Students Help Tech Join National Network



Montana Tech’s Civil Engineering Technology students and faculty, in cooperation with the Montana Department of Transportation and the National Geodetic Survey (NGS), have successfully completed a project to establish a Continuously Operating Reference Station (CORS) at the College of Technology. The Tech CORS joins a nationwide network of stations that provide Global Navigation Satellite System data to support three-dimensional positioning, meteorology, space, weather, and geophysical applications.

Led by Civil Engineering Technology faculty member, Eric Martin, students participated in almost every stage of the process of establishing the CORS. “I am really proud of our students for their work on this very important and very technical project,” said Martin. “There are CORS stations in Missoula, Helena, Dillon and Bozeman, but the Butte-Silver Bow area was not covered – until now. The students were really excited to be part of this national initiative which has such a significant impact on all of our lives.”

The NGS is a federal agency which provides the framework for all positioning activities in the nation, including latitude, longitude, elevation and shoreline information, all of which contribute to informed decision making and which impact a wide range of important activities including mapping and charting, flood risk determination, transportation, land use and ecosystem management.

Because so many people rely on the data recorded by the CORS, the establishment of the station at the College of Technology had to meet very strict national requirements. For example, the station location and installation had to be extremely stable and not subject to even the slightest movement; and it had to be set in a location which has significant visibility to the various US, Russian and European satellites. Students in the College of Technology’s Metal Fabrication Program, let by their instructor, Dennis Noel, assisted in the fabrication of the mount on which the station was fixed. Cory Woolverton, the College’s Network Technician, provided network support to direct the CORS data to the appropriate server directories.

“I am pleased to report that this project qualifies as one of Montana Tech’s American Democracy Projects,” said Dr. John M. Garic, Dean of the College of Technology. “ADP projects help students understand that they are part of a community greater than just the university community and that they have a responsibility to be good citizens for that greater community. This project meets all of those goals in wonderful ways.”

For any further information about this issue or any issue pertaining to Montana Tech, please contact Dr. John M. Garic at 406-496-3714 or Amanda Badovinac at 406-496-4828.