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Captain Henry W. Hemple, Chief of the Division of Geodesy, has retired from active duty after serving more than 35 years in the Bureau.

Born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on October 11, 1892, Captain Hemple received his education at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. In 1917 he entered on duty with the Coast and Geodetic Survey and has served continuously with the Bureau since that time. He has advanced from Ensign through the ranks reaching his present rank of Captain. Captain Hemple has served in various phases of the Bureau's work making his main contribution in the field of geodesy.

Under his 7 years of guidance as Chief, the Division of Geodesy won international recognition in its work. As a result of his leadership the two largest triangulation adjustments that the Coast and Geodetic Survey has ever undertaken were successfully completed. One was the adjustment of the southwestern European and north African triangulation involving eight countries and the solution of 2,348 simultaneous equations; the other adjustment of triangulation covered six northern European countries. These accomplishments placed the European work on one datum. Much progress was made by triangulation field parties in Alaska as a further result of Captain Hemple's over-all planning.

For a major contribution to science including the organization and development of steel-tower triangulation practice and superb leadership in the field of geodetic engineering in the United States, Captain Hemple was awarded the 1952 Department of Commerce Gold Medal by the Secretary of Commerce.

Captain Hemple has served as author of various technical articles. He is also affiliated with many scientific societies.

Captain Hemple resides with his wife at 5712 Nevada Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C.

Captain Henry William Hemple, NOAA (Retired) -

October 11, 1892 - October 13, 1981.

Captain Henry William Hemple was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He attended the Illinois Institute of Technology where he graduated in 1916 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering.

He was appointed Deck Officer in 1917 with Coast and Geodetic Survey and then Ensign in 1918. During his career of over 36 years his assignments included the following ships: ROMBLON, MARINDUQUE as Commanding Officer, and PATHFINDER on the Philippine Island Survey, and later aboard the DISCOVERER, and then OCEANOGRAPHER as Executive Officer. Other assignments comprised numerous geodetic field parties including traverse, triangulation, and reconnaissance-triangulation. While serving as Chief of Party on first order triangulation surveys along the 44th parallel of latitude through Minnesota in 1927, he was the first to utilize the newly developed Bilby steel tower. Prior to that time, wooden structures were used exclusively for triangulation towers. The cost of these operations per station represented a saving of about 75 percent of the amount required to construct one of the former wooden towers of comparable size. He was Assistant Chief of the Division of Geodesy from 1938 to 1945 and Chief of the Division from 1945 until the time of his retirement in 1952.

For his major contributions to science, highlighted by his superb leadership in the field of geodetic engineering in the United States, Captain Hemple was awarded the 1952 Department of Commerce Gold Medal by the Secretary of Commerce. He was affiliated with many professional societies including the American Society of Civil Engineers, Society of American Military Engineers, Washington Society of Engineers, American Geophysical Union, Washington Academy of Sciences, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Institute of Navigation, and was a founding member and former treasurer of the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping.

THE BUZZARD, Vol. 26, No.45, 11/11/1952

Publication of the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), NOAA Central Library.
Last Updated: June 8, 2006 9:27 AM

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