1940 - 1990
Coast and Geodetic Survey (Retired)
12934 Desert Glen Drive
Sun City West, AZ 85375-4825
space and missile programs began expanding, it was recognized
that a super accurate nationwide horizontal network was needed.
It was readily apparent, that the recently invented EDMI would
play an important role and that the simplest solution would
be to weave an electro-optical traverse through the existing
network, utilizing the original monuments wherever possible.
Lansing G. Simmons, the Chief Geodesist, devised a scheme
that amounted to parallel traverses, by using diamond shaped
figures created by setting an auxiliary point, about 25 m.
distant from every other station and connected to it. All
observations were to be made at least 25 ft. above the ground,
on two nights, including astronomic azimuths at the terminals
of the diamond figures. Astronomic positions were observed
by a special unit.
longer range EDMI became available, sliver triangles and even
single line configurations were permitted, in some instances,
under controlled circumstances. Early on, taking mid-point
temperatures was required, using balloons to hoist thermistors
to the line height. This requirement was dropped in the later
stages, except in the mountains or on long lines. Airplanes
carrying thermistors on their wings were used on a few occasions
to fly such lines to obtain average temperatures.
survey began in 1961, in Florida, completed in Michigan in 1976
and is known as the High-Precision Transcontinental Traverse
(TCT). It has an accuracy of one part in a million or better,
the most accurate survey ever made using conventional methods.
About 2,750 stations were included in the 13,660 mile traverse
that passed through 44 States. A section originally proposed
from Maine to Michigan via Canada was abandoned because space
and satellite technology gave good promise for even higher accuracy
nets. Much of the funding was provided by DoD, in addition to
assistance in measuring several legs.
1960, the C&GS began emphasizing cooperative arrangements
for establishing control in urban and county areas, even statewide.
Such undertakings were not new, dating back to 1903 - 1908,
when Congress ordered a survey of greater New York City to
the more recent (about 1950) East Bay Cities network.
1960 to 1980, about 50 such projects were observed. Many were
truly cooperative, as local surveyors worked side by side with
C&GS/NGS personnel in positioning points selected to control
proposed local traverses.
Preservation and State Advisors
a modest beginning about 1950, the mark preservation program
came to full bloom in the early 1970's, saving thousands of
stations and bench marks along the way. Unfortunately, the
work, skills and dedication of the mark dusters was not understood,
nor appreciated in high places and they are no more. Their
loss is everyone's loss, once a monument is gone, its gone
advisors appeared later in this time frame, as States began
making geodetic quality surveys for highway and other purposes.
Fortunately, the program continues and with that, the hope that
a volunteer mark preservation plan will be developed. Where
once instructing in geodetic surveying was the primary purpose,
it now appears advising in cadastre matters is the principal
function of the job.
1966 - 1973, a 45 station world-wide satellite triangulation
network was observed under the technical supervision of the
C&GS. The communist bloc countries did not participate
causing a hole in the net to the north, and the lack of even
the smallest island in the south Pacific Ocean created another.
James Cook on his 18th century voyage to that region had reported
a least depth, at an acceptable location, that could conceivably
hold a platform; one thought being to sink an old ship as
the base for the observations. The spot couldn't be found.
Hellmet H. Schmid directed the overall operations and the
project was managed by L. W. Swanson (C&GS. The latter
was a complex and difficult job. The logistics involved in
moving heavy equipment and personnel to so many out of the
way places was a huge and complicated task. And, dealing with
representatives of foreign countries, an entirely different
and more delicate one. Funding for this multi-nation effort
was provided primarily by DoD.
basis for the net were directions, determined photogrammetically
from photographic plates, showing the trace of a balloon satellite
against a star background. The plates are the end product
of simultaneous observations, obtained by very accurate ballistic
cameras, from at least two stations.
method provides geometry and orientation, but not scale, which
was introduced by 7 long base lines measured in the U.S., Europe,
Africa and Australia with the shortest being 743 miles and the
longest 2,166 miles. Positional accuracies were on the order
of 5 meters. A proposed North America densification net was
dropped as more accurate and less expensive positioning systems
surveys are excellent tools for measuring the amount of horizontal
and vertical movement due to seismic and other events. These
procedures were not employed much until the 1940's because
of a lack of previous surveys, needed for comparison purposes,
in many effected areas and cost.
were made after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and the
primary arc from Lake Tahoe to San Francisco, then south to
Santa Barbara Channel and east to the Imperial Valley was
reobserved in 1922 - 1924, but little else was done, except
for one short arc reobserved and some releveling in the 1930's.
A plan was formulated in this decade however, to reobserve
and relevel selected nets at specific intervals and to carry
out resurveys, following major earthquakes, as soon as practical.
the next 3 decades, a number of these nets and lines were
observed as planned and several were reobserved as scheduled.
One of the first resurveys, made following an earthquake,
was the 1935 Imperial Valley, CA triangulation in 1941 after
a major seismic event in 1940. Other resurveys included, the
Dixie Valley triangulation, near Fallon, NV, following a large
earthquake in 1954 and much of the existing work within a
150 mile radius of Anchorage, AK after the Prince William
Sound seismic event in 1964. To measure the slippage along
the San Andreas Fault, 30 small nets straddling the fault,
with sides 200 - 600 m. in length, containing 6 - 8 stations
and independently scaled and oriented were established between
1964 - 1967, in cooperation with the California Department
of Water Resources. All but one were resurveyed at least once
A. Whitten and Buford K. Meade wrote numerous scientific papers
dealing with the results of the surveys. With the transfer of
seismology functions to the USGS about 1970, in-house interest
began to wane, coming almost to a stop in the 1980's.
purpose surveys made in the 1940 - 1980 period included those
Taylor Model Basin, MD.
of Mackinac Bridge, MI.
and leveling networks for the Blue Nile River Basin, Ethiopia.
linear and circular accelerators in NY and CA. Astronomic
observations at Thor missile sites in England, at the time
of the Cuban crisis.
boundary, where the actual boundary, the center of the Colorado
River, is defined by positions determined photogrammetically
from shore line control.
alignment and measurement of the Holloman AFB rocket sled
of the north-south Mason-Dixon line between Delaware and Maryland
and the east-west line between the two states, originally
surveyed by colonial surveyors.
of Louisiana triangulation to locate oil drilling rig platforms,
50 miles in the Gulf of Mexico utilizing Bilby towers anchored
on the platforms.
positions observed at about 30km (18 mi.) intervals to determine
the astro-geodetic profile along the 35th parallel.
and azimuth determinations at Polaris submarine servicing
to delineate the U.S.-Mexico boundary at the mouth of the
Rio Grande River and its extension to the Pacific cean, south
of San Diego.
deflections for use in correcting the observed angles included
in NAD83, observed at about 100 stations, mostly base line
points involved with steep lines. Observations to upgrade
the national net on Fishers Island, NY for U.S. Navy Underwater
positions to verify the California-Nevada boundary at Lake
at Goldstone (near Barstow, CA) and MacDonald (Davis Mtns.,TX)
observatories, the latter to study any motion relative to
the LURE observatory on Mt. Haleakala, Maui, HI. Nuclear test
studies at the White House.
of numerous missile sites.
All Plane Surveying
1965, a Tellurometer traverse was measured by a U.S.- Canadian
field party connecting the Alcan Highway triangulation and
the coastal surveys at Yakutat Bay, AK, tieing in the recently
named Mt. Kennedy. While the connection is of minor importance,
the experience of the observing unit atop Mt. Kennedy is an
outstanding example of the adage, when things go wrong, they
go very wrong. Several days after setting up a camp in a saddle
just below the summit, an unexpected storm struck destroying
their tents and protective snow block wall. This major disaster
forced the men to spend 14 hours to dig a 9 ft. by 10 ft.
and 5 ft. high ice cave, where they lived for 8 days with
100 MPH winds and - 40F temperatures outside. After a short
break, another storm struck and it was 5 more days in the
cave. More problems were still to come. A helicopter, sent
to bring the unit back became disabled, requiring a larger
Canadian Air Force copter to bring the men and disabled machine
to Whitehorse. A few days later, the observer Paul H. Swift,
returned with two new assistants and completed the observations
on the first day. The story doesn't end there.
storm hit and they had to spend 3 days in the cave, making
it 16 days of cave time for Swift. To him it was just another
C&GS work assignment some being good and some, being not
as good. This one fell in the not as good category.
Standards of Accuracy
standards of accuracy and specifications were issued in 1957,
replacing those used since 1933. For the first time, the classic
first- and second- order standards for triangulation were
subdivided into classes, recognizing the need for higher accuracy
surveys, as well as to establish a national standard for area
organizations made significant contributions to the national
networks during the period. Among the most notable are: The
USGS, a number of State DOT's, especially California and Minnesota,
and the unique North Carolina Geodetic Survey organized in the
early 1960's. It has established thousands of points statewide
in the interim. Another unique group exists within the Los Angeles
County Engineer's Office, which routinely carries out first-order
horizontal and vertical surveys. All other contributions were
second-order. The South Carolina Geodetic Survey, last of several
such county and state agencies to be formed, began operations
in the late 1970's and continues today.
vertical control network grew from 45,000 miles in 1929 to
about 260,000 miles in 1940 and more than 420,000 miles by
1970 - - and with little fanfare. Geodetic leveling has none
of the glamour or adventure, associated with triangulation,
and receives little publicity about its operations. There
are no high mountains to climb or tall towers to build, no
100 mile long sights, nor 15 mile base lines to measure, only
endless hours walking along railroad tracks and roads day
after day, making observations every 400 ft. Yet, the work
gets done and to a high accuracy, as well. And, so it was
for the period 1940 - 1970. About the only changes were the
Fischer level, in use since 1899 and C&GS designed invar
rods from 1916, both replaced by equipment of European design
and manufacture, about 1967.
the Fischer level retired, no longer could one view a C&GS
levelman lift the Fischer tripod, instrument attached, kick
the forward leg up and out, spread the others, then ride the
apparatus into the ground, bring it to level and ready to
observe, all in what seemed like one, single smooth motion.
Modern levels can't be handled in that fashion.
ended the last decade of the old era only we didn't know it
at the time, nor just how good we had had it.
AGE OF GEODESY BEGINS 1970 - 1990
period begins with the reorganization of ESSA, which included
the C&GS, and was created in 1965 becoming NOAA. Among
the changes, C&GS was renamed the National Ocean Survey
(and renamed again later as the National Ocean Service)(NOS),
bringing protests from many in the surveying profession, all
to no avail. To some of us, it was not the best of times,
yet even then, we found that the sun always rises. To wit,
in the early 1990's, the name was restored to part of the
old bureau. Then taken away again in 1995. The Geodesy Division
became the National Geodetic Survey, alternating as a division
or an office in the several reorganizations within NOS.
the reorganization pressure came to cut costs and as is the
usual case, that meant field operations. As a starter, specifications
for urban surveys were modified - - no savings were realized.
Mixed mode surveys (mixture of triangulation, trilateration
and traverse) had the best chance to save money and a number
of projects were proposed and carried out. Several excellently
designed truck mounted towers and masts had been built specifically
for such work, but there were never enough of them available
for efficient operations and little savings resulted. Motorized
leveling techniques, developed in Sweden, were only moderately
successful in the more congested U.S. and cost savings were
for recording leveling observations and programmable desk
top calculators contributed to more efficient and accurate
field computations. Eventually, all field parties were equipped
with computers and terminals tied to the office facilities.
Computations became easier to make of course, but the cost
savings, if any, are difficult to ascertain.
of New Technology
1970's saw the introduction of several pieces of exotic instrumentation
and in one case, precision application of older technology.
About 1971 the first direct positioning, all weather system,
using satellites became operational. Based on the Doppler
principle, and using radio signals from the U.S. Navy TRANSIT
satellites, the results were accurate to about one meter in
each component. As a general rule, Doppler positions were
spaced at about 200 km.(125 mi.) or more when used to control
first-order networks. Although the instruments were lightweight
and portable by 1977, they had little practical application.
Long Base Line Interferometry (VLBI) using extraterrestrial
radio signal sources produces super accurate distances and
azimuths over continental distances. Early observations were
from fixed antennas, although some progress in making them
portable was made later.
Positioning Systems' (IPS) all weather, day and night methodology
came on the scene about 1978 and appeared to be the answer
for densification work because of its capability to rapidly
position points to an acceptable accuracy. Several federal
agencies including the NOS/NGS utilized the systems for secondary
surveys and a few cities in establishing local grids. The
systems faded away by 1983 because of various factors, including
high instrument cost.
Precision Photogrammetry (HPP) was employed in 1978 to locate
346 section corners in Ada County, ID to second-order class
II accuracy (1:20,000), in a short time frame and at a moderate
cost - - then was not used again. One reason for the lack of
interest might be that the only generally available report dealt
largely with the photogrammetric reduction and adjustment phases
of the project, and nothing about the relative ease of field
most important development in the history of surveying occurred
early in the 1980's when the NAVSTAR Global Positioning System
(GPS) became operational. Surprisingly, few in the profession
were aware it was about to happen. Tests made early in 1983
showed conclusively that the system employed in the differential
mode (DGPS), routinely gave one part in a million accuracy
between points spaced 1 to 25 miles apart.
the announcement of these results, the geodetic world was turned
topsy-turvy, theodolites, EDMI and Bilby towers became obsolete
overnight, although the instruments would continue to be used
in other surveys. As for Bilby towers, the last erected by the
NGS was in September 1984 at a station appropriately named BILBY,
near Hartford, CT.
early, there was no doubt that GPS would be the modus operandi
for establishing new horizontal networks, to upgrade existing
nets, and one day establish vertical control nets as well.
To that end, in October 1983, NGS completed the observations
for the first regular GPS survey, an urban type network for
Summit County, OH, and the second in December 1983, at Fort
Stewart, GA. On the basis of early results, GPS in the kinematic
mode shows great promise as the long sought after rapid positioning
technique for densification nets. In another vernacular, GPS
is the greatest invention since sliced bread.
Stations and CBLs
in the 1970's, a virtual plethora of short range EDMI, modern
transits and theodolites and eventually the marriage of the
two, the Total Station, were available. By the late 1980's,
most surveyors were equipped with at least one of the new
instruments. There was one problem, EDMI require periodic
accuracy evaluations and verification of the instrument constant.
assure that test facilities would be available, NGS initiated
a cooperative program about 1973, to provide Calibration Base
Lines (CBL's) at selected sites nationwide. L.S. Baker (NOAA),
then Director of the Survey, and a man always looking for
ways to benefit the profession was responsible for its creation.
first was measured in October 1973 at Liverpool, NY, using
standard first-order base line taping procedures, as were
3 other CBL's prior to 1975. Beginning in 1974, a new procedure
combining precise taping and high accuracy EDMI observations
was adopted and continues in use today. The method was proposed
and developed by Raymond W. Tomlinson and employed by him
for the first time in July 1974 on the Rockingham-Hamlet,
standard CBL has monuments at 0m., 150m., 430m. and 1,400m.
By 1990, more than 275 CBL's had been measured.
of Accuracy Revised Once Again
and revised standards of accuracy for geodetic control surveys
were issued in 1974, replacing the 1957 version. Detailed
specifications were published, for the first time, in 1975
and revised in 1980. Standards and specifications for trilateration
based on 10 years of extensive field tests were provided,
also for the first time.
1984, standards basically unchanged from the 1974 criteria
and much less detailed specifications were issued, primarily
to introduce different statistical philosophies than used
heretofore. For some reason, trilateration was omitted. With
GPS operational at the time, interest in such information
was not very high.
importantly, provisional standards and specifications for DGPS
surveys were made available in 1988.
anyone ever wondered where the present day workshop- seminar
craze began ? The idea came up following a successful 1969
C&GS sponsored symposium dealing with automation of surveying
equipment and data acquisition, reaching fruition in 1971.
Surveying Instrumentation and Coordinate Computation (SICC)
Workshop, the first such endeavor, was held at Madison, WI on
February 8 - 10, 1971, sponsored by the University of Wisconsin
Extension Service under the able direction of the late William
R. Baker and NGS. NGS furnished 7 instructors and educational
materials and manufacturers, the instruments. The cost was $60,
which included lunches, coffee breaks and was limited to 72
attendees. SICC Workshops became affiliated with ACSM in 1972
and remain available today. More than 35 workshops were presented
Palmdale Bulge Controversy
of the biggest geodetic controversies since the 18th century
British-French debate, whether the earth's shape was prolate
or oblate, erupted in the late 1970's over the Palmdale Bulge.
A well publicized event, newspapers are always interested
in geologic mysteries.
group contented that the historic leveling and relevelings
showed conclusively that the plateau centered near Palmdale,
CA had uplifted 10 to 16 inches. Another group eventually
counter claimed that the differences were due to instrument
and systematic errors resulting from observing practices and
atmospheric effects, especially refraction.
tests made in the 1980's, showed that the latter conclusions
were correct. However, not every one was convinced that was
the case and some hold to their original views even at this
Found in NAD 27
years after the completion of NAD27 (about 1931), it was readily
evident that the datum was seriously flawed because of too few
base lines and Laplace azimuths overall and very large loops
in the west, some being 1,000 miles or more in length. The eastern
half had additional problems too, due to large junction figures
which allowed, in some cases, too little triangulation to absorb
position closures; by fixed points on the 98th Meridian arc
adjusted in the western half and the need to readjust a large
portion of the Great Lakes triangulation to fit one point to
the International Boundary work. The expression throw it in
the lake originated from this predicament. In any case, it didn't
83 and John D. Bossler
could be done, of course, until much more of the network was
completed. About 30 years later that time seemed to have arrived.
In-house discussions led by L.S. Baker (C&GS), Chief of
the Geodesy Division and Charles A. Whitten, the Chief Geodesist
began about 1968. A year or so later, meetings with the Canadians
were held. The exchange of ideas with several interested parties
was culminated with a 1971 report by a special committee of
the National Academy of Science (NAS) endorsing the need for
a new adjustment.
official kickoff date was July 1, 1974, although some work
was begun a year earlier. John D. Bossler(NOAA) was named
NAD Project Manager and served until 1983, when he moved up,
becoming Director, Charting and Geodetic Services (C&GS).
Prior to that he was named Director, NGS in 1980 and following
his retirement in 1986 he founded and presently (1994) is
the Director, Center for Mapping at Ohio State University.
Bossler's strong leadership in unison with excellent technical
and scientific skills combined with his ability to deal with
high level bureaucrats had much to do with the successful
conclusion of the project, and with little change from the
original plan. In the scheme of things government, this alone
is a tremendous achievement.
includes in addition to the entire U.S. network, the primary
systems of Canada, Mexico, Central America and Greenland.
The statistics are mind boggling. The U.S. net alone (approximate
numbers) includes 5,000 projects, containing 259,000 points,
involving 1,734,000 weighted observations, requiring the solution
of 929,000 unknowns.
parameters of the Geodetic Reference System 1980 (GRS 80)
were adopted, replacing the Clarke spheroid of 1866, that
had been used for more than 100 years. The datum is earth
centered by the introduction of 655 Doppler positions as observations.
Also included were 112 VLBI measurements.
computers available in 1974, if any, had the capability to
handle this enormous amount of data. Fortunately, capacities
were increased significantly in the next decade. All data,
including descriptions of points are now in a computer data
base. The project was completed on July 31, 1986 and cost
37 million dollars.
Upgrade NAD 83
clamor arose, even before it was completed that NAD83 was
not accurate enough to satisfy future needs. Some argued that
its use was further limited because too many points were located
on hilltops and other not easily accessible places.
cause for the uproar was GPS had become operational earlier
and was compounded by all the razzmatazz that followed about
its accuracy and ease in making observations almost anywhere.
studied the problem and while not agreeing with all of the arguments,
developed a plan to provide under cooperative arrangements GPS
High Accuracy Reference Networks (HARN) on a state-by-state
basis. The emphasis being on statewide nets. Depending on certain
conditions, stations are spaced at 15 - 60 miles with an internal
accuracy of about 1 ppm or better. The end result, a statewide,
independent, upgraded NAD83 network. By the Fall of 1993, HARN's
were in place, or will be shortly in 27 states, with points
spaced at 60 miles or less. This piecemeal approach satisfies
most users. However, sometime down the road, there will be a
new adjustment of NAD. When, is another story.
No Longer Positioned
GPS became the sole method for making horizontal geodetic surveys,
landmark stations such as church spires, water tanks, radio
masts and others, usually referred to as intersection points
were no longer positioned. The points presently in the files
were and are still used for local azimuth control, resections
and even as position control, among other uses, will physically
disappear with time, of course. By then we can assume that surveying
will be totally dominated by satellite technology and their
loss will cause little concern.
1992, NGS formulated a plan to establish a network of Continuous
Operating Reference Stations (CORS) through out the country
with the primary purpose in support of marine and navigation
systems. However, CORS has the potential for accurate 3-D positioning,
to the datum, within a 20 - 30 mile radius of the sites, and
a promise of higher accuracies over longer ranges later. By
early 1996, more than 50 CORS were in place, positioned to accuracies
of 3 cm horizontal and 5 cm vertical, with the ultimate accuracy
goal of 3 mm, in all dimensions, sometime in the future.There
is little reason to doubt now that the age of single person
survey parties is upon us !
the 1970's, NGS contracted out geodetic surveys for the first
time, when Vernon F. Meyer and Associates, Sulphur, LA successfully
undertook first-order leveling surveys.
1980, the National Geodetic Vertical Datum of 1929 (NGVD29),
known prior to 1973 as the Sea Level Datum of 1929 (SLD29),
had grown to 435,000 miles of first- and second-order leveling.
As with NAD27, fitting new leveling to the old was a continuing
in 1978, a committee of NAS endorsed a 1975 NGS position paper
that defined the necessary steps to upgrade and make a new
adjustment of the network. Technical exchanges were held with
the Geodetic Survey of Canada and later with representatives
of Mexico and Central America.
of the decisions reached was to include Canadian and Mexican
leveling in the adjustment. To reflect this situation, the
name was changed to the North American Vertical Datum of 1988
(NAVD88). It also replaces the International Great Lakes Datum
of 1985 (IGLD85).
field work was accelerated beginning in 1977 and was completed
in the late 1980's, including more than 50,000 miles of first-
order relevelings. David B. Zilkoski was named Project Manager
NAVD in 1986 and ably directed the investigations, evaluations
and the new adjustment completed in June 1991, with the results
published later in the year.
datum is defined by the IGLD85 elevation for the primary tidal
bench mark at Father Point/Rimouski, Quebec, Canada at the
mouth of the St. Lawrence River. The adjustment is a minimum
constraint computation involving 875,000 unknowns and provides
the best possible differences of elevation available from
the observations. At the same time, it minimizes the impact
on the USGS mapping projects.
20%, or 90,000 miles of old leveling is in crustal motion
areas or did not fit the new observations and was not included.
These data, identified as POSTED, will be adjusted and the
results published in the near future.
last point. It is very likely as we enter the last decade of
the 20th century, that levels and rods will fall victim to GPS,
as did theodolites, EDMI and Bilby towers.
records events and the names of the people making major contributions
to them. To that end, some of the people so involved in the
1940-90 period are cited in the text. However, there are others,
not directly associated with these events, who played equally
significant roles and they, too deserve recognition. For practical
reasons only a few can be included in the following sketches.
All were affiliated with C&GS - NGS unless noted otherwise:
the early 1930's, Buford K. Meade changed the way least-squares
adjustments had been carried out for about 90 years by accumulating
the multiplications when reducing normal equations on desk
top calculators (then coming into general use), replacing
the practice of tabulating each calculation, and thereby halving
the time required. i.e. The average time previously was about
1-hour per equation or 10 to 12 8-hour days to solve 100 equations.
his long career he developed several unique and innovative
adjustment procedures for traverses and special surveys, analyzed
numerous crustal motion surveys and prepared reports explaining
the results, carried out a continuous evaluation of the TCT
during the 15 years it was in progress that included investigations
of the EDM measurements, leading to more accurate distance
observations and examinations of the Doppler positions associated
with the survey.
was Chief, Triangulation Branch / Horizontal Network Division
from 1963-74, when he was appointed Chief, Control Networks
Division, the name assigned the Chief Geodesist's position in
B. Small and Norman F. Braaten directed the Leveling Branch
for some 20 years from about 1955 during a period of change,
instrumentally and technically that rejuvenated the leveling
program. Had either been on staff at the beginning of the Palmdale
Bulge controversy, their long leveling experience and vast knowledge
of the network could have put an end to the argument in short
N. Claire worked with Oscar S. Adams in developing the SPCS
and continued a career long effort to improve and simplify
its use through publications and easy to use projection tables.
He was experienced in a wide range of geodetic activities
and in some was recognized as the leading expert.
L. Stearn introduced matrix algebra and modern statistical
error theory, as applied to geodetic computations to C&GS
personnel beginning in 1949 via in-house seminars. He later
expanded the material to course length and taught the subject
at local evening schools and universities attended by many
in the profession from several agencies.
S. Belote spent most of his 33 year career in the New York
Computing Office where in 1946 he devised a traverse adjustment
method that produced scalers to the distances in accordance
with the direction of the line. A similar procedure was introduced
in NAD 83 to determine group scalers according to instrument
and organization. About 1948, when it became obvious that
trilateration would become a practical method for establishing
control, he conceived condition equations for its adjustment.
Belote also developed an adjustment procedure on the plane
using precise transverse Mercator grids and observation equations
that produced results identical to a computation on the ellipsoid.
Several large networks were adjusted by this method between
A. Rice played a leading role in the gravity program where,
in or shortly before his tenure as Chief, Gravity and Astronomy
Branch, gravity meters replaced pendulum apparatus, Wild T-4
universal theodolites replaced Bamberg broken telescopes for
astronomic work and there was a huge increase in the number
of astronomic position and azimuth determinations (more in
20 years, than in the previous 100 years) brought on by geoid
profile studies and TCT needs. Shortly before his retirement,
Satellite was added to the branch name to reflect that Doppler
positioning was viable alternative to standard geodetic procedures.
Vincenty (USAF) and (NGS), known to one and all as TV, contributed
numerous articles over about 25 years, dealing with a variety
of geodetic matters, most presented in a succinct fashion.
In some, he chided the geodetic community for not doing more
to obtain results closer to the theoretical best values, and
in a sense was the conscience of geodesy during that time.
work in adapting 3-dimensional adjustment techniques to NAD
83, made for the least restricted computation and is credited,
by some, for reducing the number of iterations required for
convergence. Approaching retirement, he updated and reformatted
the SPCS projection equations for NAD83.
Fischer (AMS)/(DMA) was long recognized as the U.S. expert
on datums, ellipsoids and the geoid despite the fact that
few results of her efforts will ever come to light, because
much of her work was done under military security rules. However,
anyone who ever heard Mrs. Fischer discuss these elements,
among the least understood of geodetic subjects, always came
away with a clearer picture of them and convinced that she
indeed knew her stuff.
J. Anderle (Naval Surface Weapons Center) spent a large part
of his career developing equipment to employ satellites for
positioning purposes. First, the Doppler system which provided
positions to an accuracy of ± 1-meter in each component
and second, GPS where in the relative mode, accuracies of
0.1 ppm are possible. No one, as yet, has been identified
as the father of GPS and its not suggested that Anderle was,
however he was a member of the immediate family.
Well, that just about covers the 50 year period.
Where do we go from here? We know for the next decade, GPS or
GPS related technologies will dominate. After that it's anyone's
guess - - a safe one though, is more of the same and at all
levels of surveying.
June 25, 1995, as a result of another governmental reorganization,
the name Coast and Geodetic Survey ceased to exist. This the
second time since 1970 that such a decision has been made;
the name was revived in 1991. Whether the action is the final
disposition of a proud and highly honored name remains to
be seen. If indeed this is its fate, geodetic surveying in
the U.S. and in fact, worldwide will have lost a distinct
and continuous link to its earliest time, and a major player
in its history. A sad commentary on the mode of the day, where
apparently nothing from the past is considered worth saving.
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