MTSRN History

In 2013, Montana State Library (MSL), in collaboration with Idaho State University, undertook a cooperative initiative to create a governance model for a real time network (RTN) and the creation of a share database of geodetic controls.

The Blackfeet Nation, Fort Belknap Indian Community, Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux, and Crow Nation pioneered the densification of base stations in Rocky Mountain tribal areas. They received a grant for 10 base stations, and, in partering with the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT), the group was able to install 18 National Geodetic Survey-managed Continuously Operating Reference Stations (CORS) and two Global Positioning System (GPS) only base stations around Montana.

As the number of available base stations increased, in 2018, interested parties, led by MDT and MSL began discussions to establish a statewide Montana RTN. A partnership for a pilot network was formed between the Washington State Reference Network (WSRN) and Montana, which operated by Gavin Shrock as an extension of the WSRN.

After the initial pilot proved the interest in and value of an RTN, the 2021 Legislature appropriated one-time-only funds to MSL to fund the transfer of the pilot network to Montana. MDT contracted with Trimble for Pivot software as a service to operate the network, and, in late 2021, MSL hired geodesist Kazi Arifuzzaman as the first MTSRN Coordinator.

The Montana Real Time Network was launched in March 2022. The number of users and base stations continues to grow.

In 2023 the Legislature passed Senate Bill 60, which authorizes MSL to administer the MTSRN and to collect fees for its operation.