The thread about the open traverse made me wonder if astronomic observations for azimuth is becoming a lost technique. I know a few people on here who them, some just for fun like me (haven't needed to do one for a few years now)
I probably shouldn't have voted because I'm not in the business, but did because I've done Polaris shots for projects in the past.
My most recent one was a bit different. The amateur astronomy club in the area is installing a better telescope in one of their domes (donated by a university that was done with it). It is big enough it had to be set in by a crane. The base is different from the previous one and needed a large adapter built to mount it. The base has to be aligned within a couple degrees of cardinal direction in order to be in range of final alignment.
We saw no practical way to bring in azimuth from outside up a circular stair, a magnetic compass couldn't be trusted inside the steel walls, and you couldn't see the ground outside from standing height. So I did a Polaris sight in the dome to establish a north-south line on the floor.
I used SPADE for my data, checked with Stellarium which agreed well enough for the purpose, and later by MICA which was quite close to SPADE.
That was quite an experience working in a cluttered and cramped 12 ft diameter enclosure in the dark with other equipment, a bench, and people moving around and twice bumping my tripod.
Our guess at north was off enough Polaris was not visible through the opening in the done until dark enough to see it with the naked eye and the dome turned. I was getting pretty frustrated that I couldn't get az, el, and focus to happen on the star. My focus ring has enough slop that an infinity mark isn't quite good enough.
We determined the old bolts in the concrete were indeed cardinal enough the adapter could use them for reference, a fact they had no prior reason to rely on.
The telescope is now mounted. The next challenge, after they get the control circuitry and software working, will be to finish the alignment so it is truly equatorial and accurately tracks a star.
I did them so frequently that it was part of the work flow.
My last one was in the early 2000's in a mountain canyon where GPS couldn't get a good fix.
By that time the program I had loaded up in my old DC for doing them, plotting the lat, long, updating time on the DC, and pushing a button as you observed the leading and trailing edges, was long gone and I had to do it by hand, some time later with better GPS I found out that I was about 30" off, which I was very happy with.
It's like dunking a basketball, it's been 13 or so years since I did, don't need to do it again (well,,,,, at least I can do a solar).
When I first started doing GPS, there was a limited time window, and we couldn't do more than a couple of static sessions a day. So we set azimuth marks with polaris observations. One project I remember well was Prince William County in VA, I did 80 second order azimuths for 80 stations in a GPS blue book project using a Wild T3, in 1986 or 1987. I would observe GPS in the day on a 3 or 5 man crew, then go out at night if it was clear and observe astro's. I was on salary for the GPS, but they were paying me extra for the astro's. I could do up to 5 a night (16 positions) by myself, but usually got 3.
And we used to do a lot of eccentrics (before HARN/CORS) to tie in triangulation stations that were not occupiable, those were usually solars because we were close by and the accuracy requirement was a bit looser.
Haven't done any on an actual job in probably 10 or 15 years. But I still mess around with them.
When working for the BLM in 1970 I had the privilege of being a member of a Cadastral survey crew doing multi-mile traverses in thick wooded country using a solar transit (Smith Solar Attachment). We'd take a solar shot when the sun was visible through the trees, several hundred over the course of the season. We'd also shoot Polaris using a T-2 with a right angle eyepiece prism once a week, surprisingly (for me) during daylight. Later when working for a County I convinced the boss to buy a Roelofs Prism for our T-2 which we used often for the same purpose, and for establishing orientation at sites (gravel quarries, etc.) with only one (or no) control station.
Of course when GPS became available solar accessories were relegated to the storage room.