National Geographic : 1903 Jan
THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE for correction, or disallows, under the Superintendent's direction, all items of expenditures irregular in form or in con travention of law or regulations, and refers to the Comptroller of the Treas ury for decision all questions of law in volving a payment to be made by him. The editor, reporting to the Superin tendent, compiles the administrative part of the annual report and acts as editor in connection with all other pub lications of the Survey except the charts. THE EXTENSION OF FIELD WORK The acquisition of Florida and Oregon in 1819 and of Texas and California soon after the reorganization of the Survey before described vastly extended the operations, and in view of the de sirability of connecting the surveys of the Pacific and Atlantic coasts, a trans continental triangulation was authorized in 1871. Eight years later, in recogni tion of one of its functions, the name of the organization was changed to that of Coast and Geodetic Survey. When Alaska was purchased in 1867 the charting of its vast and intricate shore line was added to the duties of the Survey, and still more recently, in con formity with and in pursuance of the established policy, its labors were ex tended, to use the phraseology of the law, to all " the coasts under the juris diction of the United States," in order to include Porto Rico, Hawaii, Guam, the Samoan Islands, and the Philippines. The plan of reorganization contem plated a chain of triangles along the coasts which should unite and coordi nate all the local surveys. Astronomical observations were to fix the geographical position of the triangulation, and the differences of longitude between some of principal stations and Europe were to be determined. The topography was to be carried in land as far as would subserve the pur- poses of commerce and defense, and, resting upon the data thus obtained, soundings were to be made along the shores and seaward to insure the safety of commerce. Such was the simple scheme, but there were inherent in it certain requirements for the accomplish ment of which extended researches in many branches of science were needed, and there were inherent in it also possi bilities for greater usefulness to the na tion and the world than the mere attain ment of the immediate objects sought. It was foreseen that the triangulation if carried out with sufficient care would ultimately form the basis of a national trigonometric survey. The great ex tent of territory to be covered indicated that the triangulation would be used to determine the size and figure of the earth, which is the ultimate base of di mensional astronomy. The need of compasses on the charts compelled the determination of at least one of the elements of the earth's magnetism and a study of the law of its variation. The rise and fall of tides required observa tions along the coasts which would dis close the law of their periodicity in order that predictions could be made long in advance; a needful regard to bench marks to which the tides were referred would betray the subsidence or rise of the land. Observations on tidal and ocean currents were needful to supple ment the other information on the charts. The determination of astro nomical positions required the perfec tion of existing star places, and thus practical astronomy was stimulated, and when the importance of the geodetic function of the Survey was recognized by law, the pendulum, by means of which the figure of the earth can be determined, was employed in gravity research. Deep-sea soundings and incidental physical observations and dredgings contributed no little to our knowledge of marine life.