Uncharted or doubtful positions of shoals and reefs have played a large role in the history of maritime navigation and oceanography. Two of these shoals, Winslow Reef and Reef and Sand Bank in the central equatorial Pacific, were the subjects of a fruitless 2-day aerial search in 1937 for Amelia Earhart by planes from the battleship USS Colorado.
Sightings before and after 1937 convinced the U.S. Hydrographic Office and later the Defense Mapping Agency to retain these shoals on navigational charts. Yet all of these sightings and positions were based on unreliable celestial and dead-reckoning navigation. Nevertheless, at the time, this aerial search by the Colorado planes was probably the most extensive survey for the poorly determined shoals.