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National Geodetic Survey

National Society of Professional Surveyors

Hundreds Around Nation Participate in First-Ever Simultaneous Nationwide GPS Survey

March 23, 2011
kids learning how to use GPS

'Surveying USA Day' activities in Colorado on March 19.

a benchmark

For over 200 years, NGS and its predecessor agencies have collaborated with public and private organizations to establish reference stations at precisely-determined locations. Traditionally, these locations have been identified by setting a survey mark, usually a brass, bronze, or aluminum disk.

On March 19, at exactly 1:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, the National Geodetic Survey (NGS) joined hundreds of surveyors from all around the United States in the first-ever Surveying USA Day, the kick-off event commemorating Surveyor's Week. This nationwide event was coordinated by the National Society of Professional Surveyors. It provides an opportunity for professional, government, and independent surveyors to collect GPS data simultaneously from various different methods, including handheld GPS devices, as well as more sophisticated surveying equipment.

As a result of this event, NGS expects a large influx of data submitted to the Online Positioning User Service (OPUS)—a new database tool that allows surveyors, engineers, and other users to share their survey results.

OPUS serves as a direct conduit to the National Spatial Reference System (NSRS), the coordinate system maintained by NGS that defines latitude, longitude, height, scale, gravity, and orientation throughout the U.S. The NSRS provides the foundation for mapping and charting; state boundaries; transportation, communication, and land-records systems; and numerous scientific and engineering applications. The system is estimated to provide more than $2.4 billion in annual benefits to the U.S. economy.

Surveying USA will give the public an opportunity to observe local surveyors in action and to learn more about the importance of NOAA's National Spatial Reference System in surveying, mapping, engineering, and a wide range of local decision-making activities.