Until the 1990s, an alidade, or telescope-like instrument, was used along with a plane table to manually map features such as those in this coastal marsh. Sensors on drones now do this work efficiently, cost-effectively and with greater precision.
NOAA Heritage Program

Although NOAA formed in 1970, the agencies that came together at that time are among the oldest in the Federal Government. The Survey of the Coast formed in 1807, the Weather Bureau formed in 1870, and the U.S. Commission of Fish and Fisheries formed in 1871. Much of America's scientific heritage resides in these agencies. 

The NOAA Heritage Program’s mission is to preserve NOAA’s heritage. By telling our unique story, we seek to deepen our workforce’s and the public’s understanding of NOAA’s history and instill a sense of pride and value for our mission and services.