NOAA 2006-R406
Contact: Ben Sherman
NOAA News Releases 2006
NOAA Home Page
NOAA Public Affairs


David B. Zilkoski has been named as the new director of NOAA’s Office of National Geodetic Survey where he will be responsible for overseeing NOAA's responsibilities for the nation's spatial reference system.

“We’re delighted to be able to name Dave Zilkoski to this important leadership post within the National Ocean Service. He brings to the position a wealth of experience having been part of the Survey's work for the past 32 years,” said John H. Dunnigan., assistant administrator of NOAA’s National Ocean Service in announcing the appointment.

Zilkoski moves into the director's chair after serving for the past six years as deputy director. In that post Zilkoski oversaw the development and technology transfer of activities such as the Shallow Water Positioning System (SWaPS) for monitoring underwater features; the incorporation of geodetic data and procedures into projects for determining accurate elevations; and the use of new technology such as global positioning systems, LIDAR and Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar to generate shoreline and other coastal information for coastal managers.

Zilkoski is a 1974 graduate of Syracuse University's College of Environmental Science and Forestry where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in forest engineering. He received a master's degree in geodetic science from the Ohio State University in 1979.

Zilkoski joined NOAA in 1974 as a member of the National Geodetic Survey's Horizontal Network Branch. Serving in that unit until 1981, he was part of the NOAA team that participated in the adjustment of the North American Datum, the reference frame from which all measurements in North America originate.

In 1981 he transferred to the Vertical Network Branch and served as chief of the Vertical Analysis Section and project manger overseeing the new adjustment of the North American Vertical Datum. Prior to being named deputy director, he served two years as chief of the Geosciences Research Division.

Zilkoski succeeds Charlie Challstrom who completes a 32-year federal career, all but six months of it in service to NOAA. His NOAA service includes the past six years as head of NOAA's Office of Geodetic Survey

Challstrom is delighted with Zilkoski's selection noting that "Dave brings both experience and a passion for making sure that the most advanced technology is applied to our work. He also is exceptional with his energy and enthusiasm for sharing his expertise and building capabilities in others."
Geodesy, the science of positioning and determining the size and shape of the planet Earth, is very much in the news with the issues of height elevations and subsidence being critical components of the rebuilding of the Louisiana coast following last year's hurricane devastation. Zilkoski headed a recent reevaluation of benchmarks in Louisiana and guided NOAA's installation of a "CORS" or continually operating reference system of benchmarks that uses satellite technology to ensure that accurate heights are maintained in the ever evolving region.

Zilkowski and his wife Pamela reside in Silver Spring, Md. have two adult children and four grandchildren.

The National Geodetic Survey is part of the National Ocean Service which is an office of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department. NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation’s coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners and nearly 60 countries to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes.

On the Web:


NOAA’s National Ocean Service:

National Geodetic Survey: