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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.
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.
Australia’s Contribution to the PAGEOS Project
By the mid-1960s the geodetic datums of Europe and South
America had been connected to North America. Likewise, North Africa had been
connected to Europe via Greece. However, while Australia and Papua New Guinea
had had the islands to the north and east connected to them, this chain of
stations remained isolated from the northern hemisphere.
Network of BC-4 camera stations
With the launch on 24 June 1966 of PAGEOS (Passive Geodetic Earth
Orbiting Satellite), a global geodetic network was established to observe this
satellite and establish a uniform geodetic datum. Commencing in 1967, Australia’s
contribution to the success of this project was not insignificant and can be
viewed via this link.
As of 1 August 2017
- An album of photographs, taken during his days of field work with Natmap, courtesy Laurie Edebohls may be viewed this link.
- William James Sear (1900-1986) was National Mapping's chief cartographer from 16 March 1950 until his retirement at age 65 years on 2 July 1965. In this article Laurie McLean provides an outline of Bill Sear's life and his career as a draftsman that spanned some 48 years.
- A Vale for Norm Edwards (1946-2017) may be viewed via this link.
- In the Aircraft Support for National Mapping Field Operations 1950s-1990s section of the website, the profile of Christine Davy MBE has been updated with additional information on this outstanding pilot's career and family background.
- A selection of personal, historical material accumulated during the Natmap era covers photogrammetric, mapping and map printing topics, and may be accessed from this list.
- Keuffel, William JD and Esser, Herman (1969), Solar Ephemeris for 1969 and Surveying Instrument Manual, Keuffel & Esser Company, Morristown, USA. (The Keuffel and Esser Co., also known as K & E, was a drafting instrument and supplies company founded in 1867 by two German immigrants, William J. D. Keuffel and Herman Esser. It was the first American company to specialize in these products.)
- From flat-earth to Phillip, a series of papers about the discovery and first settlement of Australia (source unknown).
- The technology of Electronic Distance Measuring (EDM) was a major factor in the successful completion of Australia's national survey and mapping programs. Terrestrial and later airborne EDM systems evolved from World War Two radar developments and were at the forefront of surveying technology until the advent of satellite-based surveying and navigation technology in the 1970s. This paper Airborne Electronic Distance Measuring : A Brief History seeks to catalogue the major airborne distance measuring systems that were developed during the twentieth century, with the focus on the history and use of airborne EDM used in, or associated with, the surveying and mapping of Australia.
- The Aerodist airborne distance measuring system was used by Nat Map between 1963 and 1974 to obtain horizontal ground control for the 1:100,000 scale national topographic map series. Laurie McLean has prepared this extensive article on Nat Map's Aerodist years in consultation with many of the Nat Mappers who were involved in the Aerodist program from up to over half a century ago. The article incorporates many of these Nat Mappers' recollections.
Previously in What's New
Go to ...
- Available National Mapping Technical Reports.
- 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.
- Oral histories given by National Mapping pesonnel, as recorded by the National Library of Australia.
- All editions of the NATMAP News.
- Conference of the Director of Commonwealth Lands and Surveys, the Surveyor-General and the Government Astronomer of New Zealand, and the Surveyors-General of the States of the Commonwealth of Australia; Melbourne, 20th to 25th May, 1912.
- Conference on National Survey and Mapping of Australia, Commonwealth Survey Committee and State Surveyors-General; Canberra, 15th to 19th January, 1945.
- 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.
- 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.
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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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