GPSonBM January 2021 Update

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NGS GPS on Bench Marks

This is the January 2021 issue of our Monthly GPSonBM Update. Check our website for more information on how you can help improve the local accuracy of NGS’ national scale models and tools and prepare for the modernized NSRS by pre-populating marks you use with 2020.0 Reference Epoch Coordinates. Check our previous monthly updates for more explanations of our maps, hexagons, and other progress tracking terminology.

Campaign Countdown

Campaign Countdown - January 2021


Only 11 months remain until the December 31st, 2021 deadline to collect and submit GPS data to NGS for use in developing products to be launched with the modernized National Spatial Reference System. NGS will use the GPSonBM data received by the deadline to compute the initial set of 2020.0 Reference Epoch Coordinates (REC) that will be released with the modernized system. This initial set of RECs will be the only ones used to build the 2022 Transformation Tool. While RECs will eventually be computed for data submitted after the deadline, the transformation grids will not be updated to include new data.


Recent Progress

10km Priority List Completed in 2020


Momentum continued to grow throughout 2020, toward our ambitious GPSonBM goal of nation-wide 10km coverage. It turns out that GPSonBM is a crowd-sourced data collection activity that can be conducted safely and socially distanced, so even after the summer field season bump in June and July, data submissions remained elevated for the rest of the year. As a result, nearly 30% more data came into NGS in 2020 than was generated by the record setting GEOID18 Campaign in 2018.


This surge in activity was driven primarily by state agencies across the country, but also included significant participation by private sector firms, federal agencies, city & county surveyors, professional societies and academic institutions. Thank you for being a part of this broad and expanding coalition of people and agencies across the country, working together to prepare for the Modernized NSRS to come.


Partner Highlight: Michigan


10 km Hexagons Completed

The power of crowd-sourced data collection efforts lies in bringing people together in mutually beneficial partnerships, where together we can do more than any of us can do on our own. This power enables federal science agencies, like NGS, to make significant progress toward ambitious science goals. I am pleased to report that the GPS on Bench Marks program is now part of the newly released NOAA Citizen Science Strategy, one of several exciting  NOAA Science & Technology Focus Areas.


Each month we highlight partners across the country that are contributing new data to help create the nation’s future geospatial infrastructure, community by community. We are kicking off 2021 by featuring the great accomplishments of our partners in Michigan who contributed four times more data in 2020 than in 2018 and 2019 combined. This surge in observations was driven by the strong efforts of the Michigan Department of Transportation over the summer field season. 


Special recognition goes to Patti and Larry Weinreis, GPSonBM enthusiasts in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula who made GPSonBM the focus of their socially distanced outdoor activities. Together they shared 43 OPUS solutions, making this dynamic duo the second largest submitter in the State after MiDOT. Here’s to keeping up the momentum, working together, and using 2021 to prepare ourselves and our Nation for the Modernized NSRS to come.


Call to Action: Recover, Observe, Report!

Call For Action


Our web map and priority list are updated regularly, so check in before you head out to the field. Consider what marks in your region you’d like to get new coordinates on automatically when the modernized NSRS is released. Make a plan for what marks you or your organization can observe over the rest of this year.


NGS tracks participation in this campaign, but we rely on partner participation to be successful. If you have an accomplishment you want to highlight, email