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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 preserved as part of the PANDORA archive.
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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.

    What's New

      As of 1 April 2019

      • The Empire, a former Sydney newspaper, published on its page 3 of Wednesday 2 September 1857, a lecture on Land Surveying given by then Australia's first Governor General, Sir William Denison. Denison described Geodesy, Geometry, Geography and Trigonometry as used by the surveyor to map out or divide the surface of the earth into portions of different sizes to suit the wants of its inhabitants. He also talked about the evil of the system whereby the expedient allocation of land lasts way beyond the need for such a temporary measure and thus results in the likelihood that the same piece of land be allocated to two, or even more, people and the ultimate recourse to litigation to resolve the problem.
      • In July 2019 it will be 50 years since the first landing of men on the moon. During that mission and two later missions retroreflector arrays (RRAs) were left behind. All the lunar RRAs are rectangular planar in shape; the Apollo 11 and 14 RRAs are identical and consist of 100 fused silica corner cube reflectors, mounted in a 46 centimeter aluminum panel, each of these corner cubes is 3.8 centimeters in diameter; the Apollo 15 RRA is a larger array consisting of 300 corner cubes. French built reflectors, consisting of 14 corner cubes, were also left on the moon by the unmanned Russian Luna 17 and 21 missions. The RRAs corner cube design means that light hitting the RRA from any angle is reflected back along exactly the same path. A laser pulse emmitted from a Laser Ranging facility on Earth thus has some energy, as low as a single photon, reflected back to the facility from the RRA some 2.5 seconds later with the very precisely measured round trip travel time giving the moon's distance from Earth to a very high accuracy of a few centimeters in some 385,000 kilometres. Since the early 1970s through Natmap, Australia has been involved first with Lunar Laser Ranging (LLR) and later more widely with Satellite Laser Ranging (SLR). This history is summarised with photographs in this article History of Satellite Laser Ranging in Australia.

      • In the late 1960s Nat Map began storing some mapping data digitally. As processes variously known as Computer Aided Drawing, Computer Assisted Cartography, Automated Plotting, Automated Cartography and Automated Photogrammetry evolved the traditional manual map generation stages also evolved into the complete capture and storage of map data digitally. In 1987, the Hermannsburg (5450) 1: 100,000 scale map sheet, was the first sheet to be completely produced by digital methods in Nat Map, and also the last map required to complete its NTMS program. Described in this article The Division of National Mapping's Adoption of Digital Mapping Techniques is the path taken by Nat Map to fulfil the objective of digital mapping capture once and use many.
      • Natmap's supervising surveyor Bill Johnson arrived at Billiluna Homestead in October 1962, having just completed the reconnaissance of the Canning Stock Route (CSR), from Wells 35 to 51, of the Well 35 to Halls Creek traverse section of the national geodetic survey. For the geodetic survey parties to later access the northern CSR to carry out the survey, Johnson arranged a contract for Mr Bill Moyle of Carranya Station to undertake the scraping of the new track to Well 51 and to then continue with further track work southwards to Well 45. The unofficially named Moyle's Track ran from the vicinity of Old Billiluna to Well 45, bypassing Wells 47 and 46 to the east. Topographic maps of the era also show a location named Old Billiluna (ruins). Historically Billiluna took its name from a large water hole recorded as Billiluna Pool by Alfred Wernam Canning around 1910 and which is some distance from the other locations named Billiluna. This article The Historical Locations of Billiluna Homestead in the Kimberley Region of Western Australia by Paul Wise, details the history, people and land tenure behind these sites of Billiluna Homestead, providing an approximate timeline and sequence of occupation.
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    • 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.

    • 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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