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Our history

NOAA's roots reach back more than 200 years: We are America's environmental intelligence agency

In 1807, President Thomas Jefferson founded the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey (as the Survey of the Coast) to provide nautical charts to the maritime community for safe passage into American ports and along our extensive coastline. The Weather Bureau was founded 1870 and, one year later, the U.S. Commission of Fish and Fisheries was founded. Individually, these organizations were America's first physical science agency, America's first agency dedicated specifically to the atmospheric sciences, and America's first conservation agency.

(Top) The officers of the Coast and Geodetic Survey, the NOAA Corps predecessor service, were world-renowned for their expertise and accuracy in surveying and charting.
(Bottom) U.S. Weather Bureau weather kite being prepared for launch.
History in the making
(Top) The officers of the Coast and Geodetic Survey, the NOAA Corps predecessor service, were world-renowned for their expertise and accuracy in surveying and charting.
(Bottom) U.S. Weather Bureau weather kite being prepared for launch. (NOAA)

The cultures of scientific accuracy and precision, service to protect life and property, and stewardship of resources of these three agencies were brought together in 1970 with the establishment of NOAA, an agency within the Department of Commerce. See where we've come from and where we're going. You can also find history specific to each NOAA mission area