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Gold, Glory, and — HYDRO!

Gold, Glory, and — HYDRO!

This month marks the 555th anniversary of the death of Prince Henry of Portugal, known as the Navigator, on 13 November 1460. Henry had set in motion a series of events that led to...

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Unravelling the Ridge and Rift

Unravelling the Ridge and Rift

Following Maurice Ewing’s first cruise to the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, two more were made by the end of the 1940s. The first of these was led by Ewing while the second was led by...

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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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The Siboga Expedition

The Siboga Expedition

The Indonesian archipelago is one of the world’s most beautiful archipelagos. Home to over 17,000 islands, mountains rising to over 5,000 metres, including over 70 historical...

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History Selection

As it Was

As it Was

Two famous scientists, Charles Darwin (1809-82) and John Murray (1841-1914) differed greatly as to how tropical atolls had assumed their unique structure: a shallow lagoon surround...

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As it Was

As it Was

European hydrographers surveying distant waters in the 18th and 19th centuries whenever possible used the native names for the features on their charts. When communication with loc...

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Seeking a Rift

Seeking a Rift

In 1953, Hans Pettersson published Westward Ho with the Albatross, a popular account of his around-the-world scientific cruise on the Swedish sailing ship Albatross. In it he state...

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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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The Hydrography of the Former Zuiderzee

The Hydrography of the Former Zuiderzee

The 32km-long dam called the Afsluitdijk, separating what was then the Zuiderzee from the North Sea, was completed in the Netherlands in 1932. It transformed the Zuiderzee from a l...

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Getting to California

Getting to California

During the California Gold Rush, many people from around the world left everything behind - including their jobs - to seek their fortune in California. A copy of one of the more in...

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'As it Was'

'As it Was'

Sir Robert Dudley was born in 1574 but his birth was kept secret from Queen Elizabeth, for she would have been enraged had she heard that her favourite courtier, the Earl of Leices...

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Introducing Capt. Skip Theberge

Introducing Capt. Skip Theberge

Although this is my second effort at contributing to the History column, I would like to use this issue’s column to introduce myself to the readership of Hydrointernational....

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History Selection

Charting the Data

Charting the Data

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

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As it Was

As it Was

In the aftermath of the First World War Germany was made to deliver most of its warships to the allies. The gunboat Meteor, lying at a yard in Gdansk (Danzig), was excused under th...

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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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The Making of an Earth Measurer

The Making of an Earth Measurer

In the April 2009 issue of Hydrointernational, Carl Aslakson was mentioned as having devised a method of determining the velocity of light by using Shoran (short-range navigation)....

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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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Portland Harbour

Portland Harbour

A progressive spirit was awakening in the United States in the mid-nineteenth century. This movement was notable for emphasis on education reform, prison reform, women’s suff...

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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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History Selection

Heaven Descended to Earth

Heaven Descended to Earth

At the dawn of the nineteenth century, France, like every other nation, regarded shipwrecks as an inevitable downside of maritime life. There were fewer than 20 lighthouses dotting...

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‘As it Was’

‘As it Was’

At my interview for a job at Canadian Hydrographic Service, I had to answer all the usual sort of questions posed to me by two very formidable men. Finally, the time came to speak...

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Pioneer Surveyor

Pioneer Surveyor

George Davidson, whose name is indelibly connected with the survey of the West Coast of the United States, spent most of the sixty-one years between 1850 and 1911 in service to the...

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As it Was

As it Was

That Dieppe was a major centre of hydrographic progress in the 16th Century was recently chronicled in this Column (see Hydro international 2002 Vol. 6 No. 2). David Ross, a Scot,...

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Bilby Towers

Bilby Towers

The great classical continent-spanning geodetic networks of the Nineteenth and Twentieth centuries had two major obstacles to overcome – distance and the curvature of the Ear...

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Deep-sea Soundings from Boats

Deep-sea Soundings from Boats

During the pioneering years of deep-sea sounding, it became apparent that sounding from a sailing vessel often gave improbable results because of the drift of the vessel and the in...

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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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New York Harbour

New York Harbour

The greatest of the Coast Survey mid-nineteenth century harbour studies was that of New York Harbour. In 1855, the Commissioners on Harbor Encroachments of New York requested that...

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The Titanic Disaster and Its Aftermath

The Titanic Disaster and Its Aftermath

In the night of 14 April 1912, the unthinkable happened. The mightiest ship afloat, the brand new White Star Line ship Titanic, was on its maiden voyage from Southampton, England,...

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