National Geographic : 1897 Oct
GEOGRAPHICAL RESEARCH IN THE UNITED STATES 293 eral wealth, have conducted geological surveys, or perhaps it should be said geological reconnaissances. Two have conducted topographic surveys and four have cooperated with the general government in making topographic surveys. These four, Mas sachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New Jersey, as also the District of Columbia, are now completely mapped on a scale of one mile to the inch and in contours with a vertical interval of 20 feet. The Post Office Department, for its own purposes in adminis tering the 70,000 post-offices under its control, compiles state maps showing post-routes and political divisions. The bound ary lines shown on these maps are compiled from the laws and by correspondence, and constitute an authentic source of infor mation as to minor boundaries. Allusion has been made to the work of the Fish Commission in studying the character, habits, and migrations of marine life, and by its side should be mentioned the similar work on land carried on by the Biological Survey in the Department of Agri culture. Of the great advances in geographic knowledge resulting from the explorations of Lewis and Clarke near the beginning of the century; from the work of Fremont, the Pathfinder; from the Pacific Railroad surveys of 50 years ago, and from numerous military expeditions, time fails for more than a bare mention. These, then, are the greater geographic agencies of the United States. Some of them will be presented to you more at large by the gentlemen actually conducting the works outlined. As to the future, it will easily appear that the amount already achieved is but a small part of what remains to be done. Geo graphic research and progress in the United States has never been swifter or more active than it is today, and knowledge of environment and resources is gathered in large installments each year. To discover and develop its resources the United States is now employing about 5,000 persons and expending nearly $8,000,000 annually. Just as the Royal Geographical Society of London began sixty-seven years ago its work of fostering and promoting geographic research, so the National Geographic So ciety of Washington nine years ago entered upon similar work. Great and lasting good has resulted from each undertaking. May their efforts continue till dark continents and unexplored regions shall have vanished from our maps.