Biography of Matthew Fontaine Maury by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency

Did you know that that National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency published a tribute biography about Matthew Fontaine Maury? This 74 page book was written by Howard J. Cohen of the National Imagery and Mapping Agency (now renamed National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency), a U.S. Department of Defense agency responsible for managing and providing imagery and geospatial information for diverse military, civil, and international needs. The book includes a summary of tributes to Maury, including photographs of Maury, buildings, ships, and places that carry Maury’s name, and provides a brief bibliography. A first edition was published in 2003, this more comprehensive version was published in 2006 by the National Imagery and Mapping Agency, then in Bethesda, Maryland.

As stated in the introduction of the booklet,

“He pioneered methodology and analysis in a broad spectrum of areas nearly 100 years before we coined “tradecraft.” Today, NGA and its partners throughout the National System for Geospatial Intelligence (NSG) are the stewards of the tradecraft borne out of his legacy and provide the nation with a critical capability—geospatial intelligence (GEOINT). Analysts continue to build on his methods and practices by discovering and exploiting new sources of information, leveraging deep intellectual capital and integrating innovative practices and technology. The result is quality GEOINT that precisely describes, assesses, and visually depicts spatial information, physical features, and geographically-referenced activities on the Earth. Analytical tradecraft is the cornerstone of GEOINT’s substantial contributions to the nation. NGA and NSG analysts currently support America’s decision makers in national security policy, international obligations, intelligence activities, and military operations. In the tradition of Maury and his fellow pathfinders, the dedicated analytical workforce continues to strive for high standards and constant innovation, pushing the limits of the tools and technology available to discover, exploit, and analyze source information. In all of our mapping and charting work, we take inspiration from the excellence of Matthew Fontaine Maury as we strive to ‘Know the Earth – Show the Way.’”

The booklet is dedicated to the late Captain James Maury Werth, U.S. Navy (retired), great-grandson of Matthew Fontaine Maury and, following in Maury’s footsteps, Superintendent of the U.S. Naval Observatory from 1968 to 1972. Captain Werth was a long-time member of our Society.

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