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Captain Oliver S. Reading,
the newly appointed Chief of the Division of Photogrammetry, has a oliver readinglong and imposing record of achievement in this field. The Meritorious Service Award presented to him by the Department of Commerce in February 1949 stated in part: "Captain Reading alone in this Bureau had the vision to foresee the great advantages of the use of aerial photographs in mapping, and by his persistence...brought aerial photogrametric procedures more and more into use in the Bureau. He is one of the pioneers in the field of photogrammetry and is one of the charter members and was most instrumental in the formation of the American Society of Photogrammetry which now has over 1,500 members. (Captain Reading was President of this Society in 1935, and has served on most of its committees.) Captain Reading has followed the developments of photogrammetry in Europe and today probably has more complete knowledge of the methods, practices, and instruments used every where in the United States. The State Department appointed him President of the American Delegation that attended the meeting of the International Society of Photogrammetry at the Hague in September 1948, and he was elected President of that Society at the Meeting." Captain Reading has designed much of the equipment in use in the Bureau, including the Ruling Machine and the large precise copy camera in the Division of Charts, and the 9-lens camera, transforming printer, rectifying camera, and Reading Plotter in the Division of Photogrammetry. He is now engaged in the design of a Coordinate Setting Machine for the Air Force for use in the Aircraft Manufacturing Industry.

August 2, 1894 - April 10, 1984

Captain Oliver S. Reading was born in West Falls, New York, and was graduated from Lane Technical High School in Chicago, Illinois. He entered on duty with the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey on July 1, 1915, and became one of the U. S. Coast and Geodetic Survey commissioned service, predecessor of the NOAA Corps. At the time of his retirement on September 1, 1954, Captain Reading was Chief of Photogrammetry, Coast and Geodetic Survey.

Captain Reading's early field assignments with the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey included hydrographic and geodetic surveying along the coasts of the United States and throughout the Philippine Islands. His sea service was continuous from 1915 to 1928. Following this he went on to gain international recognition as an expert in the field of photogrammetry and was a pioneer in instrument development for this purpose. Among his major achievements was the invention of a special 9-lens aerial camera, principally for surveys in Alaska. He played a major role in coordinating aerial photogrammetric procedures into the charting activities of the Coast and Geodetic Survey. As a result of his valuable contributions to science, he was awarded the 1947 Department of Commerce Silver Medal for Meritorious Service.

Captain Reading was one of the principal organizers of the American Society of Photogrammetry. He served as Chairman of the American Delegation to the 5th International Congress on Photogrammetry and the 6th International Congress of Surveyors in Rome during 1938.He wrote numerous papers dealing with photogrammetry. He held membership in many scientific and technical organizations including being a member of the council of the International Society of Photogrammetry and was an honorary life member of both the International and the American Societies of Photogrammetry.

He is survived by his wife of 60 years, the former Martha C. Gothard, and two children, a daughter, Martha R. Luria, and a son, Dr. George P. Reading.

Vol 17, No 43, 10/25/49

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

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