National Geographic October 1888, Part 3

After only a year and however-many days, I finally finished this issue on January 27, 2016.  I did the first article while getting in almost four miles of walking at the Leon Creek Greenway.  I had a few minutes left on the second article when I finished walking, so I listened to it in the car on my way to my next errand.

The Survey of the Coast, by Herbert G. Ogden

We start this article with a history lesson about the Coast and Geodetic Survey, which was authorized by Thomas Jefferson in 1807.  When Jefferson authorized it, it was called “The US Survey of the Coast,” at the time this article was written, it went by the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey, and since 1970 it has been known as the US National Geodetic Survey. This is one of the hazards of writing on articles written over a hundred years ago.

We get entirely too much technical information, which is great for the original intended audience, but seems a bit much for the casual reader.  I did find interesting, however, that the survey, however named at the time, were put in charge of defining our measurement system. The final data had to be understandable by anyone who read it, so the Survey defined all measurements, not just the ones that they were using, including the pound.

The Survey and Map of Massachusetts, by Henry Gannett

The Survey and Map of Massachusetts begins inauspiciously with the text of the law authorizing the survey and pretty much stays in that kind of dry mode until the bitter end. If you want to know how many square miles of Massachusetts were surveyed using the traverse method, this article’s for you.

Next up in the gripping world of National Geographic in the 1800s, (possibly I will begin listening to this one on January 30, but I might not, since I have a bit of a sore throat and might be coming down with something), Volume 1, Number 2, from April 1889, which includes National Geographic’s first trip to Africa.

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