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Welcome to XNATMAP

A site for preserving NATMAP's (The Division of National Mapping) history and maintaining contact with the people who were part of that history. As the Australian Landsat Station (ALS), later the Australian Centre for Remote Sensing (ACRES) was part of the Division its history also forms part of this site.
The XNATMAP site is being archived in perpetuity as part of the National Library of Australia and related State Libraries PANDORA initiative.
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Information on map reading and interpretation, specifically for Natmap medium scale topographic maps, can be found in
Natmapís Topographic Maps : a guide to map reading and Notes on Map Reading by Reg Ford and Bob Goldsworthy.

    What's New

      As of 1 April 2020

      • Giant Map of Australia
        Giant Map of Australia which was free in The Australian Women's Weekly for March 1988.
      • Oral Histories
        A number of National Mapping pesonnel have now provided an oral history to the National Library of Australia. Many of these interviews are indexed so that one may listen to only a particular area of interest. The following earlier interviews (not indexed) are also available :
        Bruce Philip Lambert's 1989 interview with Bryne Goodrick;
        Anthony Gerald Bomford's 2002 interview with John Farquharson; and
        Byrne Ernest Goodrick's interview with Murray de Plater between 1990 and 1993.
      • Familiar (Melbourne) Faces
        Photographs courtesy Patricia Hatfield taken at Melbourne lunches, March 2019, September 2019 and February 2020.
      • A Mapping System for Aldonga or Wodbury!
        Albury-Wodonga is the broad settlement incorporating the twin Australian cities of Albury and Wodonga. Albury and Wodonga are separated by the Murray River not only geographically, but also politically; Albury to the north of the river is part of New South Wales while Wodonga on the south bank is in Victoria. Albury-Wodonga was designated a national growth centre in 1973 under a Federal/State agreement to encourage decentralisation by having people move away from the big cities of Sydney and Melbourne. Under the agreement the two cities were to become one. Aldonga or Wodbury were even proposed as the name for these combined localities. Albury-Wodonga was however born, with the overarching Albury-Wodonga Development Corporation, representing the Commonwealth, Victorian and New South Wales governments. At the time however, one of the pressing considerations was the adoption of a mapping system for this area for planning purposes. This high priority decision was necessitated by Victoria having its mapping based on the Australian Map Grid (AMG) while New South Wales mapping used the Integrated Survey Grid (ISG). This internal paper discusses the issues involved in the selection of a mapping system for the development area.
      • National Mapping's Astro-Geodetic Observatory at Orroral, 1974-1998
        The Nat Map Orroral Astro-Geodetic Observatory was Heritage Listed on 2 June 2016. The article writen around that time for this website has now been updated and expanded to include more of the history of the activities undertaken at or by the observatory and its staff. Included are Lunar Laser Ranging and later Satellite Laser Ranging, the National Time Service, initially at Mount Stromlo before being administratively moved to National Mapping on 27 September 1971 and physically to Orroral in 1974, and operation of the Photographic Zenith Tube (PZT) at Mount Stromlo from 1971 to 1985. In 1966 the Photographic Zenith Tube became integral to the definition of the Australian National Spheroid (ANS) as the basis for the Australian Geodetic Datum, 1966 (AGD66) and for the accurate conversion of time in Australia to Universal Time (UT), previously known as Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).
      • The Division of National Mapping - 1983
        A Review of Operations in the Division of National Mapping was undertaken in 1983. Part of the report documenting the review contained a brief history of National Mapping and its functions at that time. This history has been extracted and may be read via this link.
      • Edward Percival Bayliss FRGS (1887-1957)
        Oxford-born Percival Bayliss was the inaugural Chief Cartographer of the fledgling National Mapping Section that was then housed within the Property and Survey Branch of the Department of the Interior in Canberra. Percival held that position from April 1947 until his retirement in January 1950. During his time with the Commonwealth Public Service Percival became internationally renowned for his work on the 1:1 Million scale International Map of the World series and other major map projects including a 1939 map of Antarctica which he prepared in collaboration with John Stanley Cumpston (1909-1986), an officer with the then Department of External Affairs. In this article Laurie McLean provides a biographical profile of Edward Percival Bayliss as well as glimpses of the lives of a few other people.
      • National Mapping's Airborne Terrain Profiling Program, 1962-1982
        To produce the contoured 1: 100,000 scale topographic maps from aerial photography, height or vertical control was required. National Mapping found that known ground based methods proved to be too slow or unsuitable for Australian conditions. An airborne solution was thus sought. The Laser Years : Recollecting Airborne Terrain Profiling for Photogrammetric Vertical Control in the Division of National Mapping, 1962-1982, by Paul Wise, provides the most detailed account of the Division of National Mapping's, airborne terrain profiling program. It was this program that generated profiles of the terrain from which the location and height of selected points were extracted, enabling Nat Map's vertical control requirements to be met.
      • Previously in What's New

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    • Available National Mapping Technical Reports and Special Publications.

    • The National Mapping Council of Australia (NMC) and the Division of National Mapping (Natmap).
    • Bibliography of the History of Australia's National Topographic Mapping Agencies by Dorothy Prescott, 2003.
    • Training Notes for National Mapping Field Survey Staff were compiled by Reginald Arthur Ford, Senior Technical Officer, while he was the Training Officer for the Melbourne Office. After many years of field experience, Reg documented most of the Nat Map Melbourne's accepted field survey procedures and methodologies covered by these notes. As such this document represents the consistent standard provided to and expected from all involved in field survey work during the late 1960s and 1970s. These notes were never published but just photocopied as required. This web version was derived from the personal copies provided by a number of Natmappers and their cooperation is appreciated. While every effort has been made to ensure correct conversion, users may find minor inconsistencies in the text and tables.
    • All editions of the NATMAP News.
    • Collected articles and papers about the USAF Southwest Pacific Survey, Project AF60-13 and its use of HIRAN.
      A 25 minute (75MB download, MP4 file) 1961 USAF film on geodesy by Hiran can be viewed via this link. The film also has some interesting glimpses of various supporting technologies.
    • Editions of the Commonwealth of Australia Gazette or Government Gazette can now be searched via this link. For each year from 1901 to 1973 a comprehensive annual index was produced and is also accessible from the above link. However, after December 1973 the Public Service section of the Gazette was released as a separate volume. From 1974 onwards these Public Service Gazettes have not been digitised. Thus ready online access to staffing information for 1974 onwards is not available. Also from 1975 onwards comprehensive annual indexing of Gazette entries for all years ceased and for some years only quarterly indexing was provided.

    • Related Sites

      | National Topographic Mapping | Geodesy | Satellite Imagery |
      | Antarctica |
      | The Surveying & Spatial Sciences Institute (SSSI) | The Mapping Sciences Institute |

      Deceased content warning

      This website may contain the images of deceased Aboriginal persons. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers should exercise care in viewing the content.

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