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Home arrow Archives   The American Surveyor     

Trucks—The Early Years Print E-mail
Written by Albert "Skip" Theberge   
Thursday, 20 June 2013

A 4.750Mb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine—complete with images—is available by clicking HERE

One of the great enabling technologies of surveyors in the early Twentieth Century was the small truck. The Coast and Geodetic Survey acquired its first trucks in 1913 and never looked back. Soon trucks were crossing rivers and deserts, climbing mountains, traveling through swamps, forests, and corn fields. The early use of trucks was complicated by lack of roads, the necessity to conduct maintenance and repairs in the field, and lack of adequate support facilities. All of these obstacles were overcome as the surveyors made their own roads, pulled themselves out of sand and mud, and took their trucks where no truck was meant to go. The following images can only give an impression of the conditions met by those using this new technology a century ago.

Albert "Skip" Theberge served as a NOAA Corps officer for 27 years prior to retirement in 1995. During that period he was primarily engaged in nautical charting and seafloor mapping but also served a stint in geodesy working on the Transcontinental Traverse project during the 1970s. For the past 15 years he has worked as a research librarian at the NOAA Central Library and has produced a number of historical works related to the Coast and Geodetic Survey (C&GS) and seafloor mapping. He also produced the NOAA History website (www.history.noaa.gov) and the NOAA Photo Library (www.photolib.noaa.gov) which includes thousands of historic photos related to the work of the C&GS.

A 4.750Mb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine—complete with images—is available by clicking HERE

 
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