Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Charting Northern Waters

Charting Northern Waters: Essays for the Centenary of the Canadian Hydrographic Service

Copyright Date: 2004
Pages: 276
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Charting Northern Waters
    Book Description:

    Charting Northern Waters also offers a detailed review of Russian hydrography on their northern coast from 1900 to 1940 and an in-depth discussion of American oceanographic work in the north in 1951. Other topics include the Labrador survey of HMS Challenger in 1932-34, German hydrographic and oceanographic support of the U-boat campaign in Canadian waters during World War II, and Canadian technical developments over the past fifty years.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-7193-8
    Subjects: Aquatic Sciences

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Maps and Illustrations
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Foreword
    (pp. ix-x)

    In the early 1960s, while in a merchant vessel on passage down the West Coast of Africa and studying our chart in the middle watch, I came upon a pecked coastline bearing the legend “Unsurveyed.” I wondered how would one survey, and chart, such an area. That thought was to result in a career of some forty years in hydrography; hence my interest in this publication.

    Charting Northern Watersis not a history of the Canadian Hydrographic Service (chs), but it is inexorably linked to it. This fine compendium, skilfully pulled together by Dr William Glover, describes the early days...

  5. Foreword
    (pp. xi-xii)

    Understanding the past gives us a deep appreciation as to how far we have come and certainly helps us to prepare and build for the future.Charting Northern Watersprovides an excellent insight into the trials and tribulations that faced the hydrographers of the twentieth century and earlier in their attempts to open the Canadian North for commerce and trade. The mobilization of Malaspinna’s survey would seem unbelievable in today’s fast-paced and modern hydrographic surveys, not to mention the gruelling task of performing the survey itself.

    The chapter on the hydrographic survey work of Canadian government departments presents a kind...

  6. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  7. Contributors
    (pp. xv-2)
  8. Introduction
    (pp. 3-9)

    The consequences of marine accident and disaster may take many forms. That a volume of essays should be prepared to mark the one hundredth anniversary of an agency spawned by accident is perhaps one of the more unusual outcomes. Yet the such is the present case. The Hydrographic Survey of Canada was created by Order-in-Council in March 1904, by amalgamating agencies of three different departments of government sixteen months after theSicilianran aground in the St Lawrence River. But this was not the first time a marine accident had exercised such an influence on Canadian hydrography. The loss of...

  9. 1 Hydrography in New France
    (pp. 10-21)

    In France the termhydrographielends itself to confusion because it is a synonym for navigation and is used to denote a nation’s riverine system. Much in hydrography is also included in oceanography, the science of the physical and biological properties of oceans. Even so, hydrography, or the science of describing, measuring, and charting bodies of water, appeared early in New France. Many firsts might be claimed from examining the history of early hydrography in New France, but the way that hydrographic science was pursued and organized was as important as the brilliance of its practitioners in explaining the mixed...

  10. 2 Alejandro Malaspina’s Survey Operations on the Northwest Coast, 1791–1792
    (pp. 22-49)

    Alejandro Malaspina was born in 1754 in the small town of Mulazzo, in the Ligurian region of Italy, the younger son of the Marquis Carlo Morelo Malaspina. Through his mother’s family, he had an early connection with high Spanish authorities. He was first educated in the Clementine College in Rome; its library contained much of the literature of the Enlightenment, which the young Malaspina eagerly absorbed. Malaspina’s father and uncle had hoped that the boy would become a priest, but he wished to pursue a naval career, to which they reluctantly agreed. At the time, Italy did not exist as...

  11. 3 The Publication of British Admiralty Charts for British Columbia in the Nineteenth Century
    (pp. 50-73)

    Accurate topographical knowledge is a prerequisite for navigating with safety on the coast of northwestern North America.¹ Surveys and observations published as charts and sailing directions have always been the means of coordinating this coastal knowledge, particularly where communications use complex patterns of channels and passages. In British Columbia in the nineteenth century, topographical intelligence was gathered primarily by officers of Royal Navy vessels on specific survey work, and the results compiled and published by the Hydrographic Office of the Admiralty in London, until the transfer in 1910 of charting responsibilities to the Royal Canadian Navy and the new Canadian...

  12. 4 “The Incarnation of Energy”: Raymond Préfontaine, the Hydrographic Survey of Canada, and the Establishment of a Canadian Naval Militia
    (pp. 74-92)

    The general experience of most Western navies has been for a hydrographic survey to be established as a logical adjunct to a mature and thriving naval service. That would make Canada perhaps unique in having established the Hydrographic Survey of Canada (later the Canadian Hydrographic Service, or chs) in 1904, several years before the creation of the Royal Canadian Navy (rcn) in 1910 (or much earlier, if one looks to the Georgian Bay Survey of 1883). Indeed, the establishment of the chs was an important step towards the formation of a Canadian naval service separate from the Royal Navy. We...

  13. 5 Hydrographic Survey Work of the Departments of Public Works, Railways and Canals, and the Interior, 1867–1914
    (pp. 93-112)

    When Canada came into existence in 1867, an extensive water-based transport infrastructure was already in place. The former colonies had built canals, improved waterways, and erected a few lighthouses. The dominion hydrographic surveys undertaken during the first forty years of Canada’s history expanded upon this base and greatly increased the scope of work. New projects were associated with a diverse range of navigation improvements, such as dredging, aids to navigation, and canal and harbour construction. The expansion of water transport facilities to accommodate an expected growth in traffic at the turn of the twentieth century precipitated a great increase in...

  14. 6 Hms Challenger’s Surveys in Labrador, 1932–1934
    (pp. 113-141)

    Until 1949 Labrador, as a part of Newfoundland, was a British colony.¹ Providing hydrographic surveys to improve navigation along the coastline was therefore the responsibility of the British government. In the late 1920s the Colonial Office had been pressing for surveys to be made so that an inshore route northwards from Newfoundland could be charted. Such a route would enable vessels to travel to the coastal settlements four or five weeks earlier in the summer, before the pack ice melted sufficiently to allow navigation in the open sea clear of the labyrinth of rocky islands. At the same time surveys...

  15. 7 Hydrographic Studies of Russia’s Northern Oceans, 1900–1940
    (pp. 142-162)

    Hydrographic studies of the northern oceans had great state significance for the Russian government. The northern littoral from Murmansk to Dezhneva Cape is washed by the White, Barents, Kara, Eastern Siberian, and Chukchi Seas; it constitutes a coastline that, including the shores of islands located in this region, approximates forty thousand kilometres. The harsh nature, severe climate, and heavy ice conditions of these reaches create unique difficulties for shipping and for the conduct of hydrographic work. At the same time, the northern littoral is for Russia its open egress into the world ocean, and its northern seas constitute the sole...

  16. 8 Wartime German Hydrography in Canadian Waters
    (pp. 163-177)

    The earliest German engagements in what we now recognize as Canadian waters and their contiguous zones began either as experiments in cartography or as participation by individual Germans in explorations conducted by other nations. These scientific and technical speculations during the sixteenth through eighteenth centuries were but the prelude to explorations triggered by the German government’s own strategic and tactical interests in an age of major-power war.

    Martin Waldseemüller’s world map of 1506, for example, provided the first “German” glimpse of what might be imaginatively called a Pacific Ocean. Based on information available at the time, his map has been...

  17. 9 Canadian Technical Advances in Hydrography since 1945
    (pp. 178-200)

    The year 1970 saw the completion of the nine hundred and eighteen topographic maps at a scale of 1:250,000 that cover all 10 million square kilometres of the emerged land mass of Canada.¹ In addition, 92 per cent of the thirteen thousand 1:50,000 map sheets have now been published. By contrast, there are under one thousand nautical charts, at all scales, of Canada’s 7.7 million square kilometres of land covered by fresh and salt water. As of 1982, only 45 per cent of the country’s waterways were surveyed adequately for current requirements, and only 15 per cent of Canadian Arctic...

  18. 10 At Sea with Hydro: William Metcalf and uss Edisto’s Arctic Cruise, Spring 1951
    (pp. 201-224)

    Thursday – 1 March 1951 – At Sea, Gulf of Maine

    1st Day out of Boston

    Back on the good old ussEdistoagain; I suspect I have made more cruises on this ship than just about anyone going. We left the Charlestown Navy Yard at 0930 – right on schedule – and went out to President Roads where we tied up to an ammunition barge to take on ammunition. It was snowing fairly hard the whole time. We got away from the barge shortly after noon and are now steaming ne with a moderate swell coming from ahead. The...

  19. Notes
    (pp. 225-252)
  20. Bibliography
    (pp. 253-270)
  21. Index
    (pp. 271-275)