Montana and Wyoming tribal councils recognized with national award for mapping project

Billings Gazette

A coalition of seven tribal councils across Montana and Wyoming have been awarded the American Council of Engineering Companies National Recognition for Engineering Excellence in 2022 by applying cutting-edge technology to accurately map and analyze tribal lands.

In partnership with the Montana office of Northern Engineering & Consulting Inc., the Tribal Mapping Project uses modern GPS and surveying methods to improve transportation and land development projects, reduce construction costs, and provide jobs for tribal members using modern computers, mapping software, and geographic information systems, or GIS.

Key stakeholder tribes — the Blackfeet, Wind River Inter-tribal Council, Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux, Fort Belknap, Northern Cheyenne, Crow, and Rocky Boy — have committed resources since 2010 to reduce workload involved in surveying and designing projects across large states in the western U.S. such as Montana and Wyoming.

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These regions suffer from known distortions caused by mapping the three-dimensional earth’s surface onto a flat rectangular grid — particularly an issue on remote reservation lands. The project comprised five phases — creating appropriate coordinate systems, supplementing national survey base stations in remote areas of the states, creating a GPS real-time-network with new reference

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