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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.
The XNATMAP site is being archived in perpetuity as part of the National Library of Australia and related State Libraries PANDORA initiative.
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 8 January 2020
- GDA2020 is here!
The last time Australia's Global Positioning System (GPS) coordinates were updated was in 1994, known as GDA94. Tectonic plate movement since then means that the real world and our GPS coordinates are now a little (some 2 metres) out of sync. For most of us the adjustment to the new datum known as the Geocentric Datum of Australia 2020 (GDA2020) has been transparent and our GPS based devices will continue to deliver accurate and even enhanced positioning information. It needs to be remembered however, that coordinates indicated to be GDA94 or just GDA will be slightly different to any now indicated as GDA2020. Associated with this datum update a new Map Grid of Australia 2020 (MGA2020) has been defined using the standard UTM system with the GRS80 ellipsoid and Geocentric Datum of Australia (GDA2020) latitudes and longitudes. More technical information is available from the Intergovernmental Committee on Surveying and Mapping (ICSM) where :
TECH Fact sheet 1: GDA94 to GDA2020 transformation; and
GDA2020 Technical Manual;
are useful starting points.
- The Division of National Mapping - 1983
A Review of Operations in the Division of National Mapping was undertaken in 1983. Part of the report documenting the review contained a brief history of National Mapping and its functions at that time. This history has been extracted and may be read via this link.
- Edward Percival Bayliss FRGS (1887-1957)
Oxford-born Percival Bayliss was the inaugural Chief Cartographer of the fledgling National Mapping Section that was then housed within the Property and Survey Branch of the Department of the Interior in Canberra. Percival held that position from April 1947 until his retirement in January 1950. During his time with the Commonwealth Public Service Percival became internationally renowned for his work on the 1:1 Million scale International Map of the World series and other major map projects including a 1939 map of Antarctica which he prepared in collaboration with John Stanley Cumpston (1909-1986), an officer with the then Department of External Affairs. In this article Laurie McLean provides a biographical profile of Edward Percival Bayliss as well as glimpses of the lives of a few other people.
- John Abbottsmith (1918-1989)
John Abbottsmith was an engineer and ski expert who was one of the 14 men who wintered at Heard Island in 1948 as part of the inaugural Australian National Antarctic Research Expedition to that sub-Antarctic island during 1947 1949. In this article Laurie McLean gives a brief biographical picture of John Abbottsmith.
- National Mapping's Airborne Terrain Profiling Program, 1962-1982
To produce the contoured 1: 100,000 scale topographic maps from aerial photography, height or vertical control was required. National Mapping found that known ground based methods proved to be too slow or unsuitable for Australian conditions. An airborne solution was thus sought. The Laser Years : Recollecting Airborne Terrain Profiling for Photogrammetric Vertical Control in the Division of National Mapping, 1962-1982, by Paul Wise, provides the most detailed account of the Division of National Mapping's, airborne terrain profiling program. It was this program that generated profiles of the terrain from which the location and height of selected points were extracted, enabling Nat Map's vertical control requirements to be met.
Previously in What's New
Go to ...
- Available National Mapping Technical Reports and Special Publications.
- 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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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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