National Geodetic Survey
On February 10, 1807, President Thomas Jefferson signed legislation to establish the United States Survey of the Coast, which became the US Coast and Geodetic Survey and later the National Geodetic Survey.
Well before 1807, other nations had done their own coastal and geodetic surveys. Geodesy is the science of measuring the Earth’s shape, orientation in space, and gravitational field. Swiss-born Ferdinand R. Hassler immigrated to the US in 1805 and proposed the creation of a government agency to explore this field of science.