MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - Two and a half centuries after men braved the trackless wilderness to map Vermont, using tools as simple as long chains to measure out towns and lots, their work is going online to help lawyers, landowners and historians.

Those early surveyors had to climb mountains, ford rivers and slog through swamps as they divided the land into 251 towns and then apportioned the towns into lots.

But their maps and lotting plans remain valuable frames of reference for 21st century real estate deals.

Many have disappeared or been hidden away in dusty vaults in town clerk's offices. But now the Vermont State Archives is using digital technology to make copies of the maps accessible over the Internet so landowners, lawyers, surveyors and historians can use them to analyze colonial-era roads, boundary lines and titles.