Gerald FitzGerald, 83, a retired topographic chief of the U.S. Geological Survey who helped the Army develop trimetrogon mapping as a means of providing worldwide map coverage for military operations, died of congestive heart failure Monday at Suburban Hospital.

Mr. FitzGerald, who joined the Geological Survey in 1917, received the Award of the American Society of Photogrammetry in 1944 for his work on trimetrogon mapping, a system of aerial photography that uses three wide-angle cameras to photograph the earth from horizon to horizon.

As a specialist on reconnaissance mapping, he made 23 expeditions to map Alaska. He later was in charge of topographic surveys in Alaska.

During World War II, he was commissioned a colonel in the Army Air Corps and was put in charge of the Aeronautical Charting Service. He received the Legion of Merit.

Mr. FitzGerald returned to the Geological Survey in 1946 and was appointed chief topographic engineer the following year. He retired in 1957.

He was a native of Burns, Ore., and attended the University of Washington. He held an honorary doctorate from University of Alaska. In 1949, he was awarded the Interior Department's Gold Medal for Distinguished Service.

After retiring, Mr. FitzGerald lived in Salt Lake City for 22 years before returning here in 1979. He lived at the Westwood Retirement Home in Bethesda.

He was a past president and honorary member of the American Society of Photogrammetry and the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping. He was a governor of the Arctic Institute and a member of the American Geophysical Union.

Mr. FitzGerald was twice a widower. His first wife was Geraldine Sager and his second was Elizabeth Moyle.

Survivors include his wife, the former Gwendolyn Murdock, of Salt Lake City; two daughters, Patricia Aubin of Gaithersburg, and Elizabeth Kettler of Bethesda; a brother, Edmond J., of Cincinnati; a sister, Helen Ryan of Lafayette, Ind., and 11 grandchildren.