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Desertions, by ratings, showing deliveries and surrenders for year ending June 30, 1911,
and of men who deserted during previous years--Continued.
On the 30th of June, 1911, there remained on the rolls of the home 99 men. Their ages vary from 34 to 85 years.
The work of the Naval Observatory for the year has been satisfactory. The report of the superintendent is submitted.
The report of the Hydrographer, appended herewith marked “Appendix A,” shows that the work of the Hydrographic Office has progressed satisfactorily, under the conditions which now exist.
R. F. NICHOLSON.
DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY,
BUREAU OF NAVIGATION,
Washington, D. C., September 11, 1911. I have the honor to submit the report of the Hydrographer for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1911. Summaries of the reports of the chiefs of divisions and of the (acting) chief clerk, giving details, are hereunto attached (marked “Inclosures A, B, C, D, and E”).
Under the law it is the duty of the Hydrographic Office to prepare, publish, and furnish nautical charts and sailing directions to the Navy and mercantile marine. This duty may be, and is, considered in this report under the following heads:
(a) The collection of the necessary data. (6) The consideration, compilation, and publication of said data.
(c) The distribution (furnishing) of the resultant charts and sailing directions.
COLLECTION OF NAUTICAL DATA.
Nautical charts and sailing directions are based upon original surveys and reports, or upon the reproduction of similar publications issued by other hydrographic offices.
Under the direction and supervision of the Hydrographic Office the following surveys were carried on during the fiscal year: east coast of Haiti; to the westward of the Guantanamo Naval Station; between Cape Cruz and Casilda, Cuba; and off the eastern coast of Nicaragua.
The latitude and longitude of Manzanillo and Casilda, Cuba, were determined astronomically, utilizing time signals sent between the Naval Observatory at Washington and the above-named Cuban points over land lines to Key West, the submarine cable to Habana, and the Cuban land lines.
The latitude and longitude of Swan Island and Cape Gracias a Dios, Nicaragua, were determined astronomically in the same manner, but in this latter case the time signals sent from Washington to Key West were relayed by wireless to the U. S. S. Paducah off the east coast of Nicaragua (about 580 miles). This latter is deemed to be the pioneer use of wireless in sending time signals over such great distances for the determination of longitude.
The prosecution of the above surveys has emphasized the recommendation heretofore made that navigational instruments and the time service, intimately associated and connected with survey work, should be in charge of the Hydrographic Office, which is charged with carrying on said surveys.
The prospective opening of the Panama Canal makes evident the great need, for strategic as well as for commercial purposes, of surveying the waters (and those adjacent thereto) in the triangle formed by Cuba as a base, with Colon as the apex. The Hydrographic Office will, as far as the facilities at its command will permit, prosecute such surveys.
The Hydrographic Office not only collects data to make the original publication of charts and sailing directions, but also collects data necessary to keep said charts and sailing directions accurate to date. To carry out this duty it receives, scans, and utilizes charts, sailing directions, notices to mariners, and such other hydrographic reports as may be issued by other hydrographic offices; marine reports from seafaring people the world over, as well as from the Navy, Revenue-Cutter Service, Army Transport Service, United States Engineers, Bureau of Lighthouses, Coast and Geodetic Survey, and Bureau of Fisheries.
By means of its representatives throughout the world, the State Department has aided the Hydrographic Office in obtaining information from mariners, and has in other ways furnished it valuable hydrographic information.
The branch hydrographic offices were instituted to furnish to and receive from the maritime world and those interested therein nautical information. Their success in both lines has fully justified their small annual expense.
To volunteer contributors of nautical information the Hydrographic Office issues directly, or through its branch offices, the Hydrographic Bulletin, the Pilot Charts, and the Weekly Notice to Mariners. This is the reward given these observers for furnishing the office with nautical information. It is all important that this source of information should not only be maintained but its scope further enlarged by obtaining additional volunteer observers. That efforts in this latter line may not fail, it is also important that each branch office should be in charge of a naval officer of experience whom the mercantile marine will look to for information and to whom it would naturally give information in return.
CONSIDERATION, COMPILATION, AND PUBLICATION OF NAUTICAL DATA,
The Hydrographic Office furnishes to the Navy and the maritime world nautical information, gathered as above outlined, in its weekly publication known as the Notice to Mariners, which relates to the charts and sailing directions of all of the oceans and Great Lakes, and the preparation whereof is assisted by maintaining in the Hydrographic Office a complete archive of foreign navigational charts. The Navy and the maritime world are thus weekly furnished with the latest navigational news, and are afforded a complete guide for the correction of charts and sailing directions, whether the same are printed by the Hydrographic Office, the Coast and Geodetic Survey, or the British Admiralty. This makes it an indispensable medium of information for our navigators, and renders it one of the most important publications of the Hydrographic Office.
The Hydrographic Office has been hampered in the consideration and compilation of nautical data for its charts and sailing directions by the lack of a sufficient number of naval officers on duty therein and a corresponding lack of trained civil employees versed in nautical matters. Due to this, and lack of sufficient funds, it has been impracticable to revise 14 volumes of sailing directions, edit sailing directions for Magellan Straits for the passage from the westward to the eastward, and to undertake the compilation of 37 volumes of sailing directions which the office is compelled to purchase from the agents of the British Admiralty. Due to the same cause the revision and modernization of the American Practical Navigator has been
Notwithstanding the fact that the powers of the office were restricted as above indicated, it nevertheless, during the fiscal year, made distinct advances in some of its publications and in the direction of modernizing the methods of bringing them out. Amongst the former may be noted the issue of position-plotting sheets; a large general chart of the North Atlantic Ocean, showing steamship routes, prominent aids to navigation, magnetic variation, etc.; and a revision and reissue of its chart No. 1262, which shows tracks for full-powered steam vessels, with the shortest navigable distances in nautical miles between the ports of the world. This distance chart is unquestionably the most complete and accurate one ever published, and will prove very serviceable to the Navy and the maritime world in general.
Heretofore the Hydrographic Office has bent its energies toward the production of engraved charts on copper. Investigation showed that, apart from the great expense of this method and the impracticability of getting the necessary engravers to do the work, the process of lithographing on zinc plates would permit the work to be done at less than one-tenth of the cost heretofore estimated, and that the charts printed therefrom would be more accurate and could be turned out from the press 10 times more rapidly than those printed from copper plates. Therefore the office adopted the zinc process and asked for appropriations to enable it to carry out the work. This is deemed to be a distinct advance in its mechanical methods, and will permit of this work being done at an estimated cost of $200,000 instead of $1,500,000, as heretofore estimated.
At the end of the fiscal year the Hydrographic Office had on issue the following charts and plans: Hydrographic Office charts....
1, 763 Coast and Geodetic Survey charts. British Admiralty charts...
2,032 It will thus be seen that the Hydrographic Office must purchase abroad approximately 50 per cent of the different charts needed for the navigation of the waters of the world. The 2,032 charts which it is necessary to purchase abroad embrace such waters as to practically stop any strategic move of the fleet (unless supplied with such charts) to waters other than those about the American Continent. That this weakness and possible menace to the mobility of the fleet may be overcome, the Hydrographic Office should be afforded the facilities (civil force, quarters, and adequate appropriations) to enable it to reproduce these charts on metallic plates. "Estimates therefor have been heretofore submitted.