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Thoreau the Land Surveyor$
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Patrick Chura

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780813034935

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813034935.001.0001

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Walden, Cape Cod, and the Duty of the Coast Survey

Walden, Cape Cod, and the Duty of the Coast Survey

(p.45) 3 Walden, Cape Cod, and the Duty of the Coast Survey
Thoreau the Land Surveyor

Patrick Chura

University Press of Florida

The first superintendent of the Coast Survey was Swiss-born mathematician Ferdinand Hassler, who directed the project from its inception in 1816 until his death in 1843. Hassler was one of the most skillful measurers in history and the ingenious method he conceived for implementing the vast survey was his greatest achievement. He devised a plan to measure the Atlantic seaboard by laying out a network of enormous consecutive triangles, the sides of which ranged from ten to sixty miles in length. Admiring descriptions of the Coast Survey appeared frequently in scientific journals and popular literature during the period immediately prior to Henry Thoreau's 1846 survey of Walden Pond.

Keywords:   Coast Survey, Ferdinand Hassler, triangles, Walden Pond, Henry Thoreau, Cape Cod

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