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What's New Previously

We wish to thank all those who have contributed to the site so far and our current stock of articles, documents and photos will only last a couple more months thereafter What's New will stagnate.

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The Editors

    ....previous months or so

  • During the Geodetic Survey of Australia a trigonometrical station was established on then Ayers Rock in 1958, as described by Ford (1979). To erect its standard cairn and beacon Natmap had received special permission from the Northern Territory Reserves Board. By the late 1960s the carefully constructed rock cairn and beacon had collapsed and a replacement monument was devised and installed in 1970. This article describes the events behind the 1970 remonumenting of the Ayers Rock Trigonmetrical Station.
  • 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.
  • 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.