Hydrographer hall of fame

In 2012, the Board of Trustees of The Hydrographic Society of America instituted the Hydrographer Hall of Fame (HOF). The purpose of the HOF is to honor hydrographers who have made significant advances in the science of hydrographic surveying, who have had distinguished surveying careers, who have made contributions in the education of hydrographers and who have provided exemplary service to the society.


Albert E. “Skip” Theberge had a distinguished career as an NOAA hydrographer, and following retirement from the NOAA Corps, as a renowned hydrographic historian.

Skip began his hydrographic career as a NOAA officer in 1969. In addition to command of two NOAA hydrographic ships, and leadership of several hydrographic and geodetic field parties, he headed NOAA’s Exclusive Economic Zone mapping project. After retiring from the NOAA Corps, he became affiliated with the NOAA Central Library, where he created and built the NOAA Photo Library and NOAA History websites. Skip was the foremost authority on the history of civil hydrography in the United States.

Skip served on the Advisory Committee for Undersea Feature Names and its international GEBCO counterpart and was part of the NOAA science team that designed the Sant Ocean Hall of the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.

Captain Skip Theberge passed away on November 1, 2022.

Harold Orlinsky has been prominently involved in the hydrographic community beginning with his start with the NOAA Corps in 1989 and continuing with multiple leading roles in the private sector.

In NOAA, Harold served on two hydrographic ships and completed two hydrographic support assignments ashore.  He was part of the team that implemented the first shallow water multibeam echo sounder on a NOAA ship. In the private sector, he has worked in both hydrographic survey roles and hydrographic software company management.  He is currently the General Manager of Chesapeake Technology, a leading seafloor mapping software company.

He became a member of THSOA early in his career and has been active as THSOA National Treasurer for 12 years, serving on the planning committee for 6 US Hydro conferences and transitioning the society’s finances from paper ledger to digital records.

Walter Simmons has had a distinguished career as a hydrographer in government, academia, and the private sector. He is a Certified Hydrographer with over forty years of experience in management, surveying, mapping, charting, and environmental monitoring.

Walter began his hydrographic career in the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey (now NOAA) in 1964. He was both an aviator and a mariner.  He led the Coastal Mapping and Airport Charting Program, commanded an NOAA hydrographic ship, and later directed the Nautical Charting Program.

Following retirement from NOAA, he held the Blucher Chair for Surveying Excellence at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi and worked as a Senior Engineer at SAIC/Leidos managing their NOAA multibeam/side scan sonar survey contracts.

Walter Simmons served on the NSPS/THSOA Hydrographer Certification Board for over 20 years and served as its chairperson for eight of those years

To view other Hall of Fame inductees, select the year below:

2013     2015     2017     2019     2021     2023