Line cutting is often the first exploration work done on the claim. It involves cutting a main base line through the middle of the mining claim with a series of grid or wing lines running off of the base line at 90-degree angles. Vegetation may be cleared during line cutting.
At regular intervals along the grid or wing lines wood pickets with written coordinates will be driven into the ground.
Geologists use the picket coordinates to accurately locate features on the maps they draw. They use GPS to document some information but often still prefer control grids.
People and equipment can move more easily around an area using the grid.
The grid also provides access for geophysical surveys.
The length of the lines depends on the size of the mining claim. The width of the line is regulated by the requirements for an exploration plan or permit.