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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.

    What's New as of 1 November 2023
    Hover over a title for a synopsis or click associated Item tag for its manuscript

      • Item
        George Thomas McDonald (1835-1915)
        Scottish-born GT McDonald was a pioneering surveyor in Victoria and Queensland from 1858 to around 1913. In Victoria during 1860-1862, McDonald surveyed for a line of road (McDonald's Track) through the Strzelecki Ranges from Lang Lang to Morwell Bridge and later became a District Surveyor at Castlemaine. In Queensland between 1878 and circa 1913, McDonald signed over 1 500 plans of survey, an average of over 40 plans per year. Peers described George McDonald as one of the pioneers of civilization who spent many years surveying the virgin acres of Queensland; in 1904 he was considered one of the most experienced surveyors in that State. George McDonald was also desribed as an honest workman and a genial, kindly gentleman. McDonald and his Australian-born wife Amelia Margaret (Amy) McDonald née Mitchell were the parents of 8 children. In this article, Laurie McLean traces the life and achievements of GT McDonald and some of his family members.

      • Item
        Linear Standards, Distance and Angular Measurement by Linear Apparatus : An Overview
        Around the mid 1850s some 200 different units of measurement, including some from ancient and classical times, were listed along with their then relativity to English feet. Since then the Metric and Imperial systems have emerged as the two common standards. In this article by Paul Wise the emergence of linear measurement and standards is reviewed resulting in the development of the surveyor's/engineer's chain as the most common apparatus for land measurement, including the determination of angles, before the mechanised era.

      • Item (updated)
        Australia's National R502 Map Series : A Tribute to the Forgotten Mappers of the Ghastly Blank
        This article by Paul Wise, was originally presented titled Australia's First 1: 250 000 Scale, Uniform Topographic Map Coverage : The R502 Story. Since then additional information has been discovered that has enhanced the history of this era of mapping.

      • Item
        WILD Heerbrugg Model T4 Universal Theodolite : their known Australian history
        Wild produced a total of 439 model T4 theodolites between 1941 and 1981, of which it appears that four were used operationally in Australia. All four T4's still exist and as little was documented, this article attempts to summarise the use of the T4 by the respective agencies.

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        Australian Primary Data Acquisition Progress Maps for Topographic Mapping 1827-1988
        While there were various maps showing a south land from antiquity and the later navigator/explorers, these maps were mostly of coastline. Some forty years after the First Fleet arrived, in 1827 then Major (later Sir) Thomas Livingstone Mitchell (1792-1855) as Surveyor General saw the first systematic surveying and mapping of Australia. After that, settlement drove the need for mapping. As the XNATMAP website enters it fifteenth year an accumulation of information on Australian primary data acquisition for topographic mapping, gathered and standardised during those years, is presented by Paul Wise.


      • Previously in What's New
      • Major Programs & Related : enables direct access to the information on the listed topics.
      • 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.
      • Available National Mapping Technical Reports and Special Publications.
      • Resources page.

      • The XNATMAP website is archived in perpetuity under the PANDORA initiative of the National Library of Australia and associated State Libraries. Commenced in 1996, Pandora (Preserving and Accessing Networked Documentary Resources of Australia) is Australia's web archive; a growing collection of Australian online publications.
        Cultural Advice : This website contains the images of deceased Aboriginal persons. Please exercise care when viewing the content.

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Registration xnatmap.org : Hosting October 2025, Domain October 2030