News Release 504b

Positioning Missouri for the future – Professional land surveyors assist Missouri Department of Natural Resources and partners

Volume 38-504b (For immediate release)
Contact: Hylan Beydler

ROLLA, MO, AUG. 27, 2010 – Professional land surveyors representing private firms from across the state contributed approximately $150,000 of professional services to the citizens of Missouri when they joined state and federal colleagues to begin the state’s Height Modernization Survey. 

As he kicked off the project by pushing the button on the global positioning system data collector during opening day of the Missouri State Fair, Gov. Jay Nixon said, “By pushing this button, we will begin a process going on all across the state with global positioning stations. Surveyors, DNR and our federal and state partners will begin a process that will culminate in about October when we map the heights of everything in the state. Now, that becomes extremely vital when keeping Missourians safe from floods. This is the kind of data, and we talk a little about it now, but when we are making decisions about which levees to fix – where we can model what happens if there is a levee break or if there is a dam break – who needs to be moved out of there and how we can make sure they are kept safe.  Or, Missouri farmers are making decisions about which fields to plow, which ones to plant.  They’re going to have an accurate baseline of data to be able to predict what the water model is for that year. It will make millions of dollars of difference for Missouri agriculture. Millions. Plus, this will give us baseline data for gauging erosion and soil protection and making sure Missouri stay the number one agriculture state in the country. It is extremely important to use all these modern tools with local, federal and state partners to accomplish a task of this magnitude.”

Staff with the department’s Geology and Land Survey Division’s Land Survey program will evaluate, verify and process the data and enter it into the national database.

Mark N. Templeton, MoDNR Director expressed appreciation for all involved saying, “Without the generous donation of time, staff and equipment provided by private land surveyors, surveying equipment companies, and the work of the various government agencies this project would not have been possible in the foreseeable future.”

Prior to introducing Gov. Nixon as the probably the only Governor in the nation to kick off a Height Modernization Survey, Juliana Blackwell, National Geodetic Survey Director, Silver Spring, Md., expressed appreciation for the department, MSPS and the federal and state partners, saying, “From a federal perspective, it is impossible for the National Geodetic Survey, which is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, to do this type of work at the local, state level ourselves. So, having the partnerships from federal, state and local, to get engaged and to make this really work is something I am very proud of.  I am proud of everyone here who has been able to contribute some aspect to this survey and look forward to seeing the results,  Having it used for floodplain mapping, all mapping and surveying throughout the state as well as being able to monitor and assess levees and dams which is very critical in the state.”

Ralph Riggs, MSPS President who represents approximately 1,000 members thanked the many partners who donated their time and equipment to this project. Riggs is also Howell County Surveyor.

State and local governments can spend tens of millions of dollars each year adjusting engineering projects such as roads and buildings that are affected by the Earth’s shifting surface. Accurate, reliable and up-to-date heights are essential for a wide range of activities, including managing construction and infrastructure projects such as roads, bridges, dams, and levees; alerting emergency planners to storm evacuation routes that are susceptible to storm surges; mapping flood plains to produce accurate flood zone maps; precisely controlling equipment used in agriculture, and snow removal; and allowing efficient fertilizer and pesticide use and reduce costs to counter pollution from chemical runoff, to name a few.

In addition to MoDNR, project partners include the Missouri Society of Professional Surveyors, Missouri Department of Transportation, Missouri survey equipment companies, US Geological Survey – Missouri Water Science Center in Rolla, US Army Corps of Engineers – St. Louis, Kansas City and Little Rock districts, US Department of Agriculture – Forest Service in Rolla, and the National Geodetic Survey.

The state’s Land Survey program has served Missourians for 40 years, developing and providing information required for the accurate and economical location of property boundaries in Missouri. The Division of Geology and Land Survey is located in Rolla at 111 Fairgrounds Road.  Additional information may be found on this website:


Video of ceremony can be found at
Photo can be found at /newsrel/images/govsurvey.jpg.

Caption: The same instant Gov. Jay Nixon pushed the button on a global positioning system data collector, surveyors across the state started their Global Positioning System receivers to collect critical elevation data. Gov. Nixon is flanked by Darrell Pratte, state land surveyor and Land Survey Program Director, Missouri Department of Natural Resources (left); and Mark N. Templeton, Director of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.