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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 preserved as part of the PANDORA archive.
Information on map reading and interpretation, specifically for Natmap medium scale topographic maps, can be found in
Natmap’s Topographic Maps : a guide to map reading and Notes on Map Reading by Reg Ford and Bob Goldsworthy.
As of 16 February 2019
- Sadly the passing of Natmap and ASO surveyor Vance Ingham (16 March 1932 - 13 February 2019) is reported. Vance started in the Survey Office's Sydney base and later was involved in the Special Projects area for some time on surveys for BMR all over Australia, route surveys for microwave links between Camoweal and Darwin, marine surveys on board what was initially the Hamme and the precision survey of the radio telescope at Narrabri. More information is in the Canberra Times.
- In July 2019 it will be 50 years since the first landing of men on the moon. During that mission and two later missions retroreflector arrays (RRAs) were left behind. All the lunar RRAs are rectangular planar in shape; the Apollo 11 and 14 RRAs are identical and consist of 100 fused silica corner cube reflectors, mounted in a 46 centimeter aluminum panel, each of these corner cubes is 3.8 centimeters in diameter; the Apollo 15 RRA is a larger array consisting of 300 corner cubes. French built reflectors, consisting of 14 corner cubes, were also left on the moon by the unmanned Russian Luna 17 and 21 missions. The RRAs corner cube design means that light hitting the RRA from any angle is reflected back along exactly the same path. A laser pulse emmitted from a Laser Ranging facility on Earth thus has some energy, as low as a single photon, reflected back to the facility from the RRA some 2.5 seconds later with the very precisely measured round trip travel time giving the moon's distance from Earth to a very high accuracy of a few centimeters in some 385,000 kilometres. Since the early 1970s through Natmap, Australia has been involved first with Lunar Laser Ranging (LLR) and later more widely with Satellite Laser Ranging (SLR). This history is summarised with photographs in this article History of Satellite Laser Ranging in Australia.
- National Mapping Technical Report 28, Surveys for the International Antarctic Glaciological Project, Wilkes Land 1975-76, by Martin Kros, 1980, has been added to this site.
- Dimitrius (Jim) Fominas (1914-1984)
Jim Fominas worked as a geodetic survey computer with Nat Map in the early 1950s. As a geodetic survey computer Jim was responsible for undertaking involved geodetic survey computations and for undertaking precise Laplace astronomical observations in the field and computing the results of such observations. He was known to be the leader of the three man party who undertook what is believed to be National Mapping’s first Laplace observation program in 1950. A short biographical profile of Dimitrius Fominas by Laurie McLean is available at this link.
- Swiss surveyor August Jenny spent 1968 and 1969 with Natmap where he undertook ground marking for Aerodist field work. He provided the following on the Society for the History of Geodesy in Switzerland (SHGS) whose working group Geodetic Survey prepared this report Milestones in the History and Development of the Swiss National Geodetic Survey.
- Had it been considered important a Victorian newspaper headline on Friday 4 July 1873 may have read :
Geodetic Survey of Victoria :
"It will be done when completed and cost what it costs" Ellery tells Victorian Government
Robert Lewis John Ellery (after whom Natmap's Dandenong premises was named) as Superintendent of the Geodetic Survey was responding to a request by the then Honourable James Joseph Casey MP, Minister of Lands and Agriculture. Ellery's report was tabled in the Victorian Legislative Assembly on the night of Thursday 3 July 1873. On Monday 7 July 1873 the Argus newspaper published Ellery's response on page 6! This example of the Victorian government's intransigence to the surveying and mapping of its colony, followed a similar occurrence in the earlier colony of New South Wales. Both governments wanted organised settlement but neither wanted to pay for it to occur. Seems this became a recurring theme when Australian governments considered the surveying and mapping of their administrations!
- Rosalinda Mottus (1924-2006)
Linda Mottus worked tirelessly as a draftswoman with Nat Map for some 39 years and made a significant contribution to the mapping of Australia. Linda joined Nat Map's Melbourne office in 1950 and retired in 1989. She was one of the longest serving of the Melbourne Nat Mappers. Born in rural Estonia Linda became a displaced person during World War II and came to Australia as a refugee in 1948. Before leaving Europe Linda spent a few years as a displaced person in Germany where she attended the remarkable Baltic University in Exile at Hamburg. In this article Laurie McLean provides a short biography of Linda Mottus. This link is to a three minute promotional video for Helga Merits' 2015 film The Story of the Baltic University. The video gives viewers some appreciation the circumstances under which Linda lived in Hamburg in the mid-1940s.
- Edward John Rollo (1944-1997)
Ted Rollo had a 30 year career with Nat Map between 1967 and 1996. During that time Ted made a significant personal contribution to the topographic mapping of Australia. Affectionately known as The Bear, Ted was a mild-mannered person and diligent worker who was greatly respected by all Nat Mappers who knew him. In this article Laurie McLean provides a short biography of Ted Rollo.
- During the Geodetic Survey of Australia a trigonometrical station was established on then Ayers Rock in 1958, as described by Ford (1979). To erect its standard cairn and beacon Natmap had received special permission from the Northern Territory Reserves Board. By the late 1960s the carefully constructed rock cairn and beacon had collapsed and a replacement monument was devised and installed in 1970. This article describes the events behind the 1970 remonumenting of the Ayers Rock Trigonmetrical Station.
- Natmap's supervising surveyor Bill Johnson arrived at Billiluna Homestead in October 1962, having just completed the reconnaissance of the Canning Stock Route (CSR), from Wells 35 to 51, of the Well 35 to Halls Creek traverse section of the national geodetic survey. For the geodetic survey parties to later access the northern CSR to carry out the survey, Johnson arranged a contract for Mr Bill Moyle of Carranya Station to undertake the scraping of the new track to Well 51 and to then continue with further track work southwards to Well 45. The unofficially named Moyle's Track ran from the vicinity of Old Billiluna to Well 45, bypassing Wells 47 and 46 to the east. Topographic maps of the era also show a location named Old Billiluna (ruins). Historically Billiluna took its name from a large water hole recorded as Billiluna Pool by Alfred Wernam Canning around 1910 and which is some distance from the other locations named Billiluna. This article The Historical Locations of Billiluna Homestead in the Kimberley Region of Western Australia by Paul Wise, details the history, people and land tenure behind these sites of Billiluna Homestead, providing an approximate timeline and sequence of occupation.
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.
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