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NOAA News Releases 2005
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Commemorative Marker Promotes Preservation of Nation’s Heritage

On July 2, 2005, representatives from NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and other government officials will designate the Calais Observatory with the first Preservation Partnership disk during a ceremony in Calais, Maine. The disks are intended to encourage and promote public private partnerships, while bringing public attention to the importance of preserving the nation’s natural resources and historic sites.

“This commemorative disk is a symbol of a successful public-private partnership between NOAA and the Maine community,” said Charlie Challstrom, director of NOAA’s National Geodetic Survey. “This marker will be part of the National Spatial Reference System, which serves as the nation’s framework for latitude, longitude and elevation.”

The Preservation Partnership disks are part of NOAA’s Heritage Trail Commemorative Marker Program, which recognizes significant sites or places that represent NOAA’s heritage. The Calais Observatory was established by one of NOAA’s predecessor agencies, the Survey of the Coast. Before the use of Global Positioning Systems, the Calais Observatory provided the final piece of the first successful transatlantic longitude determination. This was a major step in ultimately establishing Greenwich as the zero point for the establishment of world-wide longitude values, affecting all nations.

The commemorative marker was set near the original site of the Calais Observatory, established in 1857. Each commemorative marker is located using GPS. The three-dimensional coordinates derived are a part of the National Spatial Reference System, which provides the foundation for transportation and communication systems, boundary and property surveys, land record systems, mapping and charting, and a multitude of scientific and engineering applications. The National Geodetic Survey establishes and maintains the National Spatial Reference System

In compliance with President Bush’s Preserve America Executive Order (E.O. 13287), NOAA is stepping up efforts to inventory, preserve and protect historic resources in the agency’s care, from shipwrecks to historic buildings. The goals of the executive order include greater shared knowledge about the Nation’s past, strengthened regional identities and local pride, increased local participation in preserving the country’s cultural and natural heritage assets, and support for the economic vitality of our communities.

NOAA’s National Ocean Service, which includes the National Geodetic Survey, is dedicated to exploring, understanding, conserving and restoring the nation’s coasts and oceans. It balances environmental protection with economic prosperity in fulfilling its mission to promote safe navigation, support coastal communities, sustain coastal habits and mitigate coastal hazards.

NOAA, an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through research to better understand weather and climate-related events and to manage wisely the nation's coastal and marine resources.

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