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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 Natmap’s Topographic Maps : a guide to map reading and Notes on Map Reading.

    Geocentric Datum of Australia 2020 (GDA2020)

    In the lead up to Australia adopting a new datum in 2020, The Intergovernmental Committee on Surveying and Mapping (ICSM) has a page Frequently Asked Questions on Australia’s Datum Modernisation such questions as :

  • What is a datum?
  • What is a geodetic datum?
  • What are Australia’s current national datums?
  • Why do we need an update of GDA94?
  • What will be the benefits of adopting the updated GDA2020?
  • Who will be affected by this change?
  • Will GDA2020 make my paper maps redundant?
  • are answered and you can even ask questions that are not listed.

What's New

    As of 6 June 2017

    • Sadie Elizabeth Bobroff (nee Edmonds), 1921-2017, migrated with her mother in 1927 from Newport, Southern Wales to Perth, WA. There they joined her father who had preceded them to Australia a year earlier. In 1984, after Bob's retirement from Natmap in 1982, Bob and Sadie married and lived out their last happy years in Buderim, Queensland. With Sadie's passing Natmap farewells not only a great lady but a strong supporter of Natmap and its exploits.
    • Both Natmap and RMIT have lost a friend and colleague with the recent passing of Norman Francis Norm Edwards; a Vale is being prepared.
    • Between 14 January and 5 March 1986, an Australian National Antarctic Research Expedition (ANARE) field party of 22 people established a new field base in Antarctica at Bunger Hills about 450 kilometres west of Casey. This party included Natmappers Brian Murphy, John Corcoran and Tiernan MacNamara who undertook aerial photography, control acquisition for Landsat imagery rectification and glaciology survey work. Brian Murphy's report of this expedition is now available via this link.
    • Of interest in Geoscience Australia News of June 2017 :

    • Former Natmap surveyor and then RMIT Lecturer Frank Johnson is credited with devising the mirrors at the Melbourne Shrine of Remembrance to correct the sun's rays for daylight saving at 11AM on 11 November. Along with the article Mirrors at Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance Correct for Daylight Saving Time is Frank's presentation explaining his methodology and a short video.
    • Papers by Natmappers or about Natmap equipment or techniques in University of New South Wales (UNSW) :

        Report on Colloquium, Control for Mapping by Geodetic and Photogrammetric Methods (Ed. P.V. Angus-Leppan) held at the University of New South Wales, 22-24 May, 1967.

        Conference on Refraction Effects in Geodesy and Conference on Electronic Distance Measurement (REF-EDM), UNSW November 1968.

        Symposium on Earth's Gravitational Field and Secular Variations in Position, UNSW, 26-30 November 1973.

        Surveying with GPS, by RW King, EG Masters, C Rizos, A Stolz, J Collins, 1985.

    • A multi-million dollar project to rehabilitate a protected island of the Great Barrier Reef prompted Paul Wise to recall his stay on that same island some 45 years ago.
    • Many of us will still remember Ed Ainscow from around the office and others from working with Ed in the field. With the generous assistance of Ed's wife Peggy we have been able to compile this profile of one of Natmap's bushmen.
    • 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.
    • 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 and 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

    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.

      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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