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Opening, Musical and Introduction
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MS: Today we pay tribute to 125 years of US Geological Survey topographic mapping, and we unveil some exciting new developments. These developments are keys to our success for the future, as we continue to be responsive to the nation’s needs for geospatial information. My name is Dr. Chuck Agrosky [ph], and I retired from the US Geological Survey from mapping in 2005. My professional background includes service with the Navy, doctoral studies, positions in the department of geography at Rutgers University, some time with the Central Intelligence Agency.

But I came here in 1981. And that was a time of some very important and difficult transitions. That was a time that we were deeply involved in finishing the 7 ˝ minute map series, which is our foundation of topographic mapping. And when we reached that goal, we began a very long and I think difficult transition. At that time we had to challenge, and through times since then, we have challenged or been challenged by a number of powerful external forces. These have included questions about the role and the scope of the federal government in many areas, including mapping, the innovation and dissemination of modern mapping technologies, GIS, GPS, web-based mapping, web-based information dissemination, and so on.

Also increasing affordability and access to mapping technologies at state and local levels, and, growing capabilities in the private sector. And finally, competition for the federal budget. All of these have had an impact on the development of our programs. So at the turn of the Millennium, we sought a new model for our topographic mapping program. The result in 2001 was the definition of the national map. And today we celebrate enhanced products and capabilities that helped to implement that vision.

Now we’re looking forward to a promising future, and it’s right that we acknowledge that we’re building on a foundation laid by the sacrifices, the successes, of literally thousands of topographers, geographers, cartographers, civil engineers, computer scientists, GIS specialists, and a host of other disciplines—printers, photographers, plate makers, and on and on. Literally thousands of people. So we’re here both to celebrate what we have accomplished today, but we remember at he same time that the foundation for these successes was laid over decades, over 125 years, by a dedicated staff.

Now this time it’s my pleasure to introduce a video welcome from Dr. Marsha McNutt, our USGS director. Dr. McNutt earned her doctorate in earth sciences from Scripps Institution [sic] of Oceanography. She most recently served as president and chief executive officer of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in Moss Landing, California. Her research has ranged from studies of ocean island volcanism in French Polynesia to continental breakup in the western United States to uplift of the Tibet plateau. We’ll hear now from Dr. McNutt.

FS: Good afternoon. I am Marsha McNutt, your newly installed 15th director of the US Geological Survey. It’s my pleasure to welcome the entire survey family, all of our employees, esteemed retirees, and distinguished visitors, to the 125th anniversary of topographic mapping at the US Geological Survey. I am extremely sorry that I can’t be here to welcome you in person this afternoon. However, I have to tell you that on the very first day that I came to the Survey, I walked in front of this wonderful display showing the changing technologies for topographic mapping, and it struck me, what a rich legacy of science is embodied in topographic mapping.

As many of you recall, during my confirmation hearing the Senators asked questions about the national map and about its progress. And I promise to you that I will give this project the attention that it deserves. I hope you all have a wonderful afternoon here today, celebrating this momentous anniversary. Again, I’m sorry I can’t be with you today, and I know this will be a glorious occasion.

MS: Our thanks to Dr. McNutt for her commitment to the topographic mapping program and for her very welcoming words. Now we’re in for a special treat. It provides a punctuation point, an emphasis, if you will, on the importance that we place on today’s event. Joining us today for our celebration is the concert chorale from the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, DC. This prestigious public school provides professional arts training and college preparation to almost 500 students in grades 9 through 12.

Students are admitted to the school through a highly competitive process and great demands are placed on them. They must earn one-third more credits than those at other DC public high schools. Ninety-nine percent of the students graduate on time and more than 95% are accepted to highly competitive universities and conservatories. The concert chorale performs at numerous events, including in January of this year, inauguration ceremonies for President Barack Obama at the one voice concert at the Lincoln Memorial.

The choir is led by Mr. Samuel Bonds. Let’s give Mr. Bonds and this incredibly talented group a warm and appreciative welcome. [applause]


Title: Opening, Musical and Introduction


On December 3, 2009, more than 300 people gathered at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) headquarters in Reston, Virginia, to celebrate the 125th anniversary of USGS topographic mapping. The ceremony opened with a special production by Duke Ellington School of the Arts Concert Chorale, and continued with presentations featuring discussions:

  • on the benefits of topographic maps,
  • the history of USGS topographic mapping,
  • the announcement of the new USGS digital topographic map product (US Topo)
  • the introduction of the new National Map Viewer  
  • advise on future directions from Dr. David Cowan
  • and concluded with some special award presentations and a display of historic pictures and artifacts

Location: Reston, VA, USA

Date Taken: 12/3/2009

Length: 23:23

Video Producer: U.S. Geological Survey

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