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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.
The Seventh Year in Decades Past
2017 heralds a number of anniversaries for National Mapping.
Of note are :
position of Chief Topographic Surveyor was advertised and in 1948 the Survey and Photogrammetric Office of National Mapping was
established in Melbourne.
1957 the first Tellurometer was tested in Australia. Its arrival was timely
in that the geodetic triangulation was about to enter the western deserts. Natmapís
expertise with the use of the Tellurometer was built on its previous use of
the Geodimeter which it had received in May 1954.
all the 540 map sheets of the 1:250,000 scale R502 series of maps had been
compiled; within a year there were all printed. This map series was the first
uniform medium scale topographic map coverage of Australia. The year before
the Australian Geodetic Datum had been established.
Topographic Office of National Mapping moved from the Rialto Building to
Ellery House in Dandenong; occupation of the new offices was celebrated on
Friday 29 April 1977. The Aerodist field and office program had been
completed and the Australian Height Datum had been established.
merged with the Australian Survey Office to form the Australian Surveying and
Land Information Group (AUSLIG).
times and governments saw the Dandenong office forced to close its doors.
After 50 years, National Mapping no longer had a Melbourne presence.
As of 2 February 2017
- The latest news on GDA2020 can be viewed via this link.
- 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.
- Sadly Don Girvan passed away on 5 January 2017. His Vale can be read via this link.
- Set of 1967 reports by John Manning working in Antarctica from Australia's Mawson base.
- Handwritten, 1967 report by John Manning at the end of his year working in Antarctica from Australia's Mawson base.
- An album of photos of Carl Mcmaster's 1975-76 work in Antarctica.
- Video acquired by Owen Pappy Gyles during the 1968 Mapping Control Surveys in WA and supplied on DVD (without soundtrack) by Peter Langhorne. Segment one shows the field party coping with the flooding around Muggon Homestead and segment two travelling and arriving by boat at the Houtman Abrolhos Group off Geraldton.
- 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 are 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
- The retirement of Andrew Hatfield, in the next couple of weeks, means that the last Natmapper from the Melbourne office will be gone.
- Albert Francis (Bert) Hurren (1915-2012) devoted some 36 years of his life to Australia's mapping endeavours. Bert was a senior non-commissioned officer and later a commissioned officer in the Australian Survey Corps between 1940 and 1948. Bert joined the National Mapping Section of the Department of Interior in 1948 and was the officer-in-charge of Nat Map's Technical Services Section until his retirement in 1976. This article by Laurie McLean is a tribute to Bert Hurren and a brief sketch of his life.
- For over half a century Nat Mappers have been recognised from time-to-time through the Australian Honours and Awards system for outstanding service to mapping and to other fields of endeavour. Two more Nat Mappers were recognised for their service in the Honours list announced by the Governor-General on 26 January 2016. Details of all those Nat Mappers known to have been honoured over the years can be found at this link.
- 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.
- 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.
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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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