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Awards Presentation
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MS: Well, we started the day by talking about the history of the topographic program. Talked about some of the new products. We also mentioned something about the dedication and commitment of a number of employees that work in this area. So now’s the time to get an opportunity to step back and reflect upon some of the outstanding contributions by several individuals who through their actions have merited these awards. We heard Mark earlier talk about Henry Gannet. And as a part of this celebration, we’re going to establish the first annual Henry Gannet award. And I want to talk a little about that.

This marks the first annual presentation of the Henry Gannet award. USGS has created the award to recognize on an annual basis the specially distinguished contributions to the topographic mapping of the nation. Although the name Henry Gannet is not very well known, it certainly should be, especially in mapping circles. And as we heard from Mark’s presentation, he’s often called the father of American topographic mapping. As a key member of the Hayden survey of the American West in 1871, Gannet recognized the vital importance of geography as a versatile cornerstone of other sciences.

From the USGS director John Wesley Powell, Gannet was appointed as the survey’s first geographer in 1882, and he served in that capacity until 1914. Henry Gannet oversaw the production of the first topographic mapped streets, instituting both map standards and standard operating procedures that began a tradition of efficient production, high accuracy and broad utility in survey topographic maps. I invite you to read Henry’s other accomplishments that are noted in your program. Thus it’s entirely fitting that the Survey’s highest award for the mapping excellence should bring together the name of the recipient of the award and the name of Henry Gannet.

We are pleased to make this first presentation of the Henry Gannet Award to Roberta Carroll of the US Forest Service. Known in the mapping community as Robin, Miss Carroll is the director of the Forest Service’s Geospatial Service and Technology Center in Salt Lake City. The Center provides the Forest Service with geographic information products and an array of related technical and training services. Under her direction, the Forest Service contributes to topographic mapping of the nation through exchanges of digital elevation and imagery data with the USGS, mapping areas covered by the national forests and grasslands.

Few people realize that these areas cover approximately nine percent of the nation. By using a common standard developed with USGS, these maps contribute to the detailed topographic map coverage of the nation in providing road and other data to the USGS to ensure that the national map has the most current information available for forest service lands. Her leadership ensures that the nation has current and accurate topographic mapping data, saves taxpayers money by reducing duplication, and provides an example of cooperation throughout the mapping community.

Robin’s actions continue a proud tradition of cooperation between the Forest Service and the USGS that dates from the early 1900s. Please join me in congratulating Robin, the first recipient of the Henry Gannet Award. [applause]

FS: I am truly humbled and stunned. There’s a lot of people in this room that can keep a secret. And I’d like to share it with all those in the Forest Service and the Geological Survey who have worked so hard over the years to make this partnership successful. Thank you so very much. [applause]

MS: The next award is for topographic employee recognition. We are also taking advantage of this occasion to recognize the diligent innovative work of our past and current mapping employees, people whose hands have created topographic maps for the nation. In testimony on December 4th, 1884, 125 years ago from tomorrow, John Wesley Powell reminded the Congress that to carry out the USGS mission, and I quote, “Topography goes first.” Since that time, our employees have mapped all corners of the nation, from Point Barrow in Alaska to Kilauea in Hawaii, and from Peak Island, Alaska, to Sail Rock, in Maine, as well as US commonwealth and territories, Antarctica, and foreign lands.

We estimate that their work represents more than 35 million hours of work. Their efforts have often occurred at great personal sacrifice during times of peace and times of war, during good economic times and bad, and during the days and months spent away from families. And their families have also sacrificed, waiting for them to return home from distant lands, and sometimes pulling up stakes to travel with them. While the techniques they use change, from pack mules and transits of yesteryear to remote sensing and computers of today to crowd sourcing and antilogy [ph] driven applications of tomorrow, we never forget our purpose of providing content, accurate and complete topographic information to meet the needs of the nation.

On behalf of the work force, we have three individuals receiving the award. Roy Mullen, who represents employees who are no longer employed by USGS. Roy was an assistant division chief who oversaw the topographic mapping program and a respected member of the nation’s mapping community. Representing current and future employees are Randy [ph] McCash and Richard Shields, who were elected to be with us today by their co-workers in our production operations in Rolla, Missouri and Denver. Please join me in honoring these individuals and all USGS employees who contribute to topographic mapping [inaud]. [applause]

MS: When I was approached about two months ago to, as to whether or not we can accept this award in behalf of the people who worked in the topographic mapping program of the Geological Survey, I of course immediately said yes. And I thought back to the people. Why me, first of all. And I did have one-third of my career of these 125 years were spent in Geological Survey and its topographic mapping. When I came to work there were more than a handful of individuals who were veterans of the first World War who were still working at the Survey, so I represent those people as well.

And I represent all of those who walked across the land, who rode the buggies across the land, drove the vehicles, and I’m proud to represent those men and women who made such significant contributions to the topographic mapping program of the United States. I always remember more than one of our directors, when they would come and talk to us, and they would always have this comment to say: “I was at a party, I was somewhere, I was this place, that place, and when they found out that I worked for the Geological Survey, they said, oh, you’re the people that make those wonderful maps.”

And that’s the truth. I’m proud to represent those people and to have the two gentlemen with me who represent the two regional operations where the National Geospatial Program is still being conducted. I wanted to say one other thing. When I, I found one time someone was discarding a rules and regulations of the Geological Survey, 1911. I still have that in my possession. And in it the work of the Geological Survey was divided into three branches: the branch of geology, the branch of water resources, and the topographic branch, which was in turn divided into divisions.

The topographic branch had divisions and those divisions were actually the geographic locations of the Atlantic, Central, Rocky and Pacific. Terminology has all changed. We went back to divisions. We were the topographic division. We were the national mapping division. And now we’re the National Geospatial Program, not division. So, again, it’s a pleasure for me to accept this award on behalf of all of those individuals, those men and women who contributed significantly to the program of topographic mapping the United States. Thank you.

MS: I’m not going to be that long. I just want to say thank you on behalf of the Denver group of employees and they’re a very proud group of people. And thank you for selecting me to come up here to accept his award for [applause].

MS: I’m just very proud and honored to represent the people in Rolla[ph], Missouri, at the National Geospatial Technical Operations Center, and just accept this award on behalf of their hard work and dedication to the national mapping program. Thank you very much. [applause]

MS: I think I’d be remiss—I don’t have any more awards here to announce, but I think I would be remiss if I didn’t mention a couple of things. One, several years ago it was our previous director, Mark Myers, who felt it was important that we do something about the national map. And he asked us to take another look at where we were going and what we could do to rejuvenate it and bring it to life, as we’ve heard today. And I think you all played testimony to two individuals here who are really responsible for the major leadership that helped us do that, to turn things around and bring it back to life.

And, you know, we heard Mark Demulder, we heard Kari Craun talk and show you what we’ve been doing and proudly talk about it. We’ve heard people here from Rolla and Denver talk about the pride with which they have in the program today. And I think it’s, it’s the result of these two individuals in particular who’ve really brought us back to life and put the national map back on target again. So I would personally like to acknowledge my pride and gratitude for the work that they’ve done, both of them, and ask them if they would stand up and take another applause. [applause]

MS: Well, special thanks again to Dave for those who have made presentations, who have not only entertained us but also informed us. We owe a special thanks today to the many staff members, and there are quite a number of them, who have worked for weeks, literally, months, perhaps, to organize and provide the complicated logistics, and they are indeed complicated, that underlie and support an event such as this. And we really appreciate their efforts and their dedication and hard work. Now I invite you to move to the Art hallway in just a second for refreshments and to socialize.

Please be sure to take some time to view the exhibits and the videos. These are located in the hallway surrounding the auditorium and in the Art hallway which is to my right. And there is a guest book. We sure appreciate your signature and your comments and recollections as well as your video recollections, if you care to do that. There are copies of publications for you in the Art hallway. And not last but least, there is cake and punch. And I would just ask the speakers and the awards’ recipients to remain in the auditorium for a minute for photographs.

Well, thank you again for being here. It’s been a great day. It’s a great commemoration. We look forward to socializing with you and renewing old acquaintances. [applause]


Title: Awards Presentation


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: 13:46

Video Producer: U.S. Geological Survey

Note: This video has been released into the public domain by the U.S. Geological Survey for use in its entirety. Some videos may contain pieces of copyrighted material. If you wish to use a portion of the video for any purpose, other than for resharing/reposting the video in its entirety, please contact the Video Producer/Videographer listed with this video. Please refer to the USGS Copyright section for how to credit this video.


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