Davidson, George

Davidson, George (1825-1911), a United States geographer and astronomer. He was born in Nottingham, England, and came to the United States in 1832. In 1845 Davidson became secretary to the superintendent of the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey. In 1850 he was sent west to survey the Pacific coast. Upon completion of the project, he wrote a mariner's guide, Pacific Coast Pilot (1855).

Davidson mapped the Philadelphia area for possible fortification and surveyed the Delaware River in 1860-66. His Alaskan coast survey began in 1867, and he wrote Coast Pilot of Alaska in 1869. For the next 18 years Davidson directed surveys of the Pacific coast states.


Davidson made astronomical observations of the planet Venus from Japan (1874) and from New Mexico (1882). He published catalogs of star positions and made studies of meteors. Davidson built the first observatory on the Pacific coast in 1879 and later helped found Lick Observatory, on Mount Hamilton, California.