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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
Natmapís Topographic Maps : a guide to map reading and Notes on Map Reading by Reg Ford and Bob Goldsworthy.
As of 14 February 2018
- The XNATMAP site has been selected to be archived by PANDORA and made available in perpetuity. Thank you to all those that have contributed to building XNATMAP. PANDORA, Australia's Web Archive, was set up by the National Library, in conjunction with State Libraries, in 1996 to enable the archiving and provision of long-term access to online Australian publications. Since then online publications and those considered to have national significance have been archived. Additional information about PANDORA can be found via this link.
The benefits of XNATMAP being archived by the Library are that the Library will take the necessary preservation action to keep XNATMAP accessible as hardware and software changes over time. XNATMAP will also be catalogued and added to the National Bibliographic Database (a database of catalogue records shared by over 1,100 Australian libraries), and be re-archived periodically to keep up to date with additions and changes. It is assumed that all contributors to XNATMAP have no objection to their work being archived by the National Library. Nevertheless, before agreeing to being archived, if any contributor wants their contribution removed they should use the Contact Us page to advise us as soon as possible.
- National Mapping's involvement with satellite positioning can be traced back to the late 1960s. It was 1975 however, before satellite positioning technology had developed sufficiently for it to be used in a national program. Subsequently, Australia moved to an earth centred datum with the adoption of GPS. This paper by Paul Wise, traces the development of satellite positioning leading to its use by National Mapping, and summarises relevant future world wide plans for this technology.
- From 1959 until 1977, the Melbourne Office of the Commonwealth's primary topographic mapping agency, the Division of National Mapping (Natmap), occupied office space in the Rialto Building at 497 Collins Street Melbourne. The major Natmap activities undertaken from the Rialto were national surveying and mapping programs covering Australia and its island Territories, Australian Antarctic Territory and the then Australian Territory of Papua and New Guinea. During the 1970s, when Natmap's Rialto activities had peak staffing of around 150 people, these surveyors, technicians, photogrammetrists, draftsmen and clerks were mostly accommodated on the First and Second Floors of the Rialto. Prepared for the Heritage Group of the Surveying & Spatial Sciences Institute (SSSI) this overview of Natmap's achievements whilst at the Rialto, now forms a valuable record.
- Australia officially moved 1.8 metres northeast on 15 December 2017. This move coincided with the launch of Australia's new coordinate reference frame, the Geocentric Datum of Australia 2020 (GDA2020). Due to the movement of Australia's tectonic plate, which travels around seven centimetres each year, Australia's coordinates on the current 1994 datum are now out of sync with the tectonic plate by 1.6 metres. Between now and 1 January 2020, the GDA2020 coordinates and the coordinates from global navigation systems, like GPS, will converge. More information about transitioning to GDA2020 is available from the Geoscience Australia website. http://www.ga.gov.au/scientific-topics/positioning-navigation/datum-modernisation
- Gordon Bertram Lauf is perhaps best remembered for his development of the Lauf Method for the conformal transformation of coordinates from any orthomorphic map projection to any other map projection. Following a 1967 meeting at National Mapping in Canberra with Tony Bomford, who was then in charge of the Division's geodetic section, Natmap and the National Mapping Council formally adopted and publicised the Lauf Method. With the generous assistance of Lauf's daughter Vanessa, this brief profile compiled by Paul Wise, it able to reveal that Lauf had a role in other significant developments. A South African by birth, Lauf and his then family migrated to Australia in 1976. Over the following three years Lauf occupied an Emeritus position, with Visiting Fellow status, at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) before spending his final years in Sydney.
- 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
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- 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.
- 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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