Albert E. Theberge
Biography

Albert E. Theberge (Skip)'s career as a coast surveyor followed a somewhat ­traditional path. He graduated from the Colorado School of Mines in 1969 as a Geological Engineer and entered ESSA Corps, a descendant organ­isation of the commissioned service of the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey. In 1970 this became NOAA Corps with the formation of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) within the US Department of Commerce. He retired from NOAA Corps in late 1995, with field stops along the way including four NOAA survey ships, a few field parties involved in such matters as astronomic latitude and longitude, levelling, and the transcontinental traverse, a mobile hydrographic field unit, and two years as a participant on academic research cruises from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography involved in early multi-beam and deep tow ROV work. Every now and then he was able to settle somewhere such as the National Geophysical Data Center in Boulder (CO, USA), where he was engaged in mapping geothermal energy resources of western states. He later headed NOAA’s Exclusive Economic Zone mapping project out of NOAA headquarters in Maryland, an early civil example of use of multi-beam systems for large-scale sea-floor mapping. His interest in the history of both the old Coast Survey and the history of our profession stems from my stint at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography between 1982 and 1984, when it became embarrassingly apparent to him how woefully ignorant he was of the history of his own agency and the history of hydrography in general. During that assignment, and due to the inspira­tion of Dr Fred Spiess (1919–2006) who was his immediate superior at Scripps (known to some of you as the Father of Deep Tow and the designer of the acoustic research platform FLIP), he resolved to learn all he could of our collective history.

Since retiring from NOAA Corps, he has been affiliated with the NOAA Central Library where he is acting head of reference.  In that capacity he has built the NOAA Photo Library and NOAA History websites. He has also remained active in the ocean community having served on the Advisory Committee for Undersea Features of the United States Board on Geographic Names and its international counterpart GEBCO SCUFN. Among ancillary duties at the Library, he was part of the NOAA science team that designed the Sant Ocean Hall of the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, spearheaded NOAA’s 200th Anniversary celebration in 2007, and has provided historical information for this year’s celebration of the 100th Anniversary of NOAA Corps. He has written over 80 articles on the history of hydrography, oceanography, and geodetic surveying over the past twenty years. Among awards he has received are the United States Department of Commerce Gold Medal and the NOAA Distinguished Career Award. 

 

Articles

Pursuing Accuracy

The profession of hydrographer is built upon measurement accuracy. Ever since Lucas Janszoon Waghenaer produced the first true nautical charts in 1584, hydrographers have been working to improve the accuracy of their measurements. For anyone fortunate enough to have reviewed Waghenaer’s atlas,... (read more)
SEAEXPLORER Underwater Glider

SEAEXPLORER Underwater Glider

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