Throughout the history of the Great Lakes many organizations have played important roles in the growth and development of the water system. Charting the Inland Seas highlights the work done by the U.S. Lake Survey, one of the most notable, yet least known, organizations in the history of the Great Lakes. With the first great influx of settlers into the Great Lakes region came the need for extensive surveys and accurate navigational charts. In the 1830s shipowners and masters pressed the federal government to begin a thorough survey of the Great Lakes in order to make available detailed maps and charts of the various routes by which the lakes could safely be sailed. In 1841, Congress appropriated $15,000 for the Corps of Topographical Engineers to begin a survey of the northern and northwestern lakes, thus marking the formation of the United States Lake Survey. Arthur M. Woodford documents how the role and responsibility of the Lake Survey grew as conditions on the Great Lakes changed over the next 135 years. Great Lakes ships evolved into larger vessels with greater drafts, creating the need for new and more exact surveys and charts. In order to more accurately predict the water levels of the Great Lakes, special forecasting techniques evolved. When erosion of beaches threatened to destroy valuable lakefront property, extensive studies by the Lake Survey determined the causes. And as the number of recreational crafts increased, a program began for the design and publication of large scale book charts for boaters to use. In addition, the U.S. Lake Survey was one of the military's major suppliers of maps and charts during the two world wars and the Korean conflict. In 1970 the federal government established the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as part of the Department of Commerce, and brought together, in a single agency, the major federal programs dealing with the seas and the atmosphere, and the U.S. Lake Survey was reorganized. In 1976, the U.S. Lake Survey was completely phased out, concluding an important chapter in the history of the Great Lakes.