The Trig-Star Program Contest is an annual high school mathematics competition sponsored by the National Society of Professional Surveyors and SDSPLS based on the practical application of Trigonometry. The program recognizes the best students from high schools throughout the nation.

Local land surveyors in your community and throughout South Dakota sponsor the Trig-Star contests. Therefore, there are no registration fees required for students to participate.

The test will be administered by SDSPLS members and is a timed exam. All participants will be given 60 minutes to complete the exam, with their times recorded on the exam when they have competed them. This completion time will be used in case of identical scores, with the fastest completion time being the tiebreaker.

The contest incorporates the use of complex trigonometric functions including right triangle formulas, the law of sines and the law of cosines to solve real problems typical of problems encountered in the surveying and mapping professions. The test will contain problem(s) working with angles using the degree-minute-second format, to the nearest second, with distances and/or lengths in decimals of feet usually to a hundredth of a foot. Calculators capable of trig functions will be allowed, however the use of calculators with coordinate geometry and/or triangle solution programs will not be allowed. If students have any of these programs loaded in their calculators, they must be deprogrammed prior to the exam. The Trig-Star Miscellaneous Data sheet in the sample problem packet will be furnished to every contestant. Textbooks and notes are also allowed. Cell phones must be turned off during the exam.

SDSPLS members will provide volunteers to administer the local tests. At the completion of the grading, the top three individuals will be awarded prizes. The awards are as follows:

1st Place: $500
2nd Place: $250
3rd Place: $125

The State champion will also compete in the National contest with scholarship awards of $2000, $1000 and $500 with the student's trigonometry teachers receiving Teacher Excellence Awards in the amounts of $1000, $500, and $250, respectively.

2018 Testing Dates:

The West River Chapter contest will be administered on Monday, May 7, 2018 in the EE/Physics Building on the SDSM&T Campus in Rapid City in conjunction with the West River Math Contest hosted by the mathematics department at SDSM&T. The State Trig-Star coordinator will submit the State Trig-Star winner to the National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS). The National test will be administered to the State winner following the submission of the winner's name to NSPS. This test will be administered by SDSPLS and returned to NSPS with a postmark no later than June 1, 2018.
An augmented reality sandbox will be featured at the 2018 Rapid City contest.  The augmented reality sandbox is a hands-on sandbox exhibit combined with 3D visualization to help teach students about the landscape. By simply molding the sand with their hands the landscape comes to life!  The sand is augmented in real-time with an elevation color map, topographic contour lines and simulated water.  Students can make it rain, move the dirt around making mountains and valleys and watch what happens to the flow of water!  Click for a YouTube video.
2017 Contest Winners
1st   Griffin Smith-Spearfish High School 88/100 ($500)
       Griffin placed 8th on the national test
2nd  Cheyenne McTaggart-Newell HS 82/100 ($250)
3rd   Paige LeBoeuf-White River High School 82/100 ($125)
There were interesting score results this year.  2nd to 9th places all scored 82.  2nd and 3rd places were determined by completion time per Trig-Star rules.  SDSPLS Board voted to award $75 to the 4th to 9th places for their accomplishment.  


South Dakota

Society of

Professional Land


PO Box 8154

Rapid City, South Dakota 57709