The Great Seal of Maryland

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

  1.  What is incorporated in this system?
  2.  Is this system available over the Internet?
  3.  If I have the court's filing number, how do I quickly access the plat image?
  4.  If I do not have the filing number, can I search the system?
  5.  What printing options are available?
  6.  Can I enlarge an area of the image for viewing and printing?
  7.  The quality of the image I am viewing is not acceptable. What can be done?
  8. There are plats in the system that do not link to an image. Why?
  9. Instead of getting an image, my browser shows an icon of a broken piece of film. What is this?
  10. When I click on the image link, no image opens and/or I get an error message. Why?
  11. When I view the plat image, the background color is a light yellow. How can I fix this?
  12. I am an America Online™ user. How should I configure my system in order to view plats online?
  13. I have upgraded to Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0, and now I am experiencing problems in downloading plat images. Why?
  14. 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?
  15. I am prompted for another user name and password, or am asked for authentication when I try to view a plat. This happens even after I've entered the user name and password. What should I do?
  16. I have upgraded to Netscape 7.0 as my web browser, and now I am experiencing problems in printing or viewing plats online. What should I do?
  17. Is plats.net compatible with XP?

What is incorporated in this system?

The goal of the Maryland State Archives' Geographical Services program is to capture and identify all plats that exist for Montgomery County. Future enhancements will include plats recorded in agencies other than the County Circuit Court and selected historical maps from the Archives.

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 identifed. Links from the series numbers will take you to a detailed analysis of content, scope, and arrangement of that collection.


If I have the court's filing number, how do I quickly access the plat image?

The main search page for the system has a box for the book and page number, or plat number, as assigned by the County Circuit Court. Entering the citation and pushing the search button will return a table listing all records that matched the search criteria. 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 tiff and jpeg images.


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." Searches are also allowed against the filing date of the plat, in 'yyyy/mm/dd' format. In either case, the search will return a list of results in small, 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 returned by "Date" (that is, from earliest filing to most recent), alphabetical by "Reference", or alphabetical by "Description."


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 insure that the proper printer drivers are installed to print 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.


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. If you are using Kodak Imaging software, you can use the imaging toolbar to zoom in on a particular lot or area of the plat.  Zoom in on the portion of the plat that you would like to print.  Keep in mind that the resolution of the capture will be limited by the screen resolution, not the resolution of the actual image file.

On any PC, using Kodak Imaging, you can use the following method to print only an enlarged portion of a plat:

  1. Zoom in on a particular lot or area of the plat.
  2. Hold down both the "alt" and the "print screen" keys.
  3. Go to the Start button and open Word Pad under "Programs--Accessories."
  4. Now, press both the "shift" and the "insert" keys.  The screen capture will appear in the Word Pad window.
  5. You can print the image from the Word Pad file. The quality of the image will be limited by the screen and printer resolution.

The PLATO workstations at the courthouse have a customized image-viewing software installed on them. This software, designed by TMS Sequoia, is called Prizm Plug-in 4.2. To download a demo of the Prizm software, go to http://www.tmsinc.com/products/prodappwbv_prizm_plug_in.html. A help page for this software is available at http://www.tmsinc.com/prizmcorporate/windocs/4.2/menu-p2.htm.

In the courthouse, you can select a portion of a page for printing by "marking a selction." To activate Mark a Selection, click either the "Mark Selection" toolbar button. Once Mark a Selection is activated, use the left mouse button to click and drag a rectangle around the area of the image you wish to select. When you release the mouse button, the selected area remains highlighted. To print your selection, click the "Print" toolbar button. When the print dialog box appears, click the radio button for "Selection" under "Print Range."


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

Please use the link at the bottom of the page to send an email to the Geographic Services department at the Archives. Staff there will attempt to capture the image as a direct scan. The new image generally will be available on the system within 24 hours.


Is this system available over the Internet?

Yes. The World Wide Web address from your home or office is www.plats.net. The website requires the use of a username and password. Access can be granted with the username: plato and the password: plato#

The system over the Internet is identical to the system installed in the courthouse.


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, they will be added to the system. In the meantime, these entries provide index access to the materials. Some series, such as patents, are scheduled to be added at a later date, after the basic system is available in all 24 jurisdictions.



Instead of getting an image, my browser shows an icon of a broken piece of film. What is this?

The Archives designed the Plats.net System to deliver Group IV TIFF images of plats over the Internet. Group IV is a standard type of TIFF image. A free viewer that is installed with the full version of Windows 95/98 is located in your c:\windows directory (either Kodak Imaging or Wang Imaging depending on the version of Windows that you are running). This program is a generic TIFF viewer that will support the Group IV files that we deliver in the system.

The problem causing the broken piece of film icon results from a conflict with Apple's Quicktime version 4 installed on your computer. This installation changes the file associations in your web browser for TIFFs to the Quicktime software. Unfortunately, Quicktime 4 does not support Group IV TIFF images. To correct the problem, you need to change the associations for TIFF images back to the standard imaging program (or any image viewer that you may have that supports Group IV TIFF images). Instructions on how to modify Quicktime's associations can be found at Apple's website:

http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=20792

This document will provide step-by-step instructions for removing the Quicktime association with Group IV Tiff images. After completing the steps, shut down the browser. The next time you download a plat from our PLATO system, you should be asked which viewer you wish to use for TIFF images. Select a viewer that supports Group IV images. This should resolve the problem.


When I click on the image link, no image opens and/or I get an error message. Why?

The problem you are experiencing relates to software association. The Archives designed the Plats.net System to deliver Group IV TIFF images of plats over the Internet. Group IV is a standard type of TIFF image. A free viewer that is installed with the full version of Windows 95/98 is located in your c:\windows directory (either Kodak Imaging or Wang Imaging depending on the version of Windows that you are running). This program is a generic TIFF viewer that will support the Group IV files that we deliver in the system.

In order to make sure that your software is associated with Kodak Imaging, follow the instructions below.

  1. Go to the start button and select "Find" then "Files or Folders."
  2. In the "Name" location type "*.tif."
  3. In "Look in:" choose the location you want to search.
  4. At the bottom a list of files will appear.
  5. Left click the mouse once to highlight the file. Hold down the shift key, right click the mouse and choose "Open with."
  6. Select "Kodakimg," check the box at the lower left and click "OK."
  7. Your image should now be associated with Kodak Imaging.

In the courthouses and at the Hall of Records, the Archives uses a customized image-viewing software designed by TMS Sequoia called Prizm Plug-in 4.2. To download a demo of the Prizm software, go to http://www.tmsinc.com/products/prodappwbv_prizm_plug_in.html To purchase the Prizm software, go to http://www.tmsinc.com/department.asp?dept_id=1. A help page for this software is available at http://www.tmsinc.com/prizmcorporate/windocs/4.2/menu-p2.htm.

For more information on viewing images online, please visit How to View Tif & Max Files on the Maryland State Archives website.


When I view the plat image, the background color is a light yellow. How can I fix this?

If the plat image background is a light yellow, then the color management option is enabled. In order to view the plat with a white background, you will need to disable color management by following the instructions below.

  1. Once you've opened the plat image, go to the "File" menu on the toolbar.
  2. Under "File" menu, select "Color Management."
  3. The box for "Enable Color Management" should not be checked. If it is, simply click inside the box to clear it.
  4. Click "OK" to exit the "Color Management" menu.

I am an America Online™ user. How should I configure my system in order to view plats online?

  1. Load the newest version of Internet Explorer (5.0 or 5.5) or Netscape Navigator.
  2. Start AOL.
  3. Minimize the AOL window.
  4. Start and then use Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator.
  5. You should now be able to use PLATO through your AOL connection.

I have upgraded to Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0, and now I am experiencing problems in downloading plat images. Why?

The Microsoft Internet Explorer Support page at http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;Q303401 states that "Netscape-style plug-ins do not work after you upgrade Internet Explorer" and that the upgrade was designed in this way.

One work-around for this is to right-click on the image link and save it to your local drive. You can then open the image directly from your Kodak Imaging program on your pc.

In the courthouses and at the Hall of Records, the Archives uses a customized image-viewing software designed by TMS Sequoia called Prizm Plug-in 4.2. A help page for this software is available at http://www.tmsinc.com/prizmcorporate/windocs/4.2/menu-p2.htm. To download a demo of the Prizm software, go to http://www.tmsinc.com/products/prodappwbv_prizm_plug_in.html. To purchase the Prizm software, go to http://www.tmsinc.com/department.asp?dept_id=1.


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?

The majority of the plat images on Plats.net are bitonal tiff images. However, a small percentage of the plats require scanning in grayscale so that we can obtain the best possible image of poorer quality original records. These grayscale images are posted on the system as jpeg image files or tiff image files saved with a jpeg compression.

The Microsoft Internet Explorer Support page at http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;Q303401 states that "Netscape-style plug-ins do not work after you upgrade Internet Explorer" and that the upgrade was designed in this way. When working in tandem, Microsoft Internet Explorer and Kodak Imaging bring third party files, such as jpeg images, directly into the browser, rather than opening them in Kodak Imaging. For this reason, users are unable to access the features of Kodak Imaging, such as zooming and printing the image.

In the courthouses and at the Hall of Records, the Archives uses a customized image-viewing software designed by TMS Sequoia called Prizm Plug-in 4.2. To download a demo of the Prizm software, go to http://www.tmsinc.com/products/prodappwbv_prizm_plug_in.html. To purchase the Prizm software, go to http://www.tmsinc.com/department.asp?dept_id=1. A help page for this software is available at http://www.tmsinc.com/prizmcorporate/windocs/4.2/menu-p2.htm.

For more information on viewing images online, please visit How to View Tif & Max Files on the Maryland State Archives website.


I am prompted for another user name and password, or am asked for authentication when I try to view a plat. This happens even after I've entered the user name and password. What should I do?

For Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 and earlier versions, go to Tools --> Internet Options --> Advanced. Scroll to the bottom under Security. You will see a check box for "Enable Integrated Windows Authentication." This setting might need to be changed. Internet Explorer will try to use whatever login it has used before, meaning that it will automatically populate an incorrect password for plats.net. Try disabling this option if it is checked. This should correct the problem. Please note that this may affect other settings on your PC.


I have upgraded to Netscape 7.0 as my web browser, and now I am experiencing problems in printing or viewing plats onlie. What should I do?

The Archives has not yet tested plats.net compatibility with Netscape versions higher than 4.x. There is a work-around you can use when viewing plats online using Netscape 7.0 as your web browser. Right click on the image link and then choose "open link in new tab" or "open link in new window." This will cause the tif mime type to be sent properly to the helper application.


Is plats.net compatible with XP?

The Archives has not yet tested plats.net compatibility with XP. Windows 98 is recommended for use with plats.net.

 

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