Trig Star

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 cash prizes. 

The State champion will also compete in the National contest. Please visit to learn more!


The SDSPLS Trig-Star Committee has decided to cancel the exam typically held on the campus of the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in May due to the closing of that campus related to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"The NSPS has decided to cancel the 2020 National Exam portion of the competition. The uncertainty that this virus has caused and not knowing what will happen has forced this decision.

Trig-Star is very important to NSPS and the Committee. We hope you understand our decision. If you have any questions or concerns please reach out to Trish Milburn or Jerry Juarez, NSPS Trig-Star Chair." (

SDSPLS is a 501(c)6 non-profit organization. SDSPLS, 444 St Joe St. Spearfish, SD 57783

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