bounds Tool able to map those?
Yes! The TractBuilder Metes & Bounds Tool allows users to enter direction/bearing calls, lat/lon coordinates, and different types of curve calls, including one with deltas, chords, arc lengths, tangents, and forward tangents.

What is the fastest way to draw a metes and bounds polygon?
Using the TractBuilder Metes & Bounds Tool a user can easily set their starting position, and convert a text legal description into calls. Then using the manual entry a user can modify the result as needed, many times no modification is needed!

Many of the polygons in our datasets do not have accompanying metes and bounds descriptions on file. Is there a way to get the metes and bounds of those polygons?
Yes there is. The TractBuilder Metes & Bounds Tool can extract the calls of existing features, whether they were created with our tools or not. You can easy select your feature, choose the starting position, get your description, including simple curve calls.

When working over large areas or on tracts of land that have a significant difference in elevation between two calls the grid-to-ground conversion may not be accurate. How do the TractBuilder Tools account for this?
This is true, and exactly the reason why the TractBuilder Metes & Bounds Tool allows you to set a “Distance Scale Factor” and a “North Angle Offset” for each call within a feature. By default this is set to “1” and “0” respectively, since many people do not take this factor into consideration while mapping. You can apply settings to a single call or to the entire feature.

Sometimes I have to map lines according to metes and bounds descriptions. Can I use the TractBuilder Metes & Bounds Tool to do this?
Absolutely! The TractBuilder Tools have the ability to recognize the type of feature class you are using, so the workflow does not change between creating a polygon and creating a polyline.


The TractBuilder Quartering Tool

Ideally sections are perfect squares that are exactly 640 square acres, but this is rarely the case. How does the TractBuilder Quartering Tool handle irregular sections and other features?
First, since the Quartering Tools was designed for sections, and we know that not all sections are created equal, we have made provision in the software to account for irregularities, such as a “chunk” missing from a section or the section being elongated or “squished”. Because of the flexibility we deigned the tool to have, the Quartering Tool takes these issues “in stride” and, many times without any workflow changes, users can successfully quarter less-than-perfect sections, parcels, and other basemap data. Secondly, we have added a “Cut Mode” feature, which will allow you to quarter based on BLM guidelines for irregular sections. While few sections are “perfect”, most sections do not require specifying a cut mode.

Many of the PLSS descriptions I have to map have a less and except statement in them. How do the TractBuilder Tools account for this?
The TractBuilder Quartering Tool makes this easy, by clicking the “Less” button you can continue entering your PLSS description, with the tool removing the specified acreage; such as, “The northwest quarter less and except the northwest quarter of the northwest quarter.” And with the “And” button you can do the exact opposite, allowing you to create multi-part features; such as, “The northwest quarter of the northwest quarter and the north 3 acres of the south half of the southwest quarter of the northwest quarter.”

I work with many descriptions that are not simple halves or quarters; such as “The south ten feet” or “the west 18 acres of the south half.” How do the TractBuilder Tools account for this?
You can enter such descriptions easily! By selecting you feature and entering your call (direction, distance, and unit) you can specify as unique a feature as you need.

I have seen several descriptions, especially in west Texas, where the deed or lease calls for “The Northwest Half”. Wouldn’t this make a triangle?
Because of the “diamond shaped” surveys in west Texas, diagonal calls are a necessity to be able to map. With the click of a button users can easily specify these types of calls. And even outside of Texas these types of calls have been used to describe land.