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Commemorative Markers Celebrate
U.S. Forest Service Centennial, Calais Observatory

NOAA image of NOAA Heritage Trail disk.July 2, 2005 NOAA marks the Fourth of July holiday weekend with the dedication of a pair of geodetic commemorative markers celebrating two significant milestones in the nation's history—the 100th anniversary of the U.S. Forest Service and the establishment of the observatory that helped established Greenwich, England, as the zero point for the establishment of world-wide longitude values—the ultimate reference point for the planet. (Click NOAA image for larger view of NOAA Heritage Trail disk. Click here for high resolution version. Please credit “NOAA.”)

The commemorative markers are being placed by the NOAA National Geodetic Survey—itself a vital part of the nation's heritage as the oldest federal science agency. Originally established as the Survey of the Coast by President Thomas Jefferson in 1807, the NOAA National Geodetic Survey today plays a significant role in the nation's economy, communication and transportation systems.

NGS Director Charlie Challstrom kicked off the busy weekend with a ceremony on Friday, July 1 at the U.S. Forest Service's headquarters in Washington D.C. A former U.S. Forest Service employee, Challstrom unveiled a special U.S. Forest Service commemorative marker marking the 100th anniversary of the agency. Similar markers will be placed at each of the regional Forest Service headquarters around the nation.

NOAA image of U.S. Forest Service 100th anniversary marker."I am pleased to represent NOAA as we commemorate the 100th anniversary of the United States Forest Service, " said Challstrom, director of the NOAA National Geodetic Survey. "This marker, which will be part of the National Spatial Reference System, recognizes the Forest Service for its commitment to the highest level of scientific integrity and partnership within the federal government." (Click NOAA image for larger view of U.S. Forest Service 100th anniversary marker. Click here for high resolution version. Please credit “NOAA.”)

On Saturday July 2, 2005, NOAA designated the former site of the Calais Observatory as a significant site in NOAA's and the nation's heritage with the first Preservation Partnership disk during a ceremony in Calais, Maine. The disks are intended to encourage and promote public private partnerships, while bringing public attention to the importance of preserving the nation's natural resources and historic sites.

"This commemorative disk is a symbol of a successful public-private partnership between NOAA and the Maine community," said Challstrom, director of the NOAA National Geodetic Survey.

The Calais Observatory was established in 1857 by one of NOAA's predecessor agencies, the Survey of the Coast, as part of the United State's Telegraphic Longitude Observatory network.

On December 16, 1866, before the use of Global Positioning Systems (GPS), the Calais Observatory marked the final piece of the first successful transatlantic telegraphic longitude determination. This was a tremendous advance for the transfer of accurate time across the Atlantic Ocean providing for the precise determination of longitude at the Harvard Observatory in Massachusetts, relative to Britain's Greenwich Observatory, increasing longitude accuracy throughout North America. The achievement was a major step in ultimately establishing Greenwich as the zero point for the establishment of worldwide longitude values, affecting all nations.

The Preservation Partnership disks are part of NOAA's Heritage Trail Commemorative Marker Program, which recognizes significant sites or places that represent NOAA's heritage.

Each commemorative marker is located using GPS. The three-dimensional coordinates derived are a part of the National Spatial Reference System, which provides the foundation for transportation and communication systems, boundary and property surveys, land record systems, mapping and charting, and a multitude of scientific and engineering applications. The NOAA National Geodetic Survey establishes and maintains the National Spatial Reference System.

In compliance with President Bush's Preserve America Executive Order (E.O. 13287), NOAA is stepping up efforts to inventory, preserve and protect historic resources in the agency's care, from shipwrecks to historic buildings. The goals of the Executive Order include greater shared knowledge about the nation's past, strengthened regional identities and local pride, increased local participation in preserving the country's cultural and natural heritage assets, and support for the economic vitality of our communities.

NOAA, an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of the nation's coastal and marine resources.

Relevant Web Sites
NOAA Oceans and Coasts Service

NOAA National Geodetic Survey

NOAA Preserve America

Media Contact:
Ben Sherman, NOAA Oceans and Coasts Service, (301) 713-3066 ext. 178