University of Wisconsin–Madison

Wisconsin Geospatial News

History strikes again

In this continuing series of retrospectives, my pattern is to look back ten and twenty-five years to see what was happening in Wisconsin mapping. In this final column for our printed newsletter, I also want to reach back an extra five years to the summer of 1973.

We are being reminded that what came to be known as “Watergate” began to unfold at that time. Simultaneously, the Wisconsin Legislature, as part of its biennial budget process, approved language to establish the position of state cartographer. Although it would take a full year to structure the position and fill it, we look back to 1973 as the beginning of the SCO. For more on this story, see the interview with Arthur Robinson and Norman Anderson on page 9.

25 years ago….

  • The Wisconsin Wetland Inventory was created by state statute.
  • The Wisconsin Unified Aerial Photography Project began. It acquired statewide, 1:20,000-scale, black-and-white infrared imagery during the summers of 1978 and 1979.

10 years ago…

  • Seven-hundred people gathered in Washington, D.C. for the first Geo-Data Policy Forum.
  • Spring NAPP photography reflights were successful, completing the project begun in the spring of 1992.
  • WISCLAND held its initial meeting to lay the groundwork for statewide land cover mapping.
  • SCO published its new Catalog of Aerial Photography in 3-ring binder form.
  • Wisconsin DOT decided to develop a series of county coordinate systems.
  • Randy Gschwind of Milwaukee was elected president of URISA.
  • Professor Paul Wolf retired from UW-Madison.

Archives to appear on the web

On a related note, as we move this newsletter to web-based publication, this column of historical perspective will be ending. In its place, we plan to build an archive of historical events which you will be able to query.