BIA Celebrates National Survey Week

Alan Chyko, PLS, chief surveyor of BIA’s Hazleton office, coordinated volunteer teams across the Pennsylvania  for the first-ever simultaneous nationwide Global Positioning System (GPS) survey , conducted on Saturday, March 19.

Organized by the National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS), the event commemorated National Survey Week with the goal of reinforcing the accuracy of GPS systems worldwide.  In addition to strengthening GPS data points, the goal of the project was to give the public an opportunity to observe local surveyors in action and to learn more about a profession that was practiced by George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Daniel Boone, and Henry David Thoreau, among many others.

At exactly 1 p.m., volunteer surveyors across Pennsylvania recorded GPS observations on horizontal or vertical monuments established by National Geodetic Survey (NGS) as part of the National Spatial Reference System (NSRS).  The NGS is a division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, part of the federal Department of Commerce. 

Alan’s location was in Hazleton at Route 309 and Mount Laurel Drive, a NGS benchmark location and “a good spot for GSP observation and to tie down  level benchmarks,” he said.  In the days following the event, Alan collected the data from all teams and submitted it to the Online Positioning User Service (OPUS), a new nationwide database tool that allows surveyors, engineers, and others to share their survey results.

“In this tight economy with the NGS experiencing smaller budgets, they can’t do the verifying field work that they once did,” says Alan. “ This project was important in establishing and verifying benchmarks.”

Alan, who is the recognized GPS expert in BIA’s survey department, was recommended for this important role by Barbara Yuhas, survey project manager in BIA’s Valley Forge office and a member of the board of directors of the Delaware Valley Chapter of the PA Society of Land Surveyors (PSLS).  As a result of his outstanding service, the state surveyor’s organization has asked Alan to serve on a technical committee concerning GPS standards.