'Home Is Everywhere:' Surveyor Recounts Life Spent Mapping America

By Lauren Gilger
Published: Tuesday, February 26, 2019 - 11:54am
Updated: Tuesday, February 26, 2019 - 3:47pm

Audio icon Download mp3 (7.53 MB)

charles novak and his wife
Novak family
Charles Novak and his wife.

Most people have lived in two, three or maybe four places in their lives. But for Charles Novak and his family, that number rises into the dozens.

As a surveyor with the U.S. Coastal and Geodetic Survey, Novak and his children moved from town to town throughout their lives as Novak worked to detail the last unmapped stretches of the country.

The measurements he and his team took over several years went on to become the building blocks of the GPS systems we all use today. The nomadic upbringing his endeavor required of them meant his children learned to have an adventurous spirit and can-do attitude.

Now 89 years old, Novak has documented it all in a new book, "Home is Everywhere: The Unbelievably True Story of One Man’s Journey to Map America," which is out now.

The Show spoke with the now-Scottsdale resident to talk about his life and ask him exactly how many places he's lived over the years.

Charles Novak with his kids
Novak family
Charles Novak with his kids.

More Stories From KJZZ

If you like this story, Donate Now!