Author: Charles L. Novak
Published: Feb 26, 2019
As a young man living in rural Kansas in the 1940s, Charles Novak took a job with the
federal government--not because he liked the work but because he heard it paid well.
That job shaped his life in ways he could never
have imagined. As a surveyor for the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey,
Charles was tasked with measuring the
unmapped American landscape.
It has been reported, and not challenged, that at one time there
were more men working for the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey that from any other town in the
Over the years Charle's job would take him from being
eaten up by mosquitoes in Alaska,
to eating steak and lobster on oil rigs in Louisiana. His career became
even more adventurous when his family
later hit the road with him, making their home in a caravan of trailers
as the survey team traversed the nation.
The measurements taken by Charles and the team eventually helped build
today's GPS technology. But such a
contribution was the furthest thing from the minds of Charles and his
family as they experienced life on the
road during a time of astounding change in American life. From segregated
trains, to Cold War military bases,
and back to Kansas, Charles's family found that home is more than a place on a map.
Home Is Everywhere spins a tale of travel, love, family, and reflection through the eyes of a
man hired to document the last unmapped stretches of a nation.
CHARLES L. NOVAK was born in Haddam, Kansas, in 1929. He joined the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey
as a young man and traveled the United States for much of his life measuring unmapped land.
During his time on the road with the USCGS, Charles met his wife Jean and they had three children.
He retired from the Survey in 1985 but continued work in a position with the U.S. Boundary Commission.
He has made his home in more than sixty places across the U.S. and now lives permanently in