National Geodetic Survey

This essay discusses the National Geodetic Survey under various topics, such as its history, current application and use, challenges encountered now and expected in the future, the equipment that is needed for its operation and associated costs, latest news, among others. The National Geodetic Survey could be defined as a federal agency of the United States government that is tasked with the definition and management of the national coordinate system. The information garnered from this service is important and used by various departments and sectors of the government, such as transport and communication, engineering projects, mapping and many others. The National Geodetic Survey is a program that has been in existence for a long time, since it addresses an issue that has been important for ages. As an agency in the USA, it has existed for a long time, but under different names.

As has been stated earlier, the National Geodetic Survey has been in existence for many years. This year (2012) is the 205th year of its operation. The National Geodetic Survey was founded under a different name, the United States Coast Survey in 1807 by the U.S. Congress at that time. It was created in order to survey the coast (NOAA). At that time it promoted international trade and in its own way represented the administration of scientific interest. Its scope was increased during the administration of President Jackson (Howe, Daniel W). A large contribution to the development of the agency was made by F.R. Hassler after the First World War. He employed triangulation in his system. The U.S. Navy and the U.S. Army had been in charge of the program till 1832, when Hassler was reinstated as the agency’s head. A lot of progress was made by Professor Alexander Dallas Bache, whose term began in 1843 and involved expanding the survey work southwards to the Florida Keys and also the institution of a proper and organized method of studying the Gulf Stream and its tides. By this time the scope of the agency has been very broad involving several fields and the publication of articles by several people, such as the article by Charles S. Pierce on statistics (Pierce & Sanders). The Pillsbury current meter was invented during this time and has been still in use. One famous oceanography ship at the present time is named George S. Blake. During the American Civil War the agency leant more towards the Union providing valuable information in battles. In 1871 its mandate was expanded and included interior geodetic surveys. The agency’s name was changed into the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey. In 1965 it was placed under the Environmental Science Services Administration, which later was changed into the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration with the National Geodetic Survey as a constituent part as it currently is.

The data gathered by the National Geodetic Survey have been used by both persons and the government. The use of this data varies widely and has to do with the parties that use it. One of the uses is in the form of Survey Mark Datasheets. This falls under the agency’s mission to provide information on survey control to the public. It includes information about features, such as latitudes and longitudes, gravity and height. Another use of these data is for GPS (Global Positioning System) both CORS and Real-Time. This particular use is increasingly becoming important, as time goes on and the popularity of personal GPS devices increases, especially during travelling. It also provides information in the form of aerial images in emergency situations, particularly during approaching storms as a part of Emergency Response Imagery. These data have been used in several occasions, such as Hurricane Irene, North Dakota Flooding, Hurricane Ike, Hurricane Rita to name but a few. Aerial images taken by the agency have other uses, such as the geographical visualization of the coast and other features, which are important for planning and navigation. It also provides aeronautical data. This is in agreement with the Federal Aviation Administration providing information on airport geodetic control obstruction, runway and navigation aid for the National Airspace Systems’ operation. These data are used as Antenna Calibration Data usually for navigation and broadcasting procedures. It could also be in the form of Gravity Data and Orbit Data for various purposes mainly in the aerospace industry (Schwarz).



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