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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.

    What's New as of 1 March 2023
    Hover over a title for a synopsis or click associated Item tag for its manuscript

      • Item
        Light, Flag, Timeball and Electric Signals, at and between, the Colonial Towns of Melbourne and William
        The southern Victorian bay now known as Port Phillip was first named Port King in 1802. On its shores the towns of William and Melbourne were established with William later becoming today's Williamstown. The town of Melbourne being upriver, saw the town of William, being right on the bay, become its first port. The relationship between these two sites saw the use of light, flag, timeball and electric telegraph signals, at and between them, to advise shipping movements initially and then to coordinate time. The flagstaff, lighthouse and electric telegraph station facilities sequentially developed at Williamstown were mirrored by Melbourne's own flagstaff and telegraph station. After the Melbourne Observatory in the Domain formally commenced operations on 9 June 1863, the telegraph was used to drop the timeballs at Williamstown and Melbourne until 1926. This was followed by the Observatory broadcasting a time service until June 1945, after which the time service became the responsibility of the then Commonwealth Observatory in Canberra. This article describes the events and use of the signalling technology from the early nineteenth to the early twentieth century. Part 1 this month with Part 2 next month thus some links in Part 1 will not work until next month.

      • Item (Updated)
        The Australian National Levelling Network Survey and Australian Height Datum updated 2023 to include the Australian Vertical Working Surface
        The Intergovernmental Committee on Surveying and Mapping (ICSM) introduced the Australian Vertical Working Surface (AVWS), in 2020, as the AHD was known to have a number of biases and distortions.

      • Item
        WILD Heerbrugg Model T4 Universal Theodolite : their known Australian history
        Wild produced a total of 439 model T4 theodolites between 1941 and 1981, of which it appears that four were used operationally in Australia. All four T4's still exist and as little was documented, this article attempts to summarise the use of the T4 by the respective agencies.

      • Item
        Australian Primary Data Acquisition Progress Maps for Topographic Mapping 1827-1988
        While there were various maps showing a south land from antiquity and the later navigator/explorers, these maps were mostly of coastline. Some forty years after the First Fleet arrived, in 1827 then Major (later Sir) Thomas Livingstone Mitchell (1792-1855) as Surveyor General saw the first systematic surveying and mapping of Australia. After that, settlement drove the need for mapping. As the XNATMAP website enters it fifteenth year an accumulation of information on Australian primary data acquisition for topographic mapping, gathered and standardised during those years, is presented by Paul Wise.


      • Previously in What's New
      • Major Programs & Related : enables direct access to the information on the listed topics.
      • 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.
      • Available National Mapping Technical Reports and Special Publications.
      • Resources page.

      • The XNATMAP website is archived in perpetuity under the PANDORA initiative of the National Library of Australia and associated State Libraries. Commenced in 1996, Pandora (Preserving and Accessing Networked Documentary Resources of Australia) is Australia's web archive; a growing collection of Australian online publications.
        Cultural Advice : This website contains the images of deceased Aboriginal persons. Please exercise care when viewing the content.

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Registration xnatmap.org : Hosting October 2025, Domain October 2030