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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.
Happy Birthday XNATMAP
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Homepage logos used at various times
On 6 October 2006, the XNATMAP website went live. Ten
years later, the original 100Mb of information has grown to 55 times that
volume with the website having around 2000 unique hits every month.
The site took nearly 6 years to develop with many
obstacles to overcome, the hardest being that HTML was only an acronym and
website design, operation and maintenance was an unknown skill. Back in the
early 2000s most of us had only dial-up internet and the long load times of
many sitesí home page a continuous frustration.
Natmapís Glenn Johnstone gave us the website expertise we
needed and his clean design remains the basis of the site today. Although we
all generally have faster internet today, the information pages still load
quickly and it is not until you reach the actual information you require is
there any impact on download speed.
The XNATMAP site is truly a reflection of the diversity
of the Natmap family. Documents, reports, papers, training notes, photographs
and slides were found in bottom draws, dusty boxes, dark recesses of cupboards
and garages and freely made available for use on the site. Other Natmappers
have contributed their memories and recollections to various papers and articles.
The contribution of former colleagues in allied organisations or as Natmap contractors
is also recognised and appreciated.
Perhaps the most pleasing aspect is that XNATMAP is now recognised
for its historical content and accuracy by the professional institutions. These
institutions maintain a link to the XNATMAP site from their own websites. A
further example, was the listing of XNATMAP as a Cartography related
Professional Institute in the Mapping Sciences Institute, Australia, Report to
the International Cartographic Association General Assembly, Brazil 2015.
As of 1 December 2016
- The retirement of Andrew Hatfield, in the next couple of weeks, means that the last Natmapper from the Melbourne office will be gone.
- Handwritten, 1967 report by John Manning at the end of his year working in Antarctica from Australia's Mawson base.
- 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 1800 kilometre long, north-south border between the state of Western Australia and the states of South Australia and the Northern Territory runs east-west for over one hundred metres at latitude 26 degrees south. The opportunity to make the border a single straight line was rejected by the States involved in 1967. More detail can be found in this article.
- John Noble Core Rogers (1898-1971) was the second Director of National Mapping and Chairman of the National Mapping Council. Jack Rogers was
involved with the National Mapping Council from before its formation in 1945 until shortly before his death. Jack was the Commonwealth Surveyor General from 1945 until 1963. His survey career spanned some 55 years and included appointments to several other high-level management positions, some of which he still held at the time of his death at age 73 years. In this article Laurie McLean has provided a detailed biography of Jack Rogers.
- 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
- Jackey Jackey airfield was named after Galmahra, an aboriginal youth selected to accompany the explorer and assistant surveyor Edmund Besley Court Kennedy (1818-1848) and eleven other men on an expedition to Cape York Peninsula. However, over the years this airfield has had other names and is today the Northern Peninsula airport. This article covers the origin and some history of this airfield.
- 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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