NGS Geodetic Survey Marker


The National Geodetic Survey, our Nation's first civilian scientific agency, was established by President Thomas Jefferson in 1807 as the Survey of the Coast. Its mission soon included surveys of the interior as the nation grew westward. In 1878 the agency was reorganized and given a new name, the Coast and Geodetic Survey (C&GS), which it maintained until 1970.

In 1970 a reorganization created the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Ocean Service (NOS) was created as a line office of NOAA. To acknowledge the geodetic portion of NOAA mission, the part of NOS responsible for geodetic functions was named the National Geodetic Survey.

Without a good foundation, a building will collapse. Our transportation infrastructure is the same way. The location and placement of roads must be predetermined so that traffic runs smoothly. When building a road or bridge over water, construction teams have to make sure that the two sections of the bridge will meet at the same point. If they don’t, the bridge will be unusable.

NOAA's National Geodetic Survey (NGS) provides the foundation needed for these kinds of projects. NGS and its predecessor agencies have set permanent survey marks throughout the United States. Each survey mark has an exact horizontal and vertical position, defined by latitude, longitude, and height coordinates, in relation to the surface and shape of the Earth. NGS connects these marks together in a network called the National Spatial Reference System (NSRS). This network is the federal standard and foundation for all positioning and navigation activities.

The Survey Mark At Nauticus

(Note: The survey mark that this article describes is no longer at Nauticus due to recent construction.)

View high-resolution image of survey mark at Nauticus.

The survey mark at Nauticus, located in the Fibonacci Forecourt, was set by NGS on April 25, 2001. The cross in the center of the survey mark has precise coordinates of

36º 50' 50.76367" N 076º 17' 38.65185" W

View complete record of Nauticus's survey mark. For more information about the datasheet, see file dsdata.html.

Surveyors, engineers, and the general public can retrieve data for any of the million plus markers located across the United States by accessing the NGS Data Retrieval Page. You can find out if a marker is near where you live or look up data on a marker you found while hiking.

To learn more about the rich history of NOAA's National Geodetic Survey, National Weather Service, National Marine Fisheries Service and Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, visit Nauticus March 4 - September 4, 2006 to view our latest traveling exhibit, "Treasures of NOAA's Ark".

NOAA's National Ocean Service
National Geodetic Survey (NGS)
The Observer, NGS, Vol. 1, Issue 9, June 2003
The Observer, NGS, Vol. 1, Issue 10, July 2003