In recognition of National Surveyors Week (March 20-29), it is my honor to share some of the unique and valuable service that NOS's National Geodetic Survey provides to our geospatially enabled world. NGS creates the nationally consistent system of latitude, longitude, and heights, called the National Spatial Reference System (NSRS), which underpins and helps to align geospatial data. As our nation embarks on historic investments in infrastructure across the country, you’ll find surveyors on site using the NSRS and modern, high-accuracy surveying equipment before, during, and after construction and providing critical information and mapping products throughout the process.
NGS is currently working to modernize the NSRS. Each year, during National Surveyors Week, we coordinate with our partners to highlight the importance of being prepared to reap the benefits of the modernized system. Here’s a shoutout to our partners across the National Estuarine Research Reserve System, who are working this year to gather data and get the word out about how more accurate elevation data and the modernized NSRS will help us be better stewards of coastal resources in the face of rising seas.
Partners like the reserve system play a critical role in helping NGS effectively meet our mission. We currently partner with many state departments of transportation; other federal, state, and local government agencies; universities; and private sector firms. More than 150 of these types of partners contribute data to the NOAA Continuously Operating Reference Station Network, the geodetic observing system that provides access to the NSRS. In 2021 alone, more than 420 of these partners participated in our crowd-sourced data collection campaign, GPS on Bench Marks, collecting and contributing over 92,000 hours of GPS observations on 10,420 geodetic survey marks across the country.
Each decennial census since 1960, NGS has partnered with the U.S Census Bureau to establish a geodetic control mark at or near the center of population, which for the 2020 Census, falls in the aptly named Hartville, Missouri. In the fall of 2022, the Census Bureau, NGS, and the city of Hartville will unveil a functional commemorative survey mark, honoring the city’s distinction as the “heart” of the country, and connecting us all to Hartville through the invisible infrastructure of the NSRS.