To Top

The Odograph: A Robot Mapper

• CATEGORIES: Features, Magazine • TAGS: This site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated.

An article about the Odograph was published in the December, 1944, issue of Popular Science. At 200 pounds, the Odograph auto-created maps as soldiers navigated towards some objective. I couldn’t locate any records that indicate how many were made (anyone know), but there it appears there are nine jeeps that still have them (based on the latest info I could find). I found a few different references about it over at G503.
1. Message Forums • View topic – JEEP MOUNTED ODOGRAPH
2. Message Forums • View topic – Odograph survey
3. 1944 Willys MB Unrestored Odograph Jeep – g503 …

Here’s a photograph of a diagram from an Australia site:

Here’s a copy of the Popular Science Magazine on eBay:
View all the information on ebay

Here’s a link to magazine on Google

1944-12-robot-navigator-popular-science1 1944-12-robot-navigator-popular-science2

1944-12-robot-navigator-popular-science3 1944-12-robot-navigator-popular-science4


15 Comments on “The Odograph: A Robot Mapper

  1. David Eilers

    Hi Thelma,

    There are likely less than 10 of these still in existence, so they are quite rare. But, there also isn’t a whole lot of demand for them. Most jeep folks probably don’t even know what they are. My guess, based on other unusual items like this, that you’d probably get $100-$500 depending on who is looking for one. Your best bet for the most money would be to list it on an auction site like ebay. If you don’t want that hassle of ebay, I can list it on eWillys for whatever price you want and we can see if you get any bites.

    Another good place to list it would be the site, a forum that specializes in WWII jeeps.

    Best of luck!

    – Dave

  2. Thelma Layton

    Thank you David, im not sure i want to sell it at the moment. It does take up an awful amount of room in the Jeep and i know virtually nothing about it. I was hoping one of you lovely people would know a lot more than me about it.

  3. David Eilers


    Unfortunately, I’ve never seen, let alone used, one of these. All I know about them I read in the article above. Sorry I can’t be more help with this.

    – Dave

  4. Barney Goodwin

    I’m familiar with these. but for a real expert on them, get hold of Ron at RFJP (g503 as Dave mentioned). He has an Odograph Jeep and I supplied him with the complete manual set for it. My advice would be to keep it or sell it as a collectable accessory so that you can still enjoy your MB or GPW without risking damaging the appliance. Dave’s right: at a regular car show, no one will know what it is and it wouldn’t excite people like a Browning would or a working farm implement on the back of a 2A. All that said, if it’s complete and NOS, I wouldn’t let it off the property for under $2500. Hope this helps, Thelma.

  5. Thelma Layton

    Thank you Barney.
    Yes it is complete in its original box, its an IBM and was working when tested around 6 years ago.
    I think there maybe one other over here, also an IBM but with people not knowing what they are not a lot of information is available here. I will try and track down Ron. Thank you for the help

  6. Thomas Stephen Heigh

    My grandfather had training and completion certificate to operate this machine. He was a Spec5 Engineer in the 69th Infantry Combat Engineer Battalion. He traveled all through Europe utilizing the Odograph and helped break the Seigfried Line and he was at the East meets West meeting of forces when the U.S Army linked with the Russian troops that’s in the history books of WWII.

  7. David Eilers

    Wow, it sounds like your grandfather had some interesting stories! Thanks for sharing!

  8. Ron Aitken

    I also acquired the entire machine – in original crate with tools, repair kit, and Duce 4×4/Jeep mounting frame. Not sure what to do with it – it was used by a geologist in WWII to locate likely oil deposits in Spain, North Africa, India, etc. I’m hoping someone had an idea where an antique like this might best be placed. Suggestions ?

  9. David Eilers

    Hi Ron,

    That’s a rare find for sure! These are so unusual that I doubt there’s much of a market for it, other than for collectors.

    I would recommend contacting Ron Fitzpatrick, who, as Barney notes above, has a jeep equipped with one of these. RJFP’s p# number is 800-600-JEEP (5337). His jeep parts company operates out of Medford, Oregon, area.

    Best of luck and happy holidays!

    – Dave

  10. JohnB

    Try contacting the Petroleum Museum in Midland, Texas.

    A first rate operation…and also home to Jim Hall’s Chaparral race car collection (A must see for any car fan).

  11. John Bartolomeo

    My father was a combat engineer and operated this device. He said he would make notes on the maps identifying the location of materials such as timber and gravel. I’m very proud of his service.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe without commenting