| NATMAP's operations : |

| in Australia |
| its people |
| associated photographs |

| in Antarctica |
| the people involved |
| associated photographs |

| in Papua New Guinea |
| the people involved |
| associated photographs |

| Aircraft Support |
| associated pilot profiles |

| at the Australian Centre for Remote Sensing |
| its people |
| associated photographs |

| Maps & Products |


Welcome to XNATMAP

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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.
XNatMap logo


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 by Reg Ford and Bob Goldsworthy.

What's New

    As of 5 October 2020

    • Edward John Rollo (1944-1997)-updated
      Laurie McLean has recently updated the November 2018 article on Ted Rollo who worked with Nat Map from 1967 to 1996. This update provides additional information from later research, mainly on Ted's mother Gwenthleon Rollo née Davis (1922-1972) and her family. The update is at this link.
    • Shadwell's Manual for the Accurate Determination of Meridian Distances by Chronometer
      It is easy for us today to think that once an accurate timekeeper/chronometer had been invented, and was readily available, that the age old problem of position fixing at sea had been solved at last. Charles Frederick Alexander Shadwell (1814-1886, later Admiral Sir) showed that the use of the new timekeepers or chronometers for finding longitude was, for the most part, unreliable. Notes on the Management of Chronometers and the Measurement of Meridian Distances, produced by Shadwell, was first published in 1855 and revised in 1861. This article provides some history and details on Shadwell's Manual and his methodology to standardise position fixing. As it is a long article only Part 1 is available this month.
    • Henry Leonard Simpson (1923-2009)
      Harry Simpson worked as a Technical Assistant, Grade 2 in Nat Map's offices in Melbourne and Dandenong between 1973 and 1986. Initially Harry worked in the Examination Surveys Section and from 1977 in map sales with the Survey and Map Records Section of the Technical Services Branch. Despite his humble ways Harry came from a prominent manufacturing family whose household products were widely used. The Simpson Desert was named for one of Harry's uncles. In this article, Laurie McLean provides a biographical tribute to Harry Simpson.
    • The Madigan Line
      In 1981 a party of nine, with thirteen camels, re-enacted Dr Cecil Thomas Madigan's 1939 crossing of the Simpson Desert from (Old) Andado homestead to Birdsville. A fifty minute documentary The Madigan Line recorded the expedition. The documentary, which is also mentioned in the article on Harry Simpson above, may be viewed via this link and monochrome photographs, courtesy Alan Scott, may be viewed via this link.
    • Historical Locations connected with Lasseter's Grave, Petermann Ranges, Central Australia
      Lewis Hubert Lasseter (1880-1931) later and more commonly Lewis Harold Bell Lasseter died a lonely death in the bush searching for a fortune in gold. This article by Paul Wise, does not repeat the Lasseter story or the search for his reef of gold, but is about reconciling various locations, from the literature, connected with the region and the Lasseter story. In doing so maps of the time from explorers and others are examined as many of the place or feature names relevant to the region and Lasseter, are spelt differently by different people and other place names are not depicted on modern maps or listed in gazetteers. WARNING : This article contains the names and images of deceased aboriginal persons.
    • Previously in What's New


    Quicklinks

    • 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.

    • 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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