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Researching Tract Maps in Los Angeles PDF Print E-mail
Written by PreserveLA Editor   
Saturday, 01 November 2003

So you have all this information about your property - the assessors parcel number, the legal description, even the price for which it was last sold - but what can you do with it? The Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering maintains an enormous quantity of paper records - including maps, designs, and architectural drawings - for a wide variety of resources. Most relate to projects undertaken by the Los Angeles Department of Public Works, others (such as tract maps) are copies of records held by the County of Los Angeles. In all, the Bureau's collections consist of around three million separate items.

Over the past few years, the Bureau of Engineering has made a concerted effort to place these records online for the benefit citizens, developers, engineers, historians and many others. The process of scanning documents and placing them online is ongoing. Yet, many of these records are already available through the Bureau of Engineering's website in their "Electronic Vault", a searchable online database of the Bureau's scanned documents and images.

How to find Tract Maps:

Other online resources provided by the County of Los Angeles Tax Assessor and maintained by the City of Los Angeles Departments of Planning, Public Works, and Information Technology are great resources for learning more about a specific property or parcel of land. In order to search for tract maps, you will need several pieces of information obtainable from these resources. They include:

  • The legal description for the property you are researching, including the tract name or number, and the property's lot and block number. This information should be available from any of the above mentioned resources.
  • The reference citation for the original development tract. The full citation includes the number of the Map Book (or Misc Record - yes, it does make a difference) and the page numbers for the property you are researching. The easiest way to find this information is by looking at the parcel map for your property, which is available from the Los Angeles County Tax Assessor. The reference citation is typically provided on the parcel map as an abbreviation found just below the tract name or number (i.e. "M.B. XXXX-XX-XX"). The first number listed is the book number, and the second two numbers are the page or range of pages referenced.

With this information in hand, you are ready to use the Bureau of Engineering's Electronic Vault, located at:


The Electronic Vault contains project related plans and documents, recent infrastructure information, cadastral maps, and a variety of public works survey data. All of this information is searchable from the vault's index page.

To search for tract maps:

  1. Click the "View Plan" button next to item #1 on the index page.
  2. In the "Search for plan with" drop-down select "MB" if your citation is for a map book, or "MR" for a miscellaneous record.
  3. Type the map book number or misc. record number in the "Enter Plan No." field.
  4. Press "Go".

The results of your search are displayed on the next page, listed by page number. To view the desired map, scroll to the page number(s) and click the "View" button. Depending on your browser, you will be provided an option to view or download a TIFF formated image of your tract map.

Last Updated ( Sunday, 22 October 2006 )