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A Casualty of War

A Casualty of War

In 1899, a new ship was launched at the Crescent Shipyard in Elizabethport, New Jersey, USA. This vessel was a Coast and Geodetic Survey ship designed and constructed for rugged se...

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The Northern Barrage

The Northern Barrage

Historically, perhaps the naval discipline most related to the work and skills of the hydrographer is naval mine warfare. Successful implementation requires knowledge of the config...

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History Selection

'As it Was'

'As it Was'

The history of charting the estuary of a navigable river to enable shipping to safely enter port is inevitably long and continuing as the channels, and the shoals which confine the...

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'As it Was'

'As it Was'

On 14th October 2004 a large French flag was lowered to reveal the name <i>Pourqui-Pas?</i> on the hull of a magnificent new ocean survey ship which will be jointly ope...

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Horses, Hydrographers and Hypsography

Horses, Hydrographers and Hypsography

Administrative officers, long experienced in studying estimates of the various field parties engaged in hydrographic work, were somewhat surprised to see an estimate submitted by t...

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System Without Fixed Points

System Without Fixed Points

Radio-acoustic-ranging (RAR) navigation, developed within the US Coast and Geodetic Survey (C&GS), was the very first survey-quality navigation system that did not need to see...

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The Bering Sea Survey

The Bering Sea Survey

1939 marked the beginning of a concerted programme to chart the Bering Sea area. The surveys in this area that were conducted prior to United States entry into the Second World War...

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Pathfinder

Pathfinder

In the Second World War, the Pacific was poorly charted, and the Navy would require the services of a cadre of hydrographers to rapidly survey areas of tactical and strategic inter...

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Past Practitioners

Past Practitioners

Despite bitter experiences in earlier conflicts, it was not until the French Revolutionary War was in full swing that Britain established a very small ‘Hydrographical Office’ to or...

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History Selection

'As it was'

'As it was'

With uniting of German Nations into the 'Kaiserreich' in 1871 marine affairs became a dominant factor in foreign policy. Already in 1861 the Prussian Naval Ministry had established...

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Challenger: the Life of a Survey Ship

Challenger: the Life of a Survey Ship

With this publication, the author – George Stephen Ritchie, founder and first editor of this column – marked himself as a noted maritime historian and, particularly, a...

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As it Was

As it Was

I was in command of the British surveying ship HMS Challenger in 1951 during a world voyage, with geophysicists Tom Gaskell and John Swallow onboard, to measure by seismic methods...

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‘As it Was’

‘As it Was’

The long history of the charting of the waters off the west coast of Ireland, including Galway Bay, began in the 16th century. It may be said to be culminating with the current Nat...

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As it Was

As it Was

Above my desk hangs an ageing annotated photograph of a beautiful surveying ship which recalls a visit by the Directing Committee of the I.H.B. to Genoa in the Centenary Year of th...

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The Drifters

The Drifters

“Although the Currents of the Ocean form a most important part of hydrography, yet it is only since the introduction of chronometers, and of celestial observations for the lo...

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'As it Was'

'As it Was'

In 2004 the Royal Netherlands Navy for the third time in 75 years named one of two newly constructed hydrographic survey ships <i>Snellius</i>. Willebrord Snel van Roye...

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In Advance of the Infantry

In Advance of the Infantry

During World War II, a primary component of the success of American artillery was knowledge of United States artillery location, enemy target location and the direction to that tar...

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Mountains in the Sea II

Mountains in the Sea II

As noted in the previous issue of Hydro International, at least 200 seamounts had been discovered prior to the Second World War. The advent of acoustic sounding systems and the eff...

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As it Was

As it Was

In 1955 exploitable areas of ironwood were discovered near the North West River, in the south of former Netherlands New Guinea. Transport by coastal vessel became a problem when th...

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History Selection

The Survey of the Philippine Islands

The Survey of the Philippine Islands

Following the Spanish–American War, the Philippine Islands became a US Protectorate. Consequently, the US Coast and Geodetic Survey commenced providing this vast archipelago...

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Life and Death of a Survey Ship

Life and Death of a Survey Ship

Great ships seem to develop a personality and sometimes even seem to be conscious beings with a life of their own. Such was the Coast and Geodetic Survey Steamer Carlile P. Patters...

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An Early Search for Vigias

An Early Search for Vigias

In the era before the global positioning system and other reliable navigation aids, many imaginary and sometimes real features whose positions were grossly in error were found on c...

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What’s in a Name? Part 2 - Vidal

What’s in a Name? Part 2 - Vidal

Part 1 dealt with HMS Owen and the redoubtable nineteenth century hydrographer and explorer after whom she had been named. That Summer of 1953 the second of the two British surveyi...

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Aircraft Lost at Sea

Aircraft Lost at Sea

With the growth of air traffic following the First World War, it was inevitable that aircraft would be lost over the oceans. It was equally inevitable that hydrographers would be c...

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A Lucky Ship – A Lucky Man

A Lucky Ship – A Lucky Man

On 3 December 1941, the US Coast and Geodetic Survey (C&GS) Ship Explorer was conducting operations northeast of Midway Island in the central Pacific Ocean. Approximately 800 m...

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'As it Was'

'As it Was'

It is hard to imagine today that there was once a time when no side scan or multi-beam sonar existed to cover the entire sea bottom. Even after the echo sounder had taken the place...

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'As it Was'

'As it Was'

In 1958 Commander Hunt MBE, RN was about to undertake a survey in HMNZS <i>Lachlan</i> to complete NZ Chart 61, which included part of the rugged West Coast of the Sout...

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The Arctic Field Party

The Arctic Field Party

It seems ironic that in the early stages of the Cold War, the United States Government sent surveyors and hydrographic engineers to the coldest reaches of the North American contin...

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