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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


    BC-4 camera

    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.

    What's New

      As of 24 July 2017

      • Australia’s Contribution to the PAGEOS Project from above headline can 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).
      • Between 14 January and 5 March 1986, an Australian National Antarctic Research Expedition (ANARE) field party of 22 people established a new field base in Antarctica at Bunger Hills about 450 kilometres west of Casey. This party included Natmappers Brian Murphy, John Corcoran and Tiernan MacNamara who undertook aerial photography, control acquisition for Landsat imagery rectification and glaciology survey work. Brian Murphy's report of this expedition is now available via this link.
      • Of interest in Geoscience Australia News of June 2017 :

      • 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

      • Former Natmap surveyor and then RMIT Lecturer Frank Johnston is credited with devising the mirrors at the Melbourne Shrine of Remembrance to correct the sun's rays for daylight saving at 11AM on 11 November. Along with the article Mirrors at Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance Correct for Daylight Saving Time is Frank's presentation explaining his methodology and a short video.
      • A multi-million dollar project to rehabilitate a protected island of the Great Barrier Reef prompted Paul Wise to recall his stay on that same island some 45 years ago.
      • Many of us will still remember Ed Ainscow from around the office and others from working with Ed in the field. With the generous assistance of Ed's wife Peggy we have been able to compile this profile of one of Natmap's bushmen.
      • During the 1960s, a number of Natmappers attended the Royal Australian Survey Corps, School of Military Survey, formerly at Balcombe, Victoria. This article attempts to record those who attended and provides information and photographs from the time.
      • Oral histories given by National Mapping pesonnel, as recorded by the National Library of Australia, can now be accessed from the list of major links at the top of the Home (this) Page below the logo, above.
      • Available National Mapping Technical Reports may now be accessed.

      • Bibliography of the History of Australia's National Topographic Mapping Agencies by Dorothy Prescott, 2003, may be accessed via this link.

      • Full proceedings, including maps, of the 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, has been added.

      • All editions of the NATMAP News are now available online.
      • All articles and papers about the USAF Southwest Pacific Survey, Project AF60-13 and its use of HIRAN can now be found via this link.
        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.

        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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