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Defense Mapping Agency (DMA)

(glossary entry)


The DMA, which is itself now part of the U.S. National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, absorbed in 1972 two organizations responsible for producing many of the most significant lunar maps made in connection with the Apollo program and its predecessors:

  • The Aeronautical Chart Information Center (or ACIC) was a United States Air Force organization headquartered in St. Louis, MO. After incorporation into the DMA it became officially known as the "DMA Aerospace Center" (DMAAC)
  • The U .S. Army Map Service (or AMS), headquartered in Bethesda, MD became the U .S. Army Topographic Command (TOPOCOM) in September 1968. After incorporation into the DMA its official name became the "Defense Mapping Agency Topographic Center" (DMATC).

Additional Information

  • The history of the maps produced by these agencies through about 1972 is well told and documented in Kopal and Carder, 1974.
  • One of the more celebrated early products of the ACIC was the USAF Lunar Reference Mosaic, a composite photographic image of the Moon as seen from Earth at near constant illumination.
    • USAF_reference_mosaic_LEM-1.jpgIt is available in the Library of Congress' American Memory Map Collection. This was originally compiled in February 1960 and issued in 1:10,0000,0000 (LEM-lA, 14-inch diameter) and 1:5,000,0000 ((LEM-I) formats. It was redone in 1962, including a new two page set at 1:2,500,000 (4.5 foot diameter) known as the USAF Lunar Wall Mosaic (LEM-IB) with all then-current feature names imprinted on it.
  • Prior to the first US spacecraft reaching the Moon, the ACIC is also credited with conceiving and carrying to completion the highly influential LAC series of navigational charts (which served as basemaps for early geologic mapping), as well as the more detailed AIC series.
  • Other noteworthy ACIC products include airbrush maps of the Ranger impact areas, the first American maps including the farside and a lunar globe.
  • Early efforts by the AMS concentrated on trying to construct, with less success, global topographic maps.
  • Both agencies participated in mapping data from Lunar Orbiter and Apollo, where artistic renderings gave way to direct rectification and reproduction of the photographic data on scaled and labeled maps.

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