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Life Magazine: A cloak and dagger coup

On May 12, 1958, Life Magazine published a story entitled The Missile-Era Race to Chart the Earth, by John Dille. Midway through the article, Dille tells the story of army geodesist Floyd W. Hough, who, in the final months of World War II, led a special unit of two dozen men and women into Germany to search for Axis maps of the Pacific and related optical and photogrammetric equipment.

"Following the U.S. infantry into city after city, often under enemy fire, the Hough team swooped down on German universities and institutes, scooped up all the maps and geodetic survey information in sight, converted them quickly to the U.S. military map system and handed their findings to the artillerymen. The gunners' aim improved immediately."

Click on the magazine cover to read the full article.

Top Image: Connecting the line - party chiefs shaking hands. Fred E. Joekel on left - Floyd W. Hough on right (NOAA's Historic Coast & Geodetic Survey (C&GS) Collection, 1921)