Shutterbug Sunday: National Geodetic Survey Markers

U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey Sea Level Benchmark
U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey Sea Level Benchmark

Recently, I was visually inspecting a historic airplane hangar when I found this small marker I had never noticed before. I was intrigued by it, especially with the date of 1946, and the fact I’ve never heard of the “U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey.” I was aware on a basic level, the elevation of an airport was an important piece of early aeronautics in the United States.

After a little research, I learned that the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey is now the National Geodetic Survey (NGS), which is a subagency of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). According to the NGS website:

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 was, and still is, to survey the U.S. coastline and create nautical charts of the coast to help increase maritime safety. As the nation grew westward surveys of the U.S. interior began. In 1878 the agency was given a new name, the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey (USC&GS), which it maintained until 1970.

Considering this marker is found in Central Indiana and it is located on an airplane hangar on public land, it was most likely part of the NGS Aeronautical Survey Program.

The National Geodetic Survey, formerly part of the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey, has been performing aeronautical surveys since the 1920’s. The survey data provides critical runway, obstruction, navigation aid, and airport feature information needed to safely fly into airports. The FAA uses the data to develop instrument approach and departure procedures, to determine maximum takeoff weights, to update aeronautical publications, and for airport planning and engineering studies.

Although the elevation is scratched off/missing, I still find the survey marker intriguing. Have you ever come across one of these markers before? What was the date? Where was it located?

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