Mr. Thomas C. Finnie’s was one of the initial eight Department of Defense planners who assisted in organizing the Defense Mapping Agency in 1972 – a heritage organization of NGA. DMA consolidated all military mapping, charting and geodesy and helped form the foundation for the geospatial intelligence of today. Finnie served as DMA’s first director of management and technology and was one of the primary architects of DMA’s evolution to a digital era. His retirement in 1974 capped a 35-year career in the federal government.
Prior to assuming his position with DMA, Finnie worked at the Aeronautical Chart and Information Center, ultimately serving as its technical director, where he led production of maps for the manned spaceflights and lunar landings. Finnie was at Houston mission control when Neil Armstrong became the first person to walk on the moon. Finnie was inducted into the NGA Hall of Fame in 2001. In 2014, the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation renamed their lifetime achievement award the USGIF Arthur C. Lundahl – Thomas C. Finnie Lifetime Achievement Award to honor the two geospatial intelligence pioneers.