EARL FREDERICK AND GPS

In the Summer 2006 issue of the "Millersville Review," I came across this Note:

I dug up the first photograph I ever took of Earl,
as early as summer 1967 on one of our first fieldtrips or
cruises aboard the R.V. "Lydia B" out of Lewes, DE.

Earl Frederick, Don Wiggins and Brigitta Krieg
were among my most enthusiastic students.
Earl also drafted all maps and charts
for my 1971 Ph.D. dissertation on
"Suspended Sediment Transport in the Delaware Bay."
He also worked for our non profit corporations,
"ESRA" (Environmental Science Research Associates and
The Marine Science Consortium., together with some of my other
students, e.g. Bob Swift and Tom Patrick.
The reference to the GPS (Global Positioning System)
brought up another, rather sad memory
of the conflict I had with Dean Al Hoffman.

I E-mailed the following comments to the Editor:
Letter to the Editor, Millersville Review
August 7, 2006
Better Accuracy than that!
It was good to see your Class Note entitled “Mapping the globe”
in the Summer 2006 issue.The subject, Earl Frederick, was one
of my first and most active oceanography students in the late
1960’s and early 70’s. He also worked for ESRA and The Marine
Science Consortium in Millersville, Lewes and Wallops Island
as a draftsman and Pre-College Oceanography Program instructor
for hundreds of PA high school students.
In 1976, he and Bob Swift, another of our oceanography alumni
then working at the Wallops Island Marine Science Center as
station director, went to work with EG&G for our neighbor NASA
' – after 6 years of contracting our 90 ft R.V. “Annandale” to them.
Since that time, Bob has co-authored numerous articles dealing
with laser applications, while Earl became an expert on GPS.
(ESRA donated one of the first GPS devices
to the MU ES department in 1992)
At the end of your note, you say that the accuracy of GPS
positioning is 4 cm, and equate that with 10 inches.
You are using the wrong conversion, for while 4 inches equals 10 cm,
one cannot conclude that the opposite also holds true.
Thus, your readers among the one remaining major nation still
hanging on to the clumsy and cumbersome British measurement
system were misinformed about the GPS accuracy which in
this case actually amounts to 1.6 inches
(sorry, going decimal again) or about 1 and 19/32 inches.
Wishing Millersville and the Review good sailing and accounting:
Ben Oostdam, Prof.Emeritus Earth Sciences (1997)
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