The Survey Station serves as a home base for survey mark hunting enthusiasts, in addition to being a resource for professional surveyors. It provides documentation of survey mark recoveries across the United States, support for surveyors and mapping/geography enthusiasts, and a library of historical airway beacon mapping and information. The website contains an archive of historical USGS survey mark datasheets – never before available in digital format, these datasheets provide a window into landmarks and land ownership during the late 19th and early to mid-20th centuries in America. The website also provides over 6GB of National Geodetic Survey (NGS) data and documents.

Via this website, a vibrant community has developed around documenting and reconstructing old airway beacons. Additionally, although the survey mark documentation is primarily done by amateurs, professional surveyors have used the resulting data to assist them in their work.

For more details on the motivation behind this website, see About The Survey Station.

Sample blog post Sample survey mark recovery USGS Datasheet Index for Maryland Index of resources Map of airway beacons Map of survey station recoveries
A selection of screenshots from

Project type


Technologies used

  • Self-hosted WordPress instance on virtual private server (VPS).
  • PHP for custom template development, on top of the GeneratePress theme framework.
  • Development and extensive use of custom fields and custom post types to create survey mark database within WordPress.
  • Integration of Leaflet open-source JavaScript mapping library for displaying survey mark and airway beacon locations on maps.
  • Custom scripting to dynamically create GeoJSON file of survey mark recoveries for mapping.
  • Custom search by survey mark attributes, plus integrated keyword searching of website content.
  • WordPress REST API to output consistently formatted header and footer to integrate Apache directory listing into website.
  • Backups performed daily by iControlWP WorpDrive service.

Deployment method

  • Local development on XAMPP server, then migrate changes to WordPress instance.
  • Textual content created directly in WordPress CMS.