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PLATS.NET: Frequently Asked Questions - General

Welcome to the PLATS.NET system. Below are Frequently Asked Questions to help you use the system to its fullest advantage.

If you need help understanding what the PLATS.NET site is, check out our Beginner's Guide.

If your questions have to do with printing problems, please see the Printing FAQs.

If your questions have to do with browser related issues, please see the Browser Related Issues page.

If your questions have to do with being confused with or not understanding terminology on PLATS.NET, please see the Glossary page.

Please note that the information contained herein is intended to be strictly an informational resource. The Maryland State Archives does NOT offer or provide technical support for patron's computers, printers, software or any of the products or processes listed below, nor does the Maryland State Archives promote any particular software over another. Please refer to your computer, printer or software manufacturer's documentation or contact the manufacturer directly for technical support or operational details. The Maryland State Archives appreciates your understanding that we cannot be responsible for troubleshooting individual hardware, software, and configuration issues.

Thank you and we hope you find this page helpful.

Can I enlarge an area of the image for viewing and printing?

Yes. Most viewing software programs allow you to zoom in on a particular area of the image. Keep in mind that the resolution of the capture will be limited by the screen resolution, not the resolution of the actual image file. Please see your viewer’s help files or directions for more instruction.

If I do not have the filing number, can I search the system?

The "advanced search" feature on the main page will allow you to search the entire collection. You may enter any portion of the title of the plat in the field marked "description." You can also search by the filing date of the plat, in a 'yyyy/mm/dd' format. In either case, the search will return a list of results, from the most recent filing to the earliest. You can choose to have the results returned in a different sort order by changing the "sort order" box to an option other than the default. For example, the results can be sorted by "Date" (that is, from earliest filing to most recent), alphabetical by "Reference", or alphabetical by "Description." Please note that the default setting for the system is to show only entries that have an image associated to them. If you would like to see all results, make certain to click the "Show records with no images" box.

If I have the courts filing number, how do I quickly access the plat image?

The main search page for each of Maryland's 24 jurisdictions has a box for the book and page number or plat number assigned by the Circuit Court. Entering the citation and pushing the search button will return a table listing all records that matched the search criteria. Please note that the default setting for the system is to show only entries that have an image associated to them. If you would like to see all results, make certain to click the "Show records with no images" box. From this page, you can select the image you want to view by using the link on the far right. This returns a page with more detail about the selected plat and the link to the image file. The link from the image file will open the image within the web browser or in an associated program for viewing PDF, TIFF and JPEG images.

The quality of the image I am viewing is not acceptable. What can be done?

Please click the "Send Image Feedback" link located next to the image and fill out all required fields. This will notify the Help Desk at the Maryland State Archives. Staff there will attempt to address the issue as soon as possible.

There are plats in the system that do not link to an image. Why?

The Archives' appraisal of the Circuit Court's plat collections identified many unique items that were never transferred to the Archives. As these items come into the Archives' custody, images will be added to the system. In the meantime, these entries let you know the plats exist, even if they are not currently in the custody of the Archives.

What is incorporated in this system?

The goal of the Maryland State Archives is to capture and identify all plats that exist for each of Maryland's 24 jurisdictions. The main page lists all the primary series from which the plat images and the descriptions were compiled. These include the collections of subdivision and condominium plats as well as the collection of plats from land records. In many cases, more than one copy of a plat filing exists. The source for every image is identified. Links from the series numbers will take you to a detailed analysis of content, scope, and arrangement of that collection.

What printing options are available?

Court patrons have the option to print either 11" x 17" or large format "to scale" copies, depending on the equipment available in the clerk's office. Patrons who are accessing the PLATS.NET system from their homes or offices will need to check with their printer manufacturer to verify that the proper printer drivers are installed to print PDF, TIFF and JPEG images. The procedure for printing plats on your home or office computer is dependent on the viewing software you are using to view the plat images.

Printing FAQs


While the current system provides plat images in a PDF format as a default presentation, these PDFs have been derived from the original Group IV TIFF or JPEG. A Group IV TIFF is an industry standard format for bitonal of TIFF images. However, a small percentage of them are derived from JPEGs which were created by scanning plats in grayscale so that we could obtain the best possible image of poorer quality original records. Both TIFF and JPEG images are available to be viewed and printed by selecting the individual image links on the side of the page for a specific plat filing.

PLATS.NET requires image viewing software that supports PDF, JPEG and Group IV TIFF images. Image viewers that support all of these types generally come preinstalled on personal computers. If your computer does not have a viewer installed, you will need to obtain and install such software before being able to properly use PLATS.NET.

Some of the most common and most frequent questions we receive include:

      • Instead of getting an image, my browser shows an icon of a broken piece of film (or another icon).
      • When I click on the image link, no image opens and/or I get an error message. Why?
      • The image of the plat is very large, and I am unable to zoom in on the image, or to print the image properly. How can I fix this?

These questions can be fixed by doing the following things:

      • Check to be sure you have an image viewer capable of supporting PDF, TIFF and JPEG images. As long as they support PDF, TIFF and JPEG images, any viewer should work.
      • Make sure your file associations are set so that your system tries to open the images with the proper software/image viewer.

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