Do you believe in miracles? New exhibit highlights National Weather Service support of 1980 Winter Olympic Games

This week, as part of the 40th anniversary of the XIII Olympic Winter Games in 1980, the Lake Placid Olympic Museum launched the exhibit, Foretelling the Future – The National Weather Service at the 1980 Olympic Winter Games. These Olympic Games stand out in our collective memory as the venue for the “miracle on ice,” when the U.S. hockey team beat the 4-time Olympic champions, the Soviet Union. Little do most people know, however, another kind of team was pulling off a small miracle of their own at these games. 

Meteorologist Jack May taking the ice temperature of the bobsled/luge track prior to the start of competition.
Meteorologist Jack May taking the ice temperature of the bobsled/luge track prior to the start of competition.
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NOAA preserves history of Washington, DC, with reproduced L’Enfant maps

This copper plate, named No. 3043 PRICE 45 CENTS, is one of the 3000 series of special products produced by Coast Survey’s predecessor, the Coast and Geodetic Survey. The Coast and Geodetic Survey primarily made nautical charts, but a number of maps in the 3000 series were instead maps of some thematic factor of interest (i.e., the Slaver Map, No. 3033; Glacier Bay, Alaska, No. 3095).

By Capt. Albert “Skip” Theberge (NOAA, ret.)

Research conducted by the NOAA Central Library uncovered a little known fact that NOAA Coast Survey’s skill in reproducing maps helped ensure that early maps of Washington, DC, and an interesting piece of history, weren’t lost. Coast Survey reproduced three historically significant maps from a copper plate engraving of Washington, DC, as surveyed by Pierre L’Enfant and Andrew Ellicott.
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Navigating waters before GPS: Why some mariners still refer to Loran-C

by Nick Perugini

One of the most popular recurring questions received by NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey involves customers – typically fishermen – wanting to obtain a chart with a Loran-C navigation grid on it. Here are a few inquiries from NOAA’s Nautical Inquiry & Comment System:

  • Hello, I was wondering if it is still possible to purchase or locate older editions of Lake Huron charts (14862-3-4) with the LORAN-C overlay. Many older wrecks and reported snags are still in Loran and have not been converted to GPS. Artificial algorithms are difficult to use when plotting grids. Any help you can give me is much appreciated.
  • Is it possible to access Loran-C charts of New England from prior to 2009 when NOAA stopped published with the LORAN-C lines? THANKS!
  • I was wondering if there was a way for me to buy a chart that has LORAN lines and notes on it? I understand that all of the new charts no longer have this information on them. I am most interested in Chart 11520, Cape Hatteras to Charleston. I didn’t know if there might be an archived form of this chart that shows the LORAN features. Any help in finding a chart like this would be greatly appreciated.

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New commemorative chart marks the Battle of Midway’s 75th anniversary

NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey and Office of National Marine Sanctuaries created a commemorative nautical chart for the Battle of Midway’s 75th anniversary. This nautical chart was first published in 1943, and the commemorative chart includes the original depth soundings surrounding the islands overlaid with historical photos from the battle.

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Coast Survey in World War 1: “an instant and eager response to the country’s call for help”

Wire drag 1917

On April 6, 1917, the United States declared war on Germany, in the World War that began three years earlier, when Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated. By 1918, over 30 percent of Coast and Geodetic Survey personnel were on active duty with the Army and Navy. With 272 members of the C&GS in active military service, and 5 survey vessels transferred into naval service, the Survey curtailed much of their regularly scheduled hydrographic work. Instead, personnel directed most of their energies to the assistance of the military branches, with the remaining hydrographic parties conducting special confidential surveys for the Navy Department. Continue reading “Coast Survey in World War 1: “an instant and eager response to the country’s call for help””

Coast Survey joins Florida to survey sensitive site

 One of Coast Survey’s navigation response teams (NRT) recently responded to a request by the State of Florida, who needed help surveying a submerged prehistoric archaeological site located offshore of Sarasota County. Last week’s survey and investigation were necessary to map the full extent of the site and the surrounding area. Continue reading “Coast Survey joins Florida to survey sensitive site”

It wasn’t just Jefferson. Congress initiated Coast Survey legislation, approved #OTD 210 years ago

On this date in 1807, President Thomas Jefferson approved an act to provide for surveying the coasts of the United States. NOAA has long honored Jefferson — but what of the legislators who saw the need, wrote the bill, and sent it to the president?

On December 15, 1806, Samuel W. Dana (CT) introduced a resolution instructing the House of Representatives’ Committee of Commerce and Manufactures to “inquire into the expediency of making provision for a survey of the coasts of the United States, designating the several islands, with the shoals and roads, or places of anchorage, within twenty leagues of any part of the shores of the United States.” Dana was joined in debate by Jacob Crowninshield (MA-2), the chair of the Committee of Commerce and Manufactures. Continue reading “It wasn’t just Jefferson. Congress initiated Coast Survey legislation, approved #OTD 210 years ago”

What does a zip file have to do with historic slave ship AMISTAD?

History is never completely written. There are always new discoveries, new understanding.

NOAA historian John Cloud recently sent Coast Survey an intriguing report:

Yesterday I was looking for some historic Chesapeake Bay T sheets [topography drafts]…  Anyway, down in the bottom of a folder, there was a zipped file, dated 2009, never unzipped. I thought: well, since I have noticed this now, why don’t I unzip it? It turned out to be two overly rescaled jpgs, but using my Keith Bridge tricks [a technique developed by a former Coast Survey historical chart expert] I found the two full-scale originals. It was one chart, with a small part cut off to make two separate files: the original 1838 hydrography for New Haven Harbour!

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A monumental history

On September 15, 2016, President Obama designated the first marine national monument in the Atlantic Ocean. The Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument includes two areas: one that includes four undersea mountains, called “seamounts” – Bear, Mytilus, Physalia, and Retriever; and an area that includes three undersea canyons – Oceanographer, Lydonia, and Gilbert – that cut deep into the continental shelf. These sea features have monumental histories.

Monuments map, by Leland Snyder, Office of Coast Survey
Coast Survey cartographer Leland Snyder used several data sources to create this map of the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument.

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