National Geographic : 1896 May
GEOGRAPHICLITERATURE marking the speed trial course in Long Island sound, and the other for a survey on a large scale of the vicinity of the dry dock at Port Orchard, Puget sound. Assistants were detailed during the year at the request of the Governor of Virginia for surveys of the Virginia oyster beds, and i special survey of the Fox islands, Chesapeake bay, for the settlement of some questions of riparian rights, and at the request of the Commissioner of Fish and Fisheries to make further examination of the oyster beds in Mobile bay and vicinity. The detail of an assistant for the Massachusetts State town boundary survey also continued during the greater part of the year. The surveys for the location of the boundary between Alaska and British Columbia, that have been conducted by the Superintendent for several years past in his capacity as commissioner on the part of the United States, were continued during the season of available working weather, and the parties organized in the spring of 1895 completed all the work necessary for the compilation of the maps required. Under the head of special surveys, mention is also made of the act of Congress of August 1, 1894, requiring the Superintendent to lay out a circle around the new Naval Observatory for the deflection of the street extensions of the city; the work was duly completed and the results with maps show ing location delivered to the Navy Department. The report of operations in the office is given in great detail. The pub lications of the Survey relate essentially to the navigation of the coasts of the United States; but in the preparation of the tide tables for the new year a commendable departure seems to have been made by includ ing predictions for the principal ports of the world. Seventy-five new charts were issued and one hundred and twenty-eight charts were revised and reissued. The new chart publications complete the series of the Atlantic and Gulf coasts on the uniform scale of 1:400,000, designed especially for the use of navigators, and the series on the coast of Maine on the large scale of 1: 40,000, designed for the safe navigation of the in tricate passages of that broken and rock-bound coast. The distribution of charts during the year is reported at 51,456 copies, more than half the number having been sold by the agents in the principal maritime cities. There were also distributed 114,000 copies of the monthly notices to mari ners, describing the important hydrographic developments and changes in aids to navigation on the coasts of the United States. The " Bureau of Standard Weights and Measures," which is also under the direction of the Superintendent of the Survey, reports that duplicate sets of standards had been furnished the states of North and South Dakota, besides the customary routine work. Reference is also made to the new Kilo balance of precision recently obtained by the Bureau. It is a dupli cate of the balance of the International Bureau and is the second brought to this country. The other is in the Smithsonian Institution and was used by Professor Morley in the determination of atomic weights. The special features of these balances are auxiliary devices which enable the observer to note the oscillations of the beam from a distance and to inter change the weights upon the scale-pans without approaching the balance. The probable error of a single weighing with a load of one kilogramme is only ± 0m.0236.