LEO version 7

A legal description to geographic coordinate conversion program for Kansas
Released November 2008
Developed by Glen Gagnon and Kurt Look, Computing Services, Kansas Geological Survey


In 1964, Donald Good published "Mathematical Conversion of Section, Township and Range Notation to Cartesian Coordinates." He used 126 land grid locations and an arbitrary map coordinate system to test the possibility of accurately calculating map coordinates using a computer. The computer program was written in Fortran II for an IBM 1620 computer, (Good 1964). This was the first of several applications written at the Kansas Geological Survey to convert legal land grid descriptions to geographic coordinates.

LEO was originally created by KGS employee Charles G.Ross with subsequent development by David R.Collins, Ph.D. The word LEO is a play on LEGAL to GEO, (Ross 1989). The program converts Public Land Survey System (PLSS) legal description township, range, section notation to approximate latitude/longitude geographic coordinates (and vice versa). LEO 7.0 is the latest desktop version of the application. The program is available for interested users to test and evaluate for performance and functionality. Major improvements since the previous version (LEO, 3.9) include a graphical user interface and NAD83 calculations.

System Requirements:

LEO 7.0 is a Java application that incorporates over 60 class and html files and utilizes nearly 11MB of disk storage space. A binary data file containing data points for more than 80,000 PLSS sections accounts for most of the disk space. In theory LEO 7.0 should run on any operating system that supports the Java platform. The application was developed on a Dell Dimension 4700 computer having a Pentium 4 processor, 1GB of RAM, running the Windows XP operating system. The application was written with the SUN Microsystems Java development kit. It has been tested on Pentium machines running Windows 2000, XP, Windows 7, Windows 10, Ubuntu and Cent OS operating system. The application must run using the Java SE Runtime Environment (JRE) version 1.8.0_131 or newer.

Note: To find out what version of the runtime environment your computer is using; enter java -version at the command prompt: You should see something like the following message.

C:\java -version
java version "1.8.0_131"
Java(TM) SE Runtime Environment (build 1.8.0_131-b11)
Java HotSpot(TM) 64-Bit Server VM (build 25.131-b11, mixed mode)

To download the JRE go to:


Updated Version Zip File:

Windows ZIP file LEO7-191224.zip

LEO 7 Installation Steps:

Assuming you are running Windows OS and you have ADMINISTRATIVE rights.
Note: If you are running a different OS, you might need to set the classpath to point to the class files.
The class files are in C:\Program Files\KGS_LEO7\src. On the Cent OS computer I had to point the CLASSPATH to the parent folder...\KGS_LEO7.

User Documents:

Additional Links:

The public land survey system in Kansas. Daniel R, Suchy (2002)
Download CSV file LEO7SectionCorners.csv for approximate section corners values.


For technical information, contact:

Glen Gagnon
Senior Systems Analyst/Programmer
Kansas Geological Survey
1930 Constant Ave., Campus West
Lawrence, KS 66047
phone: (785) 864-2158
email: gagnon@kgs.ku.edu or leo@kgs.ku.edu


Good, D. I., 1964, Mathematical conversion of section, township, and range notation to Cartesian coordinates: State Geological Survey of Kansas, Bulletin 170, pt. 3, 30 p. [available online]

Ross, C. G., 1989, LEO-conversion between legal and geographic reference systems in Kansas: Kansas Geological Survey, Open-file Report 89-10, 9 p.

Kansas Geological Survey, LEO software
Web questions to webadmin@kgs.ku.edu
Updated December 26, 2019
The URL for this page is http://www.kgs.ku.edu/software/LEO/index.html