Held at Parliament House, Canberra




15th - 19th January, 1945




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Conference Agenda


Resolutions of Conference


Record of Proceedings


Appendix A:   Report of Sub-Committees on Photogrammetry and Cartography.


Appendix B:   (See Agenda Item No.3) – (Not with this document – Ed.)




Department of the Interior, Canberra, A.C.T.





for CONFERENCE between Commonwealth Survey Committee & State Surveyors-General


to be held at Senate Committee Room, Parliament House, Canberra.


Commencing at 2.30 p.m. on Monday 15th January, 45. Concluding on 20.1.45.



Chairman :

Mr. F.M. Johnston


Secretary :

Mr. J.N. Rogers















Survey Committee.







Survey Committee.





PROCEEDINGS: (Order subject to variation)


A -   Opening address and welcome to Delegates by the Minister for the Interior (Senator the Hon. J.S. Collings).


B -   Reply to welcome by representatives.


C -   Procedure, rules and voting - time table.


D -   Appointment of Expert Sub-Committees :

1. Aerial Photography and Photogrammetry.

2. Cartography - Map Scales, projection - reproductions etc.


E -   General Business.



ITEM 1 : Need for a National Survey and the purposes to be served


Representatives of the Services, viz, Navy, Army and Air Force will deal with Defence aspects and requirements. Representative of Department of Post-War Reconstruction will deal with its needs. Civil Aviation requirements by representative of that Department. Common­wealth Geological and. Forestry representatives deal with their require­ments. Each State Surveyor-General to give the requirements of his State.


ITEM 2 : The need for a Central Authority


To co-ordinate the survey and mapping requirements for Defence and other Commonwealth purposes with the needs of the States, to prevent duplication of effort both with ground and Air survey activities. Also to lay down survey and mapping standards and arrange for priorities of work.


ITEM 3 : Assistance required by States from the Commonwealth (material and financial and from the Central Authority in ‑


(a)    Major and other Triangulation.

(b)    In obtaining topographical data for and the preparation of basic maps 1 mile to the inch and smaller scales.

(c)     In obtaining topographical data for and the preparation of maps on larger scale than 1 mile to 1 inch required for schemes for settle­ment development and resources.

(d)    General review of what portion of each State requires mapping, with nature and priority. Decision on types, scales and contour inter­vals of maps to be adopted. (Vide Commonwealth Survey Committee Resolution No. 4).


ITEM 4 : Army Map Series - the suitability of basic maps (Scales 1 mile and 4 miles to 1 inch) for State requirements.


Any suggested modifications to the nature of the maps and contour interval.

(Vide Commonwealth Survey Committee Resolutions No. 2 & 3).


ITEM 5 : The composition of a Central Authority - to Control the National Survey and the extent to which Navy, Army and Air Force can be used


(Vide Commonwealth Survey Committee Resolution No. 9.


ITEM 6 : Flying for Air Photos - Media to be used -


(a)    Air Force.

(b)    Private Air Companies.

(c)     State Flying Organisations.


ITEM 7 : Aerial Photography - (Report by Sub-Committee)


Required Ground control for horizontal and vertical in relation to scale, and contour interval required.


Vertical and obliques - photos - flying heights, scales; and other technical aspects.

Estimates and costs.


ITEM 8 : Photogrammetry - (Report by Sub-Committee)


Use of Plotting machines or other instruments for Air Photo reduction and interpretation.

Contour intervals obtainable.

Estimates of capacity and costs.


ITEM 9 : Cartography - (Report by Sub-Committee)


Scales, projections, reproductions, conventional signs and hill hachuring and shading and other technical aspects.


ITEM 10 : National Repository for maps and Air Photos


(Vide Commonwealth Survey Committee Resolution No. 6).


ITEM 11 : Survey Co-Ordination in accordance with Victorian Act


(Vide Commonwealth Survey Committee Resolution No. 11.)


ITEM 12 : General Review - of personnel required in relation to the manpower position and estimated annual cost of implementing conference decisions.



During the Conference addresses may be given by experts on Air Photography, Photogrammetry and other matters of professional interest.


Visits may be paid to the Stromlo Observatory, Forestry School and Plantations, also other places in the Australian Capital Territory.








HELD AT CANBERRA, 15th - 19th January, 1945.


No. 1

That a co-ordinated national scheme for the mapping of Australia to meet service and civilian purposes is required.


No. 2

That this Conference is of opinion that a National Mapping Council is essential for the co-ordination of the mapping activities of Australia, and re­commends to the Commonwealth and State governments that such Council be estab­lished as a permanent body, comprising the Commonwealth Surveyor-General, who shall be Chairman, a member of the Commonwealth Survey Committee, who shall re­present that Committee, and one representative of each State, who shall be its Surveyor-General and shall represent the co-ordinated requirements of his State. The expression "co-ordination of the mapping activities of Australia" shall be subject to the recognised policy of the Services to control their respective mapping activities, provided that where practicable the standard of all work shall not be less than the minimum requirements of the National Mapping Council. The functions of the National Mapping Council to be as follows:


(1)    To assist in the implementation of the decisions of this and subse­quent Conferences.

(2)    To co-ordinate and correlate mapping on a national basis.

(3)    To determine standard methods and minimum accuracy of requirements of trigonometrical surveys.

(4)    To determine approved methods and minimum standards of accuracy for photogrammetry and cartography.

(5)    Subject to reference to appropriate authorities, to recommend mapping priorities where Commonwealth assistance is involved, except in the case of Service requirements.

(6)    To recommend the allocation of Commonwealth funds provided for nation­al mapping.


No. 3

That subject to the adoption of the principle of resolution No.2, this Conference recommends the appointment of the Commonwealth Surveyor-General as Director of National Mapping who shall be responsible for the co-ordination of the activities of Commonwealth and State authorities in planning and carrying out the national mapping of Australia with full regard to the recommendations of the National Mapping Council; provided that in any case where the Director does not adopt the decisions or recommendations of the Council, he shall so advise all members within 30 days indicating the reasons for any departure there from. It is the opinion of the Conference that the additional duties and responsibilities which would be placed on the Surveyor-General by the adoption of this resolution would necessitate the appointment of a Deputy Surveyor-General.


No. 4

That meetings of the National Napping Council shall be held as required but at intervals not exceeding six months. Members unable to attend may be re­presented by deputy, or may vote in writing.


No. 5

That this Conference notes the effective development of the mapping agencies now existing in the Navy, Army and Air Force, and realises that during the war period these activities must be directed towards mapping for war purposes. With regard to the provision of the basic 1 and 4 miles to an inch topographical maps as required for national mapping, it is recommended that the Services be recognised as competent agencies for carrying out the work, and that the Commonwealth provide funds for ensuring the continuity of this work on an effective basis; and, further, in connection with the question of continuing the national survey, the Conference recommends that the Navy continue to carry out essential hydrographical surveys for developmental and commercial purposes in Australian waters and in Australian spheres of influence in the Pacific. The foregoing is subject to the understanding that each State may carry out such topographical and hydrographical work it considers necessary.


No. 6

That this Conference lays it down as a basic principle and requirement that each field section of the Australian Survey Corps engaged on such tasks as triangulation, standard traverse, or field surveys which must be co-ordinated with civil cadastral surveys, shall be under the direction and supervision of a licensed surveyor.


No. 7

That this Conference notes that several States - for example, Victoria and Tasmania - have already adopted the military mapping series as a basis for their topographical work, and suggests for the consideration of the other States that similar action be taken as opportunity occurs.


No. 8

That in connection with Item 3 of the Conference, agenda and pending the submission of more complete statements to the National Mapping Council at a later date, the more immediate requirements set out under paragraphs (a), (b), and (c) and that portion of paragraph (d) which relates to a general review of the portion of each State which requires mapping, with nature and priori­ty, be forwarded by each State Surveyor-General to the Commonwealth Surveyor-General for inclusion in the proceedings of this Conference.


No. 9

That a vote of thanks be accorded to Dr. Jacobs and to the Sub-Committees and that the report be treated as Appendix A of the Proceedings of the Conference, so that it may be dealt with in detail by the new National Mapping Council.


No. 10

That further discussion of Item 4 of the Conference Agenda be postponed until the first meeting of the National Mapping Council.


No. 11

That Conference having indicated that it considers the three Services competent agencies for carrying out national mapping, recommends that each Commonwealth or State authority be free to employ any competent flying agency, provided the specifications conform to the requirements of national mapping, if used for the purposes of such mapping.


No. 12

That Item 10 of the Conference Agenda "National Repository for Maps and Air Photos" be deferred for consideration at the first meeting of the proposed National Mapping Council.


No. 13

That this Conference recommends for consideration of all State Governments that have not already done so the desirability of introducing legislation for the co-ordination of surveys, and commends the Victorian Act as a basis.





Conference of Commonwealth Survey Committee and Surveyors-General of the

Commonwealth and the States


Held at Parliament House, Canberra, from 15th to 20th January, 1945


Present :


Commonwealth Survey Committee

Mr. F.M. Johnston

Commonwealth Surveyor-General (Chairman)

Lieut.Com. G.D. Tancred

Hydrographic Branch, Department of the Navy

Col. L. Fitzgerald

Director of Survey, Department of the Army

Group Captain W.H. Garing

Dept. of Air

Mr. A.R. McComb

Chief Inspector, Ground Org., Dept. Civil Aviation

Mr. G. Ruddock

Dept. Post-War Reconstruction

Mr. J.N. Rogers

Dept. of Interior (Secretary)





Mr. J.P. Harvey, Surveyor-General

New South Wales

Mr. A.M. Allen, Dir. of Reconstruct’n & Develop­ment

New South Wales

Mr. H.G. Barrie, Actg. Surveyor-General.


Mr. Colin Pitt, Surveyor-General & Sec. for Lands

South Australia

Mr. C.M. Hambidge, Surveyor-General

Western Australia

Mr. W.V. Fyfe, Surveyor-General


Mr. O.G. Pearson, Surveyor-General

Northern Territory

Mr. A.R. Miller, Chief Surveyor




New Zealand

Mr. R.S. Dick, Surveyor-General



State Officers attending


Mr. E.D. Blackwood, Staff Surveyor, Map. Branch

Western Australia

Mr. Stanley, Chief Draftsman


Mr. Holdaway, Cartographer



Commonwealth Officers attending

Dr. H.G. Raggatt, Director

Director, Mineral Resources Survey

Dr. M.R. Jacobs

Commonwealth Forestry Bureau

Lt. Col. J.G. Gillespie

Department of the Army

Wing Cmdr. V.S. Vincent

Department of Air

Squadron-Ldr. Thompson

Department of Air

Mr. E. Pyke

Department of Civil Aviation

Mr. F.L. Hatfield

Department of the Interior

Mr. E.P. Bayliss

Department of the Interior

Mr. J. Sear

Department of the Interior

Mr. A.C. Booth

Department of the Interior





MONDAY, 15th January, 1945


The Conference met a 2.30 p.m. in the Senate Committee Room, Parliament House, Canberra, Senator Collings in the Chair.


Chairman’s Opening Speech


SENATOR COLLINGS - I consider it an honour to have been asked to open this Conference. At the outset, I confess that I have no technical knowledge of your profession; in all matters associated with surveying I rely upon the Commonwealth Surveyor-General, Mr. Johnston.


I am glad that the Conference is being held at Canberra, and as Minister in Charge of the Australian Capital Territory I want you to know more about this capital city before you leave for your homes.


So far as I know, Canberra is the only capital city of any country which was planned by surveyors before nature was interfered with and settlement commenced. Washington, the capital of the U.S.A., was not planned until after a large population had settled there. Canberra is unique also in that the whole of the land in the city and the adjoining Territory is leasehold, not freehold. That means that as the land appreciates in value the benefit goes to the people and not into the pockets of private investors. Money expended in improving the national asset does in fact increase the value of that national asset. I know of no other similar territory which returns 2½% interest on its capital cost.


In addition to being the national capital Canberra is fast becoming an international settlement. Already we have in residence here representatives of most of the really great Powers in the world. Although, as I have said, I have no technical knowledge of surveying, I am, as Minister for the Interior, the largest employer of surveyors in Australia. The Allied Works Council, which is under my control, is a big organisa­tion and employs a large staff of surveyors. From time to time documents relating to the engagement of surveyors come before me for my signature.


Unlike some other Conferences with which I have been officially associated, I believe that the members of this Conference meet here with altruistic motives. It may be well for me to mention at this stage that some distinguished surveyors have been associated with the Commonwealth Parliament. One member of the present Parliament - I refer to the Member representing the Northern Territory, Mr. A.M. Blain, is at present a prisoner in the hands of the Japanese, before entering Parliament he was a surveyor in the Northern Territory. One of the most illustrious members of the Parliament, the late Lord Forrest, was at one time Survey­or General in Western Australia.


I welcome to this Conference Mr. R.S. Dick, the Surveyor-General of New Zealand. During recent years there has been an interchange of visits between members of the Commonwealth and the Zealand Governments, and in the near future the Minister for Health and Minister for Social Services, Senator Fraser, will be paying a visit to the sister Dominion. In 1923, when I had no expectation of ever becoming a Cabinet Minister, I spent three months in New Zealand. I know all the Members of the present New Zealand Cabinet. Recently an agreement, which future generations will regard as of great historic importance, was entered into between the two Dominions.


This Conference is being hold at an appropriate time in the world’s history. The end of the war is drawing nearer and we have to look forward to the Post-war period. We hear a good deal about a “new order” but there will be no new order unless we really desire it and plan for it. The surveying profession will play a large part in the reconstruction which must follow the war. During the war surveyors have performed much useful constructional work for the various fighting services, and accordingly, as ministerial head of the Department of the Interior, I have visited various big undertakings in different parts of Australia. Everywhere that I have gone the heads of the fighting services have given unstinted praise to the work which members of the surveying profession have accomplished. In Australia the profession has not attained to the same status as it has reached in some other countries. That is because Australia is a young nation. Nevertheless I do not know of any other country with a similar population which has accomplished so much in a century and a half. A tremendous task awaits us in the post-war period. Only those who are intimately associated with the work already done know how far reaching some of the post-war projects are. The repatriation of returned servicemen and servicewomen will be a tremendous job. The plans already in hand, and others which are contemplated, will provide great scope for surveyors. The Government's plans for the decentralisation of industry and the establishment of garden cities in rural districts will provide opportunities for surveyors to distinguish themselves. There are many who say that the sparsely populated districts of Australia could be populated by bringing migrants to Australia, but, unfortunately, there is a tendency for migrants to congregate in or near to capital cities. Some of the problems which face Australia will call for devoted service on the part of members of your profession. Soil erosion is causing much loss and will have to be dealt with under a comprehensive scheme. Australia's future will depend also on schemes for conserving water and for afforestation. Recently, as Chairman of the Murray River Commission, I travelled from Canberra to Blanchetown in South Australia. Our journey took us off the main highways and I was greatly distressed the evidence of soil erosion and the need for water conservation, irrigation, and afforestation schemes. At numerous places scoops had to be employed to keep the roads clear of sand. All these schemes will require the services of a great many surveyors, as well as draughtsmen and others in the preparation of maps of various kinds.


During the war we have achieved a large measure of co-operation in many directions, with beneficial results. We must preserve that unity and co-operation in the post-war years if Australia and New Zealand are to fulfill their proper destiny.


I hope that your deliberations will be productive of good results. I do not expect that they will be without some strong differences of opinion, but I am sure that you will face the problems confronting you with determination to find a solution to each of them. I welcome the delegates to Canberra and declare the Conference open.


MR. FYFE - The delegates from the various States and the officers representing Defence and civilian activities greatly appreciate the action of the Commonwealth and State Governments in making this Conference possible. We were impressed by the attention which you drew Mr. Minister, to the altruistic nature of our work. You referred to the services of surveyors in the past and gave us encouragement for the future. During the first one hundred and fifty years of settlement in Australia the surveying and mapping of this country was entrusted to the Governments of the colonies. We cannot fail to appreciate what the early surveyors did. During the last war the Commonwealth authorities took an active part in the defence mapping of Australia and continued those activities until the present war began. Owing to the combined activities of Common­wealth and State authorities in the last five years we have advanced a considerable distance towards the ultimate goal of a national survey and a complete mapping of Australia. In the early period of this war it was found that most of the States had not been mapped sufficiently to supply the information required. The Commonwealth adopted an active programme of survey work and the States co-operated wholeheartedly. In some of the States the civil organisations carried most of the burden until the Australian Survey Corps and the R.A.A.F. were able to take over some of the work. When Australia was faced with the danger of invasion we had produced by the combined efforts of civil and defence authorities aeronautical and other maps of various kinds. By an exchange of ideas this Conference can lay the foundations for co-operation between Common­wealth and State surveying and drafting authorities in future. In the past the Surveyors-General have been charged with the responsibility of supplying the maps and surveys required for Governmental purposes; but at the outbreak of these war emergency measures had to be adopted. We must now decide how the work should be apportioned in future so that the best results may be obtained for the nation. I all impressed, Mr. Minister, by your remark that Canberra has attained international significance.


That fact emphasises the need for the closest possible attention to the proper mapping of Australia.


MR. DICK - Although I hail from New Zealand I am proud to be able to claim Australian parentage. I am grateful for the privilege of being permitted to attend the Conference as an observer. I thank you on behalf of my Minister and the Government of New Zealand for having called me here to discuss aspects of mapping that are familiar to us and may not be familiar to you. This is my first visit to Australia and in coming from Sydney by aeroplane this morning all I could see of Canberra through the clouds was a few gum trees. During the last two hours, however, I have inspected this beautiful city. I admire its boulevards, its wide streets and the space around every dwelling. Canberra provides a striking illustration of town planning de luxe, The Surveyors-General still have a big task ahead of them, not only in land title surveying, but also in the important work of mapping, which forms the basis of all regional and national planning. I suggest that there should be a conference of survey boards every five years, and I hope it will be possible for the Surveyors-General of the Commonwealth and the States to visit New Zealand.


Chairman and Secretary


MR. JOHNSTON - The first item on the agenda is to confirm the appointment of the Chairman and the Secretary. In my position as Chairman of the Commonwealth Survey Committee I have, with the assist­ance of Mr. Rogers, the Secretary of that body, carried out the work of organising this conference.


Resolved, on motion by Colonel Fitzgerald, seconded by Mr. Harvey –


That Mr. Johnston be appointed Chairman and Mr. Rogers Secretary of the Conference.


MR. JOHNSTON - The delegates all know that we have come here to deal with the great problem of a national survey and the mapping of Australia. You have received voluminous data from me and copies of the resolutions of the Commonwealth Survey Committee. You have a good idea as to the views of the Commonwealth but we cannot make progress until we know the views of the representatives of all of the states. Fortunately the Surveyor-General of New Zealand, Mr. Dick, is visiting Australia and I suggest that he should be permitted to attend the conference as an observer. Survey practice in New Zealand rests on a high plane, and I think it would be helpful to have his views on the various problems that will come before us. Although the conference is primarily intended for Surveyors-General, we have with us the Chief Surveyor of the Northern Territory, Mr. Miller, and I suggest that he should be given a status equal to that of a Surveyor-General so that he may be to take part in our discussions. It may be too much to expect complete agreement among us on all matters, but an interchange of professional ideas by a representative gathering of men interested in mapping should be helpful to all of us. The destiny of Australia, so far as its mapping is con­cerned, rests with this conference.



Voting power of delegates


MR. JOHNSTON - I think that the first matter to be determined is the voting power of the delegates. There are six representatives of the Commonwealth present, and I suggest that a satisfactory arrangement would be to give two votes to the Commonwealth and one vote to each of the states. I move –


That the Commonwealth Survey Committee be given two votes, the Northern Territory one vote, and each state one vote.


COLONEL FITZGERALD - I move as an amendment -


That one vote be given to each delegate, excluding observers.


MR. ALLEN - I suggest that as the Northern Territory is a Commonwealth territory, no vote should be given to its representative. The Surveyors-General from all of the states could not reasonably be expected to take part in the proposed discussions if the Commonwealth had a prepon­derance of the voting strength, but we have no desire to prevent dis­cussion.


MR. JOHNSTON - I shall alter the motion to provide that the Commonwealth should have two votes and that the Northern Territory should be excluded from a vote.


MR. FYFE - I am inclined to the view that the Commonwealth should have greater voting power than any one state, but it should not have predominant voting strength.


MR. HARVEY - I too am not in favour of the Commonwealth having a preponderance of votes.


MR. RUDDOCK - Can it be assumed that the resolutions of the Commonwealth Survey Committee will be accepted?


MR. JOHNSTON - Those resolutions have not been adopted by any Department or Government and they are contrary to resolutions previously adopted by both Commonwealth and State Governments.


MR. McCOMB - How will the Commonwealth express its opinion?


MR. JOHNSTON - That is a matter for the Survey Committee to work out. It does not concern the delegates.


GROUP CAPTAIN GARING - The Survey Committee cannot express the views of the R.A.A.F. as such. We cannot be guided by the Committee in matters of high policy.


MR. JOHNSTON - That applies to every delegate. No delegate is empowered to commit his Government on a question of policy.


Amendment negatived.


Resolved ‑


That the Commonwealth be given two votes, that each State be given one vote, and that the Northern Territory be regarded as part of the Commonwealth.






MR. FYFE - I suggest that an additional item for discussion be the extent to which the Governments of the Commonwealth and the States should supply the requirements of local governing authorities and the public in regard to maps and plans.


MR. JOHNSTON - I consider that that matter is covered in Item 1 - Need for a national survey and the purposes to be served. That is one of the purposes to be served.


MR. FYFE - My reason for drawing attention to it is that in at least one state the extent to which private firms should use Commonwealth or State Government maps for reproductive purposes and resale, as well as the extent to which the representatives of the Governments should supply the public with maps of all kinds regardless of encroachment on what in the past has been considered more or less the right of private printers, is a burning question.


MR. JOHNSTON - I believe that the matter is covered adequately by the agenda as it now stands; because definitely one of the main objectives of the National Survey is to make maps available to everybody. However, the matter will be borne in mind in the light of your remarks at the appropriate time.


MR. McCOMB - I move -


That the following new paragraph be added to Item 6 (d) Consideration of the creation of a Commonwealth civil flying organisation as a possible agency for the taking of air photographs.


MR. JOHNSTON - I second the motion. Motion agreed to.



Appointment of Sub-Committees


MR. JOHNSTON - This Conference will not have sufficient time to consider all the technical details in regard to mapping in the various States. The procedure is different in each State. These details could be considered by the technical exports of the, Commonwealth and the States who are present and they could submit a report embodying their views. I have drafted terms of reference which I suggest should be submitted to them.


MR. ALLEN - I propose to move later for the constitution of a national mapping council on the same basis as the National Works Council, to act as a standing authority to co-ordinate all the functions in connection with this matter. The co-ordination of the mapping organisations of Australia is a matter of supreme importance. It might be considered advisable that any sub-committee appointed should report to such a Council. It would then need a little more time to consider its recommendations than would be available to it during the proceedings of this Conference.


MR. JOHNSTON - The setting up of a national mapping council is a matter that would have to be considered by the difference Governments and months would elapse before anything in that regard is done.


MR McCOMB - If we consider that there is justification for the appointment of sub-committees, the terms of reference should be limited purely to technical subjects and should not involve considerations of policy.


COLONEL FITZGERALD - I suggest that this Conference refer to sub-committees any problems that may arise from time to time during the proceedings.


MR. McCOMB - I have prepared shorter terms of reference than those circulated by Mr. Johnston, and I suggest that they be considered before the Conference decides what it shall do.


MR. JOHNSTON - The matter can stand over until tomorrow morning, and in the meantime the members of the Conference can decide individually what lines they think ought to be followed.


The Conference adjourned to 9AM on the following day, Tuesday, 16th January, 1945.


Tuesday 16th January 1945


Illness of Wing-Commander Vincent.


MR. JOHNSTON - I am sorry to have to announce that Wing-Commander Vincent, who was to have assisted Group-Captain Garing, who has to leave tonight, fainted in front of Parliament House this mornings I should like the Conference to agree to convey sympathy with him in this regrettable happening.


MR. ALLEN - We all support your suggestion and most sincerely regret the unfortunate happening



Commonwealth Voting Power


MR. JOHNSTON - The Commonwealth has two votes which it may exercise at this Conference. It would be impossible for the Survey Commi­ttee to decide on the spur of the moment how those votes should be given. Six members of the Survey Committee are present. The deci­sion has been made that Colonel FitzGerald shall exercise one Commonwealth vote on behalf of himself and Lieut. Commander Tancred and Group-Captain Garing, whilst I have been delegated to exercise the other vote on behalf of myself and Messrs. McComb and Ruddock. I make it clear that we shall not by our votes necessarily express the considered view of the Survey Committee.


Appointment of Sub-Committees


MR. JOHNSTON - I move -


That sub-committees be appointed on photogrammetry and cartography to consider the following terms of reference -


Photogrammetry :‑


(1)    The desirability of accepting the practice of aerial surveying as an aid in map production.

(2)    Co-operation between authorities concerned, methods of securing co-ordination of effort and the prevention of duplication of flying and photography etc.

(3)    The desirability of obtaining uniformity in respect to maps produced from aerial photographs.

(a)    Degree of accuracy.

(b)    Specifications.

(c)     Testing of map accuracy.

(d)    Certification of map accuracy.

(4)    The consideration of ground control, flying heights etc., types of photographs, types of instruments, and general equipment, technical procedures includ­ing camera calibration and methods of plotting.

(5)    Training of personnel.

(6)    Supplies of materials.

(7)    Applications of photogrammetry for purposes other than mapping, such as Forestry, geology, engineering projects etc,

(8)    Details relating to the establishment in Canberra of a National Repository for Aerial Photographs.

(9)    Estimates of costs and production.

(10)  Research


Cartography :


(1)    The basic mapping practice adopted by each State, and the maps produced.

(2)    The desirability of establishing a Central National Cartographic Bureau, preferably within the central organisation; its functions and its relations with existing State and Commonwealth organisations.

(3)    The desirability and practicability of topograph­ical information being embodied in existing and future maps in each State; alternatively, the introduction of separate series of topographical maps.

(4)    The suitability of Military Survey information, including 1 mile to 1 inch and 4 miles to 1 inch Military Survey sheets, for State topographical mapping requirements.

(5)    The circumstances under which topographical maps are likely to be required on scales other than 1 mile to 1 inch.

(6)    The possibility of co-ordinating the topographical sheet assembly with that of existing Military Survey sheets.

(7)    The desirability of adopting a uniform projection in similar types of maps, with particular reference to the Transverse Mercator projection used in the Australian Military Survey Map.

(8)    The value of a rectangular grid system on maps for civilian use.

(9)    The desirability of providing rectangular sheet maps, with geographical sheet lines, to supersede or supplement existing official maps.

(10)  The advantages of uniformity in map presentation by all authorities.

(11)  (a)The need for national standardisation of conventional signs (including distinguishing boundaries) for maps of various types and scales.

(b) The practicability of its adoption.

(c) Methods of implementation.

(12)  Relative merits of contours, form lines, hachuring, hill shading and other methods of indicating relief, and consideration of vertical intervals for various types of maps.

(13)  The need of accepted standards of draftmanship and reproduction.

(14)  Technical details relating to map production.

(15)  The desirability of securing a uniform high standard in the training of personnel.


The two Committees will have to co-ordinate their work in some degree. Although the terms of reference are much too broad, I suggest that they ought to be allowed to be placed before the Committees, with any additions that may be considered necessary.


MR. HAMBIDGE - The study of the matters suggested would be most desirable. I suggest, however, that for today at least the members of the sub-committees should listen to the discussions of the Conference, and commence their deliberations tomorrow. I see no objection to placing before them the whole of the matters mentioned, on the understanding that they will deal only with those that are technical. Further matters could be submitted to them if and when the Conference considered such a course to be desirable.


MR. McCOMB - I move –


That the following terms of reference be referred to the sub-committees :-


Photogrammetry :-


The practical application of photogrammetric methods of mapping in Australia, and in particular –


(a)    What types of photogrammetric equipment are suggested for various types of maps needed in Australia, and whether equipment readily procurable.

(b)    Extent of ground control, type of photography, and photo scale, etc. recommended for the various types of maps envisaged in (a).

(c)     Limits of accuracy and results which can be achieved (including contours) when equipment and methods embodied in (a) and (b) are employed.

(d)    Approximate costs of the various types of photogrammetry equipment referred to in (a).

(e)    Approximate costs per square mile of photogrammetric mapping - for the various types of maps needed - costs be given under headings of -

(1)    Ground control

(2)    Air photography

(3)    Map Compilation and reproduction.

(f)      Approximate times involved in mapping envisaged in (a).


Cartography :-


(a)    Main purposes for which maps are required in Australia.

(b)    Types of maps suggested to meet various purposes outlined in (a).

(c)     Projections and scales of types of maps suggested in (b).

(d)    Size of map sheets, indexing and titling systems, etc.

(e)    Conventional signs, symbols, legends, colours, etc. suggested for types of maps proposed in (b).

(f)      Linkage with National and International Authorities.


These terms of reference are confined to technical matters. The proviso could be added that the Committees should have referred to them such other matters as the Conference, during its deliberations, might determine should be referred. The sub-committees would be confused if they had placed before them items of policy or near policy.


MR. PITT - I second the amendment. Amendment agreed to.


Resolved :


That the following be the personnel of the Sub-Committees :-




Dr. Jacobs (Chairman)

Mr. Booth (Secretary)

"    Baker

"    Bayliss

"    Blackwood

"    Close

"    Holdaway

"    Miller

"    Pyke

"   Stanley




Mr. Hatfield (Chairman)

"    Bayliss (Secretary)

Lt. Com. Tancred

Col. Gillespie

Flt. Lt. Breen

Mr. Baker

"    Blackwood

"   Holdaway

"   Pyke





and that the Committees shall function from Wednesday, 17th January.






MR. JOHNSTON - I move –


That a co-ordinated national scheme for the survey and mapping of Australia to meet service and civilian purposes is required.


Although during the war funds are provided without question to meet war needs the position is different in times of peace. In order to carry out the purposes of the motion the Commonwealth Parliament will have to make funds available. It will be our duty to expend that money in the best interests of the country. That means that service and civilian requirements must be co-ordinated in the post-war period. Obviously, anything done by Commonwealth Departments is national in character because it is done in the interests of the whole of the people. Hitherto, mapping has been carried out mainly to show the boundaries of land. The pioneer surveyors did a wonderful job, but they were concerned chiefly with preparing maps for land settlement. The position is entirely different today, and therefore we must adopt a new system. We must but away from a "parish pump" outlook and adopt an Australian view. In England and France, to my knowledge, maps showing everything are obtainable and we mast in future provide maps on that basis. Various bodies have carried resolutions favouring a national survey of Australia. Recently the R.S.S. and A.I.L.A. passed the following resolution which was forwarded to the Prime Minister :- "That a topographical survey of Australia be made, showing all features, man-made and otherwise, as soon as practicable".


I shall not deal with the history of this matter other than to mention that we have a departmental file on this subject. I have seen Page 600 in that file dealing with the matter of a National Survey, but nothing has been done until this very minute. This is the psychological moment. I also draw attention to a resolution dated the 17th November, 1944, addressed by the Victorian Institute of Surveyors to the Director-General of Post-War Reconstruction. The first paragraph reads :-


that machinery should be provided for the co-ordination of the Survey activities of the Commonwealth and States with the object of producing maps on a well designed Australia-wide basis as quickly as possible in the order in which they are most urgently needed for developmental work and without unnecessary overlapping of the separate bodies engaged in survey and mapping.


That resolution and the resolution of the Returned Soldiers' Association dovetail very well and one was carried within a few days of the other. They reveal how civilians and technicians arc thinking, and it behoves this Conference to implement them. I have listed in the agenda the purposes for which this National Survey is required. They are as follows :‑


1.       Aviation (Defence and Civil).

2.       Geological and Geophysical investigations for Minerals, Oil, Artesian Waters etc.

3.       Forestry - including soil erosion problems, bush fire control, also general Botanical studies of plant genera.

4.       Rural and Regional planning.

5.       Agriculture ­Soil Surveys, Classification and Valuation and Appraisement of Lands.

6.       Pastoral - Stock Routes, bore drains, etc.

7.       Shire and Municipal Councils (Works and Assessments).

8.       Communications - Locating Roads, Railways etc.

9.       Irrigation and Water Supply projects - Canals and Harbours - Reclamation and Drainage.

10.    Hydroelectric end Transmiss­ion Routes.

11.    Town Planning and Housing Schemes.

12.    Population - Ethnological, Public Health, Anthropology and general statistical problems.

13.    Educational - Universities and Schools.

14.    Public Health and Spread of Diseases.

15.    Landowners and the public generally.


MR. DICK - I suggest the addition of an item "Tourist and Publicity".


THE CHAIRNAN - As the Minister for the Interior said yesterday, we must think nationally, and it will be most unfortunate if we start off on the wrong foot. We must begin from sound basic principles. I invite Lieut. Commander Tancred to outline the views of the Navy this subject.


LIEUT. COMMANDER TANCRED - First, I desire to inform the Conference that my senior officer, Commander Down, who is in charge of the surveying service, is absent in Northern waters. He has requested me to represent him here and to apologise to the Conference for his absence.


The sphere of the activity of the R.A.N. surveying service may well be defined as "Waters embracing all territory coming under the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth Government and in addition all other areas of the sea which it may be necessary to survey from a Defence and operational viewpoint". That in itself is a tremendous undertaking, but we have this in our favour that it is a clearly defined area and apart from the work of established harbour and marine departments, I cannot see any other surveying body overlapping our work, because it is in the sea and apart from the ground. Of course the actual connecting up of our work with the shore surveying services is a vital factor, particularly in regard to making use of existing topography, maps and triangulations.


Commander Down asked me to reiterate his statement, which he made at the Conference of the Survey Committee last August that so far it has not been possible to obtain the views of the Naval Board regarding postwar surveying. That is merely because the whole setup of postwar surveying is receiving the attention of the Naval Board and is in course of being established. But the Commander asked me to assure the Conference that it can anticipate the fullest co-operation from the Navy in Survey Work. Operations in the Pacific during the last two years have proved beyond all doubt the importance of hydrographic surveying units, particularly in regard to amphibious operations. Before the war this fact was not fully appreciated and consequently difficulties occurred in building up an efficient surveying service of sufficient dimensions to cope with the work. That is what we have been doing since the Japanese entered the war.


Today the R.A.N. surveying service is of considerable size. It is my personal opinion that in the postwar period, in view of the difficulties caused by the lack of hydrographic information in the early stages of the south-west Pacific campaign, the Navy will utilise the services of an efficient hydrographic service as an essential part of the Navy. It also appears that the hydrographic surveying service of Australia will be under the direction of the Naval Board, but that position will not prevent it from co-operating fully in any plan made for a National Survey. Undoubted advantages will accrue in the saving of time if both services can work in certain defined areas in conjunction, as our plans become more clear after the war. It has been proposed that, in order to make more headway with the modernisation of nautical surveys, the R.A.N. surveying service should consist of several vessels with tenders. Of course, all the men on board one surveying ship are not necessarily concerned with surveying. If a ship's personnel numbered 150, probably only 15 men, apart from working parties, would actually be specialists. Only a limited number of personnel would be concerned in the survey. At the same time this work does give personnel great opportunities in practical seamanship and consequently is good training ground for the R.A.N.


Before the war, negotiations were undertaken in conjunction with the Department of Trade and Customs to grant the Navy some financial assistance towards meeting the cost of this service which was obviously of great value to commercial and shipping interests. At present the cost of hydrographic surveys is met by funds from the Naval Vote. Consequently any funds set aside for surveying have to be examined by the Naval Board. It is considered that a separate grant for surveying from outside sources would be of great assistance in maintaining the present expansion of surveying services to enable the rapid completion of all hydrographic surveys outstanding which we shall not be able to touch until the end of the war because of our operational commitments.


THE CHAIRMAN - In war time the Navy is able to obtain all the funds that it requires but when the piping days of peace return the tendency will be to reduce those funds. We are anxious to ensure that this work which has been undertaken by the Navy and the other Services shall continue and the original survey committee considered that the Government should provide funds for the purpose. Our harbours, say, in the north of Western Australia must be surveyed. I assume that the Navy would be very glad to get some funds from the National Survey vote to do anything connected with shore operations.


LIEUT. COMMANDER TANCRED - With the shore or with commerce.


THE CHAIRMAN - Would the representatives of the States like to tell Lieut. Commander Tancred what they will require in the way of hydrographic surveys within the near future?


LIEUT. COMMANDER TANCRED - That matter, as it affects Western Australia, has already been dealt with; but perhaps South Australia may be interested.


MR. HAMBIDGE - I have a list, compiled by the Harbours Board, of our requirements and I shall make them available. The information deals mainly with latitudes and longitudes.


THE CHAIRMAN - Although I participated in the last war, I do not pretend to be a military authority, but I should like at this juncture to point out the new military technique, as it interests us. In the old days our military leaders wanted to know the strategic points where the enemy might land. Now, that has changed. On D-Day the Allies did not require natural harbours. They brought with them their artificial harbours. That technique could be used by an army invading Australia. In addition airborne divisions could be dropped anywhere, even on the Nullarbor Plain although I would be sorry for them if they were. Consequently military maps of strategic points no longer possess their former value. I regard that as a point which this Conference should consider.


COL. FITZGERALD - Amphibious operations have necessitated a most intensive survey and have in no way reduced mapping responsibilities. Then again, an airborne division is not dropped at random because the men have to be supplied. The experience has been that the necessity for maps is definitely accentuated and I cannot visualise a change of policy.


THE CHAIRMAN - An enemy might land anywhere, without maps.


COL. FITZGERALD - We are catering for our own requirements and not for the requirements of the enemy. Every one of us here will realise that Army operations cannot be carried out without adequate maps. We must know the terrain. The Army requirements can be defined almost entirely by the provision of suitable and reliable strategical maps and tactical maps. By "strategical maps", I mean "the 4 mile to 1 inch map". That map covers an extensive area. It is necessary to give a background to the operational area and the tactical map supplies every detail. That has been particularly emphasised in New Guinea where certain features which were not of such concern on the mainland, such as different types of vegetation, were most important. Plantations and secondary growth represented particular problems of communication. Troops could make their way easily through plantations, but not so easily through rain forests; and the tangled undergrowth made great difficulties for them. We had to cater for particular requirements and the feature of the New Guinea maps will be the close and accurate lineation of types of vegetation. That is not so essential on the mainland, and it is open to debate whether our maps of the mainland should show more details about vegetation.


To compile a reliable and accurate 1 inch map, we must have a rigid datum for survey. We have had experience over the last 30 years but until 10 years ago our activities were on a State basis. We were unable to achieve co-ordination. This led to discrepancies which could not be tolerated. For example the maps used in artillery shooting involved a rectangular system of grid co-ordination. It is impracticable for artillery to shoot from one sheet to another when each sheet is compiled differently. In New Guinea we practically mapped unsurveyed country. The maps which existed before the war were useless. Our problem was to provide maps. The campaign at Buna took place before we had an opportunity to place substantial survey personnel in the field end we were handicapped because of the lack of reliable maps. When planning commenced for the Lae operation we had a certain amount of time in which to prepare our information. We succeeded in getting reasonable photography, but we could not get all the survey data that we required. The history of survey control in the Lae campaign would make interesting reading but I do not propose to give the details to this Conference. At Finchhafen, the only control existing was the geographical position of points there. We did not know how accurate they were and we could only accept them. The other control point was at Lae. Of course there were errors. When the landing was made at Finchhafen survey troops went ashore and our first job was to make observations for latitude and observations to stabilise our map grid. The errors discovered there necessitated the revision of maps.


That has been the experience throughout the New Guinea campaign and would have been our experience if the Japanese had landed on the mainland. I believe that we would have fallen by the wayside in the matter of our maps. We could have anticipated certain lines of approach but there was nothing to prevent the enemy from going inland to areas about which we had no information. We are most fortunate that the Japanese did not land in Australia. None of us regards this war as being the war which will end war. We have learnt our lesson and will not become complacent.


In addition to the mile to the inch and four miles to the inch maps, we have produced one in 25,000 of special areas in New Guinea where our campaigns have occurred. Maps used in those campaigns were 1 in 25,000 for the purpose of embodying points of detail. The lineation of the vegetation requires a large scale map and is of such importance that we adopted the 1 in 25,000 map. I have map catalogues and samples which I shall produce when Item 4 is under discussion. You will realise that the line map does not adequately show features which may be of import­ance to the Army. Every tree or patch of kunai grass has its signifi­cance. It cannot be shown satisfactorily on a line map, so we use a photomap. For all our operations we have, in addition to the 1 in 25,000 produced a photomap, usually 1 in 20,000. In the Philippines it is 1 in 25,000. In meeting future requirements we still have a task to complete. One of the major problems is to co-ordinate the system of triangulation for the purposes of accuracy and economy.


One of the post-war jobs is to co-ordinate and extend the major chains and investigate the position with regard to the figure of the earth. In the near post-war period we hope to extend our surveys sufficiently to give us a basis as to the figure of the earth which should be-adopted for Australia.


MR. JOHNSTON - What would you say on the subject of civilian departments producing a one in twenty-five thousand map connected with your series?


COLONEL FITZGERALD - That would be most acceptable.


GROUP CAPTAIN GARING - There are two aspects of the post-war planning of the R.A.A.F. - (1) Aerial survey, and (2) Map Reproduction. The post­war plans include one photographic squadron which will be equipped with Mosquito aircraft or something better. Those craft can fly to altitudes of 65,000' and cover areas at a terrific rate. The technique of aerial survey from the point of view of the Air Forces has developed enormously during the war. With the equipment we are developing now with the aid of Radar equipment we shall be able to carry out surveys of almost featureless country which previously was very difficult indeed. The photographic reconnaissance unit which we propose will have probably the best equipment in the world. Before the war the equipment of the R.A.A.F. was very poor, and the necessity for photographic reconnaissance and air mapping has been brought home to us very much during the war. That equipment has improved by leaps and bounds. Air Forces will be provided with equipment which, for security reasons, nobody else will be permitted to hold. The capacity of the reconnaissance squadron will be adequate to cope with the photographic requirements of a national survey, provided the requirements of the Defence and civil authorities are properly co-ordinated. The express policy of the R.A.A.F. as regards map reproduction in the post-war period is to continue to produce its own maps and charts. We anticipate that by agreement we shall probably be able to meet the requirements of civil aviation. A fully equipped section will be retained for the following purposes - (1) the maintenance of an up-to-date map library and the maintenance of the existing negative library now under the control of R.A.A.F. Command in Brisbane and containing more than three million negatives; (2) A compilation section for the reproduction of original manuscripts; (3) The section to be responsible for plant and other facilities for printing and reproduction. The R.A.A.F. will require maps of not only Australia but also large areas of other continents. Maps of Australia will be produced mainly from the basic Army map which has been compiled from aerial surveys by the R.A.A.F., and as such will form part of the general defence mapping plans. The present proposals regarding surveys do not therefore directly affect the Royal Australian Air Force.


Before a determination can be reached regarding the machinery to be set up for the national survey from a Defence point of view, I think it is essential to define the real object of a national survey and to decide the exact nature of the surveys required and the type of map to be pro­duced. The Army basic maps have been recommended, but no decisions have been reached concerning special maps referred to at previous conferences of the Commonwealth Survey Committee. The problem automatically resolves itself into two aspects. The first is the organisation to be set up to exercise the necessary administrative control. This will be responsible for (1) determining the appropriate areas to be surveyed and according priorities in respect thereto; (2) determining the special maps to be included in the national survey and laying down specifications of standards for such maps; (3) ensuring a proper liaison with the services, so that the requirements of the civil authorities can be co-ordinated with service plans. The co-ordinating authority would enable us to carry out the work more efficiently than otherwise. The photographic reconnaissance unit can carry out aerial surveys in not more than three places in any given time. The second aspect is that of finance. We have to pay for the petrol, the aircraft and the men out of Air Force votes. Probably separate finance should be set aside for this work. Such an organisation would be a planning body, and such plans can be formulated only by a planning committee on which all parties directly concerned with the national survey are represented. At the appropriate time the Commonwealth Survey Committee should resolve itself into a planning committee with the necessary co-opted members. I think the planning should be commenced immediately so that no time will be lost in continuing the national survey after the cessation of hostilities. The initial plan, I imagine, will be embodied in a submission to War Cabinet. I consider it advisable that the proposed War Cabinet agendum should be a joint submission for the Minister for Defence and the Minister for the Interior.


Another matter to be considered is the authorities who are to be responsible for carrying out the actual work. I do not know to what extent this matter will be considered by this Conference. It was fully considered by the Commonwealth Survey Committee last year, and the Air Board and the Defence Committee approved the recommendation for the reasons set out in the Committee's minutes. During the currency of the present war all R.A.A.F. photographic operations are approved by General Head­quarters and controlled by R.A.A.F. Command in Brisbane. They work closely with the Survey Committee. This Conference can be assured of sympathetic co-operation by the R.A.A.F. in the national survey. Our air requirements are very specialised and on an enormous scale, and I imagine it would take us many years to complete our work. While we have sufficient funds we shall probably be able to operate the photographic reconnaissance squadron for about 400 flying hours a month.


MR. McCOMB - I was very interested in the views expressed by the representatives of the Services. We are safe in assuming that they support the motion. I heartily support it on behalf of the Department of Civil Aviation, which is particularly interested in the production and use of aeronautical maps. A recent development in regard to our mapping requirements makes the motion more pertinent. An international conference on Civil Aviation was held at Chicago last November. When the Conference was convened, it was thought that its deliberations would be confined to matters of international policy associated with Civil Aviation, but when the representatives of Australia reached Chicago they learned that they were to deal with many technical aspects of Civil Aviation, including the subject of international aeronautical mapping. I have with me the draft proposals in regard to international mapping for Civil Aviation purposes, which have been referred to the numerous countries that took part in the Conference. These will have to be either confirmed or amended, and subsequently ratified by the different countries.


The mapping requirements proposed supersede the international aeronautical mapping requirements on which Australia has been working since 1919. It is of particular interest to note that the proposals vary considerably our present standards in relation to aeronautical mapping; the projections and scales of practically all the maps proposed are different from what we now have. A reference to them will show that there is need for co-ordination. The Department of Civil Aviation, as the Department concerned, has in mind immediately the production of a new series of maps. The fact that international civil requirements will differ from Service needs stresses the necessity for co-ordination in order to achieve the best results. In my view, our needs should be the subject of consideration by a national authority, rather than that the Department of Air and the Department of Civil Aviation should endeavour between them to arrive at an agreement. We must not lose sight of the fact that we have to deal with the postwar period, and we must not be over influenced by our present position in connection with the proposed national co-ordinated scheme. With some deference, I consider that the departmental and Service proposals should be influenced by the national planning authority which, apparently, everybody has agreed should be set up, so that Service and civilian needs may be best met. The Service authorities at present have very vital needs and these have to be specially recognised. But the degree of the extension of those needs and requirements into the postwar period, in which very important arid even vital civilian needs will arise, should be the subject of a good deal of influence and certain direction by a national authority. I believe that Group-Captain Caring inferred that, when he agreed with the formation of a national planning authority. Such being the case, would it be wise for Service authorities to plan in complete detail postwar surveying and mapping schemes which must, I feel sure, be subject to influence by a national planning authority?


GROUP-CAPTAIN GARING - I agree with that in principle.


MR. McCOMB - It may be of interest to note that the main difference in projection proposed at the international conference was the substitution of the Lambert conformal projector for the Mercator projector for a scale of 1 in 1,000,000. The scales of the other maps also are different from those that we now adopt. From a talk that I have had with one of our representatives at the conference, it appears to me to be likely that the present proposals in regard to scale projection and form of aeronautical maps for civil aviation purposes, as they appear in the draft, are likely to be approved; consequently Australia, as a contracting party, will have to scrap from a civil aviation point of view the aeronautical maps produced quite recently which are in need of amendment as they contain many errors due to the lack of reliable data. The need for Australia to comply with international standards in that respect is obvious. One does not want fliers from other countries to find that our maps are of a different form, projection and scale. The present aeronauticals on Mercator projection have been welcomed by fliers in Australia, but we know that they are being revised when improvements to them can be made. The most notable error is in New South Wales. The height of a mountain on all existing maps is of the order of 2,000 feet wrong, and unfortunately on the wrong side, the height shown on all maps being of the order of 1,800 or 1,900 feet whereas the actual height is 4,000 feet.


COL. FITZGERALD - Was there any discussion at the Chicago conference as to whether or not the Service requirements should be co-ordinated with those of Civil Aviation?


MR. McCOMB - There is no reference to that in the draft agenda, and we have not had time to raise the point with our representatives, who have just returned.


COL. FITZGERLD - The indication at the moment is that, these proposals may be implemented internationally without further reference to the Services.


MR. McCOMB - I believe that they will be referred to the Services in each country. That justifies the inauguration of a national co-ordinating authority. Such an authority should consider whether Australia should seek to retain what it has or should agree to the proposed international standard.


MR. FYFE - Whilst all nations have agreed in regard to the scale and type of projection to be used in their maps for civil aviation purposes after the war, there has been no agreement between the nations as to what each will require for Defence purposes. This rather emphasises that Australia should have an authority which would consider the requirements of the Defence forces and of civil aviation, bearing in mind the agreement entered into with the other nations.


MR. McCOMB - I believe you will find that in the U.S.A., where these proposals were made they have been referred to the Services and that they represent the standard of the Services there. I recall that when the American Forces came here they definitely proposed the use of the Lambert conformal projector, because it suited the needs of the U.S.A. and was in accordance with their standards. From what one hears, one can judge that it also is in accordance with the wishes of the majority of the countries that took part in the conference at Chicago. If the majority rule in that way, Australia will have to comply with the decision even though the representatives of Australia might vote in favour of the Mercator projector.


MR. FYFE - In view of what has been said by Group-Captain Garing, it might happen that we shall have one set of aeronautical maps for civil aviation purposes in accordance with the international agreement, and another set of aeronautical maps on a different projection and perhaps a different scale for Defence purposes.


MR. RUDDOCK - I doubt whether it will be possible for me to be so specific about the requirements of the Department of Post-war Reconstruction as the representatives of the service departments have been. Our Department is relatively new and we cannot say definitely what our mapping requirements will be, except that they will vary according to the area. I can say, however, that the Minister for Post-war Recon­struction has indicated that he is sympathetic towards proposals for a national survey. Our interest in these matters arises out of the function assigned to us in connection with the co-ordination of plans for post-war development.


The Ministry of Post-war Reconstruction is the only body which has a general picture of the plans for post-war development and the employment of the nation's resources. That does not mean that we shall be solely responsible for utilising those resources; in many cases the responsibility will rest with other Commonwealth departments or State departments. We are in close touch with the State planning authorities and are endeavouring to co-ordinate their plans and the plans of other Commonwealth departments relating to matters of national significance. Our interests and requirements are twofold; they concern, first, matters developed by State and Commonwealth departments in which we have a general interest, and, secondly, such matters as soldier settlement and regional planning for which we have a specific responsibility. The Department considers that it is responsible for ensuring that interdepartmental machinery exists for the use of the authorities which will be responsible for carrying out the plans. In its third report the-Rural Reconstruction Commission made a number of recommendations relating to maps dealing with such matters as forestry development, soil erosion, land settle­ment, irrigation projects, certain public works, geological surveys and regional planning. The department is interested in all these projects although their carrying out may be the responsibility of other Commonwealth departments or of State governments.


We are interested in seeing that the activities of the various bodies concerned are co-ordinated and that there shall be uniformity throughout Australia in regard to mapping. The Department has a direct interest in maps which will be required for such purposes as surveys for regional planning to be carried out jointly by the Commonwealth and the States and for land settlement in Commonwealth territories as well as in the States. At a recent Conference of Premiers it was agreed that even in those States which were to act as principals all soil surveys and other surveys necessary for land settlement purposes should first be approved and adopted by the Commonwealth and the States jointly before the work was proceeded with if the particular areas were to come under the land settlement scheme. We are of course interested directly in maps relating to national works and those required for the development of Commonwealth territory. The Department also emphasises the need for Uniform standards. In many instances post-war projects will cover areas which overlap State boundaries and where the work will be carried out by several States. Developmental schemes in the Murray River valley are examples. It would be essential for maps relating to those undertakings to be uniform. At a recent Conference of Premiers when the subject of regional planning was under consideration the Prime Minister, Mr. Curtin, said :-


There is little doubt that complete resources surveys are essential if we are to plan development on a sound and economic basis and if the full potentialities of problem areas are to be determined. I would suggest that surveys of resources should be directed, in the first place, to those areas in which the need is most apparent or to those regions where intensive development can be undertaken. In this work, I suggest to the Conference that Commonwealth and State collaboration is most important. The interest of the Commonwealth Government in the development of the nation's resources, and, indeed, the responsibilities of the Commonwealth for that development, need hardly be emphasized. Commonwealth policy and national development are closely linked. Already there are the following specific cases in which resources Surveys are an urgent necessity and in which Commonwealth-State collaboration will be important:‑


(a)    The future development of the Murray Valley

(b)    Replanning of Newcastle end the nearby coalmining areas in an effort to promote a balanced regional economy

(c)     Northern Territory - especially the areas ranging from Ord River area of Western Australia through the Barkly Tableland into Queensland.


Those remarks of the Prime Minister, which were subsequently endorsed by the Premiers, set out fairly clearly the requirements and interests of the Department of Post-war Reconstruction.


COLONEL FITZGERALD - Has your department expressed any opinion as to the types of maps it considers most suitable?


MR. RUDDOCK - Generally, the basic military maps are considered to be adequate, but a good deal will depend on the particular function to be carried out in a specific area. Until we get definitions of those areas it will be difficult to say what we shall require. At this stage all that I can say is that it would appear that the basic military maps and the photographs of the Air Force will give to us sufficient information for our purposes in connection with regional planning. In connection with regional planning diagrams, rather than maps, may be required in many instances, because on them statistical information of various kinds could more easily be recorded.


MR. MILLER - There is a great deal of misconception on the part of most Australians regarding the Northern Territory, due largely to the conflicting reports which have been circulated regarding that portion of the Commonwealth. Some reports describe the Territory as a land of great potentialities, whilst others describe it as being, for the most part, a barren waste. I have met numbers of people, including a schoolmaster, who believe that Central Australia is mostly below sea level. The Northern Territory comprises 53,620 square miles of which 426,320 square miles are within the tropical zone and 97,300 square miles within the temperate zone. It has a coastline of approximately 1,500 miles. Contrary to the general opinion a large area of the Territory is of considerable elevation, some mountain peaks west of Alice Springs reaching a height of nearly 5,000 feet. South Australia annexed the Territory in 1863, and attempted a land settlement scheme which necessitated certain survey work being undertaken. In 1869 the then Surveyor-General of South Australia, with nine surveyors and eight assistants, reached Darwin to undertake such work. The standard of their work was remarkably good. The survey of the Overland telegraph line was merely a compass traverse, and although a brave attempt to extend a system of triangulation was made in 1874 little survey work was attempted.


Between 1870 and 1889 most of the survey work undertaken was for the purpose of fixing land boundaries. Such exploration surveys as were undertaken were, for the most part, carried out on horseback and were of poor quality. The Commonwealth assumed control of the Territory on the 1st January, 1911, end soon afterwards the survey staff was increased, but the war of 1914-1918 ended that activity. The first real attempt to place surveys in that area on a proper footing was made by the North Australia Commission in 1928. It continued until 1931. More work was carried out in the Alice Springs district in 1937 and 1938. Surveys have been carried out under two systems, the average misclose in both being 1.5 seconds, but the southern system needs the measurement of another base line. The whole of the Queensland border has been surveyed as has 300 miles of the West Australian border. Since 1939 there have been complete surveys of a few Pastoral leases, with topographical information filled in, and in addition 260 miles of stock route on the Barkly Tableland was accurately surveyed by contract.


Considerable work awaits attention in the fixing of the boundaries of pastoral leases. In some instances the uncertainty regarding the location of waterholes has led to disputes among pastoralists. It is interesting to know that in the determination of these boundaries there is no appeal from the decision of the Surveyor-General.


MAPS : In 1928, Mr. H.J. Aylward of the Department of Lands, New South Wales, reported on the procedure of the Lands Department, Northern Territory.


He stated in his report inter alia "the Surveyor-General is, and has always been in his endeavour to place the Survey Branch of the Department on a satisfactory basis, suffering under a grievous disability owing to the crudeness, unreliability and incompleteness of maps, plans and survey records left by his predecessors."


A new map system was initiated by Mr. Easton during his term as Surveyor-General from 1928-1931. This system is in force today but the maps lack topographical detail and something better should supersede them.


Always, up to 1941, the financial aspect governed the lack of surveyors and draftsmen and since then the shortage of manpower caused by the War.


When I was appointed in 1940, the staff comprised 8 surveyors and 7 draftsmen. Much useful large scale work was done in that year but in the following year all energies were devoted to defence projects. We are now down to one surveyor and 2 draftsmen.


I now propose to deal with the requirements of each State.


First, there is the survey of the Stuart Highway, for a distance of 900 miles. Then Darwin is to be re-surveyed to conform with replanning proposals. At Katherine we have a proposed town site for an industrial area and proposals for a dam in Katherine Gorge for a hydroelectric scheme. The proposal calls for 20 chain maps over an area 20 miles by 10 miles wide. In regard to Tennant Creek, topographical maps are required over 400 square miles comprising the Tennant Creek goldfield. At present we do not know the position of some of the mines except by compass bearing and motor car speedometer measurements.


In reference to pastoral lands, the following areas are recommended for early aerial survey and mapping on a standard 4 mile to an inch sheets. The order of priority is given.


  1. Sandover River area between Elkedra and McDonald Downs and from the Stuart Highway to Lake Nash. Include also from Lake Nash to the Tropic of Capricorn. The area comprises 24,000 square miles.
  2. Between the 16th and 18th parallels and the Stuart Highway and longitude 136º 30' containing 29,000 square miles.
  3. Between latitudes 24° and 26° lying between longitude 130° 30' and the north/south railway, containing 22,000 square miles.
  4. Between the Dry River and Stuart Highway lying between the Murranji Stockroute and Katherine, containing 11,000 square miles.


I point out that those four areas total 86,000 square miles, and the area of Victoria is 87,874 square miles. In such a large area to be mapped, it will necessary to depend on air survey with appropriate ground control. This can be supplied from traverses and astro observations but there should be close liaison between the flying authority and the Surveyor-General N.T.


No good purpose will be served at present by completing the West Australian Border - the 129 meridian - of which 460 miles remains to be surveyed. The lands on the eastern side of the border are of little value. Perhaps the Surveyor-General of W.A. can inform us of his views.


With regard to the 26th parallel, the S.A./N.T. border, we have recently fixed the position of two wells reputed to be in South Australia, and have found them to be just inside the Northern Territory.


The survey of the South Australian Border is not considered urgent but at some later date I would urge that about 250 miles between the 132nd and 136th meridians be surveyed. Pastoral leases adjoin the border in this section. The views of the Surveyor-General of South Australia will be appreciated in this regard.


By comparing different classes of vegetation and grasslands on the ground with air photos we can soon make a vegetation study and obtain a classification of lands. This was done with excellent results in New Guinea. Interested persons are invited to read the publication “Vegetation in Eastern New Guinea” of which I wrote a part for the Directorate of Intelligence.


The classification of holdings and the total areas thereof are as follows :-


Pastoral Leases 180,400 square miles;

Grazing Licences 61,337 square miles;

Pastoral Permits 696 square miles;

Occupation Licences 77 acres;

Town Lands Leases 279 acres;

Miscellaneous Leases 46,965 acres;

Agricultural Leases 73,738 acres;

Mission Leases 2,553 square miles.


Many people continue to believe that great prospects, comparable with those of the more densely populated parts of Australia, lie hidden in the Northern Territory. That is a delusion. At present the Northern Territory is carrying 1,000,000 head of cattle and many authorities state that 3,000,000 head could easily be carried. However, this assertion can be proved only when complete surveys have been made giving a proper classification of land, sites for stock routes, and watering places etc. For the past 75 years, lack of financial support for surveys has been a marked factor and we look to a National Survey Committee to provide useful maps for our future planning.


GROUP-CAPTAIN GARING - I regret that I now have to proceed to Melbourne. During my absence my place will be taken by Squadron-Leader Thompson. The Conference has commenced its deliberations on sound principles and I wish it every success. At the first opportunity I shall convey to the Chief of the Air Staff information as to the progress of the Conference to date.


MR. FYFE - I congratulate Group-Captain Garing upon the most informative address that he gave to the Conference this morning. To at least one of the Surveyors-General here, it was most educational.


MR. HARVEY - Queensland agrees in principle with the proposal for a national survey, and the policy of the Government of Queensland is to co-operate to the fullest possible degree in the carrying out of the survey, subject to financial adjustment where equitable. We must base our requirements on the maps we have prepared and found necessary up to date. Proper maps are required in connection with developmental pro­posals. We have hydrographic maps for the Harbours and Marine Department and there are general maps, such as a general State map, a school map and maps for illustrating local government districts and roads and tourist maps. General maps are also required for topographical and geological purposes, irrigation and town and regional planning. With regard to cadastral maps we find it necessary to have a four mile series for lands in the western districts. We have a two mile series for districts more closely settled, and then we come to the forty chains and parish maps down to the twenty chain series.


MR. JOHNSTON - Are all your maps on a co-ordinated system?


MR. HARVEY - Yes. Since about 1930 Queensland has used a sheet system of mapping somewhat on the lines of the military sheet system. As far as hydrographic work is concerned the view expressed by the Department was that the Navy should carry out all hydrographic surveys required for navigation and that any surveys of an engineering nature required in the ports should be the function of the State Department.


MR. BARRIE - New South Wales supports the view that a co-ordinated national scheme, for the mapping of Australia for service and civilian purposes is required. It will be noticed that I have excluded the word “survey”. Surveys are carried out under a board of surveyors whose basis is in an Act of Parliament. There must be a survey before a map can be produced. New South Wales is divided into three parts, the eastern, central and western divisions and the western division is about one third of the State. The eastern and central parts are divided into counties and each county is subdivided into parishes which approximate 30,000 to 40,000 acres. Much of this area has been covered by the cadastral survey. We have 5,416 parishes in New South Wales and the parish maps are printed on a scale of 40 chains to the inch. The counties are on two miles to the inch, the cities, towns and villages on 8 chains to the inch and the Sydney suburban municipalities 5 chains to the inch. The western division map is 16 miles to the inch. We have piled 2800 stations and have observed from about 2200. In addition about 500 were provided during the emergency mapping. We regard the work as so important that we still maintain our trigonometrical survey staff, and our programme is to continue that work. We have the necessary instru­ments to continue it on the present high standard, Topographical maps will be required in connection with our post-war activities but they can be compiled on the checks we have at present and the extensive network of cadastral survey throughout New South Wales.


We have made enquiries as to the kind of map that will be required by the authorities who will be charged with the responsibility of giving effect to this scheme. It appears that maps will be required for illustrating the geological survey, soil survey, soil conservation, land use and agro-economic studies, afforestation, water conservation, etc. The scales required vary from 5 chains to an inch to 8 miles to an inch, with contour intervals appropriate to the horizontal scales and minuteness of the detail to be portrayed. The Soil Conservation Service requires a map of the eastern and central divisions of New South Wales on a scale of 10 chains to an inch, showing all physical and cultural features, property boundaries and contours at 10 feet intervals. The Forestry Commission wants maps depicting the same information, but on scales ranging from 5 chains to an inch to 2 miles to an inch. The Water Conservation and Irrigation Commission needs a topographical map at a one mile scale in­corporating the detail now shown on county maps, but particularly stipu­lates that there should not be any colours. The Main Roads Department would like a map similar to the military standard sheets on a scale of one mile to an inch, and the Police Department favours a topographical map on a scale of 8 miles to an inch. In addition we have maps for administrative districts and tourist maps.


The State covers an area of 309,433 square miles and about one-third of it is in the western division. That will give some conception of the amount of work that has to be done. Of the remaining two-thirds, approximately one half has been covered by the trigonometrical network with a base line laid down at Bourke and connected with a base line laid down at Lake George and other base lines. We are at present planning a check base line. We expect to be able to produce a map of a very high standard which will meet all our needs.


MR. JOHNSTON - Do you envisage the use of the ordinary parish map series, showing the topographical details which might be taken from air photographs, or do you not think it would be better to commence a new series which might conform with the Military survey?


MR. BARRIE - You have raised a very interesting question which is the subject of an investigation by the State Mapping Investigation Committee of which Mr. Allen is the chairman.


MR. JOHNSTON - The basic principle that I want the Conference to decide is that surveys should be made to a Commonwealth standard and should conform with the Military series which we propose to adopt as the basis for the survey of Australia.


MR. BARRIE - I mentioned parishes merely in order to give some idea of the method that we have adopted. The mere fact that we have been using parish maps, which have all sorts of boundaries and irregularities, does not mean that we are going to adhere to them and are not going to conform to the sheet.


MR. JOHNSTON - We have never had topographical maps of Australia with contours. We are coming to a new era, and the point to be decided is whether the States propose to go ahead with the preparation of topograph­ical maps on their old parish sheets or to come in with a new order and make the large scale maps conform with the national survey, which will be the Military survey. That is the basic principle with which I want the Surveyors-General to deal.


MR. ALLEN - There has been set up in New South Wales a Government mapping committee to determine the minimum number of maps and the types of maps required to meet the civil administration requirements in that State. The matter has not progressed beyond the stage of the Departments having been asked to state their requirements. There does not seem to be any reason why a parish map should not be as accurate and complete as any other topographical map. We want to ensure first what is to be the standard projection for Australia. Exactly what our sheeting may be, is completely immaterial. I subscribe to the idea that the sheeting system ought to be determined by some authority and, within the limits of its suitability, should be adopted in relation to all our maps. I have always believed that the whole of the mapping system of Australia, Civil and Military, should be co-ordinated in such a way that in the event of an emergency the whole of the data in the possession of all the Departments could be transferred to one set of maps for Defence purposes.


MR. JOHNSTON - You have indicated that the parish maps have to be redrawn in order to embrace all the topographical data and other information. Instead of redrawing the parish map, why not institute a system of sheets which would fit in with the National Survey of Australia - the Military survey?


MR. ALLEN - I suggest that you are starting from the basis that the National Survey of Australia is already established on an inch to a mile transverse Mercator projection, with contours at 50 feet intervals, and the whole of the detail in conformity with a particular set of maps that you have in mind. I suggest that that set of maps will not meet the requirements of Australia and that the fundamental requirement is to establish one projection, with any sheeting system that is conformable to it. Are you not suggesting that instead of our discussing a National Survey we should discuss whether or not we should adopt a type of survey which already is in existence?


MR. JOHNSTON - The motion is that the Military system shall be adopted as the basis of the National Survey. I want all the States to say that their large scale maps will be on a sheeting system that will fit in with the National Survey already commenced, the foundations having been well laid by the Australian Survey Corps.


MR. ALLEN - I submit that that does not represent the terms of the motion. We are not discussing whether or not the present Military system shall be adopted for the National Survey of Australia, but what will be the requirements in the postwar period, and the need for a co-ordinated national scheme for the mapping of Australia that will meet Service and civilian purposes.


MR. FYFE - Conference has not yet endorsed the findings of the Australian Survey Committee, nor is it known which of the delegates agree or disagree with those findings.


COL. FITZGERLD - Does New South Wales propose to co-ordinate its trigonometrical survey with the first order triangulation chain put in by the Australian Survey Corps?




COL. FITZGERLD - Is it contemplated that the Commonwealth Government shall assist New South Wales with the revision of its parish maps?


MR. ALLEN - I have not given that matter any thought, but I do not imagine that the Commonwealth Government will be asked to assist with the revision of the New South Wales parish maps. Many of those maps are completely accurate. Where we have found it necessary to recompile, we have paid the cost of the recompilation ourselves. I agree in broad principle that we should have a conformable sheeting system of some sort. Bearing in mind the very great importance of parish maps from a titles point of view, it is conceivable that the Government of New South Wales may not see its way to abandon the production of them. There is a keen demand for them by settlers and others who desire to know the location of their properties. Provided they are made to conform to the standard projection and are compiled on co-ordinates of that projection, there seems no reason why they should not be a valuable contribution towards any major mapping scheme for Australia.


MR. PEARSON - Mr. Clark, the deputy Surveyor-General of Victoria, who has taken a tremendous interest in survey work, asked me to offer his apologies and to express his disappointment at not being able to attend this conference. I am somewhat handicapped by his absence, because he knows a great deal more than I do about the detail of these matters. In Victoria, we have county sheets of 2 miles to an inch. Most of the parish plans published are of 40 chains to the inch, although we have also plans of 20 chains to the inch. The counties do not join up. For some time past, we have been altering that system. We do not propose to continue with county sheets, beyond the printing of up-to-date manuscripts and stones. We are publishing sheets of 1 mile to an inch.


We work in close liaison with the service departments. On each sheet there are several control points. Our next undertaking in this connection will be the Gembrook sheet because certain engineering departments require those sheets for projected works. At the same time we are endeavouring to produce parish maps on the same scale and the same projection. The parish maps will be 20 chains to the inch and will be reduced to conform to a scale of one mile to the inch. Our future parish compilations will be on the Transverse Mercator. They will fit in to the mile to the inch sheets. That corresponds with Army stand­ards and until the Army changes its projection we shall adhere to that principle. This method has been in operation for some 12 to 15 years but so far we have not produced many sheets.


So far we have not produced definite topographical maps in Victoria. That has been a handicap to some departments. In Victoria not all surveys come directly under the Surveyor-General as some departments have their own surveyors and prepare their own plans. Authorities such as the Country Roads Board have their own field staffs but all their work is placed on our parish sheets.


We have not done much in Victoria in connection with triangulation for many years, but recently we have done some in connection with the Gembrook shoot. As other sheets are required we shall adopt the same method. We do not mind how much the Army is pre­pared to do in connection with triangulation. If they do not do the work we shall have to do it. There will be no duplication.


The biggest development in Victoria recently has been in connect­ion with the photo survey. Victoria comprises about 87,000 square miles and is about one quarter the size of New South Wales. Already about 20,000 square miles have been photo’d by the Air Force for Defence purposes. As we require plans of particular areas we propose to obtain prints from the Air Force. Their scale is rather small for our purposes.


The Government of Victoria approves the proposal to photo the remaining 67,000 square miles, but I do not think that any contract has yet been signed. I do not know whether full sheets will be prepared in every case, but whether full or partial sheets are prepared they will all be on the same projection. We believe that our work will fit in with the national scheme of mapping. I do not think that Victoria has asked the Commonwealth for financial assistance for this work. In certain instances the State must decide what work shall be done and on what scale maps shall be drawn. In some instances the scale will have to be less than one mile to the inch. Before we submitted our scheme we enquired whether it would be possible for the Air Force to do the work for us. It was not practicable for the Air Force to do it as its funds are provided for Defence purposes. We shall, however, take care to avoid duplication. A Conference has been held to discuss matters and before the proposal was submitted to Cabinet we made certain that there would be no duplication of work already done by the Army or Air Force.


MR. JOHNSTON - That is a cheering statement. Victoria is conforming to the military system and that is what I should like to see done throughout Australia. Is it proposed to prepare a photomap or will you have topographical sheets?


MR. PEARSON - The idea is to have photos which will be indexed so that any department or authority, whether Federal or State, may obtain copies and be able to make use of them as they desire.


MR. JOHNSTON - That is a good example of co-ordination between the Commonwealth and the States. It avoids duplication and waste.


MR. PEARSON - The scale will be about one in 15,000.


COLONEL FITZGERALD - That scale is acceptable to the Army. We adopt a smaller scale because it is economical and also because we can more easily obtain our objective of one mile to the inch. We realise that the scale mentioned may suit State requirements. We can embody such maps in the national survey and would be unlikely to require duplicate coverage on a scale of one in 30,000.


MR. ALLEN - Did you confer with the Commonwealth authorities in regard to the specifications?


MR. PEARSON - We conferred with the Civil Aviation Department and we had advice from the Air Force authorities.


MR. McCOMB - Representatives of the Army, the Air Force, and the Civil Aviation Department conferred with the Surveyor-General of Victoria in connection with the project and assisted in the preparation of specifications for the air survey contract.


MR. PEARSON - We were glad to have that assistance.


MR. PITT - We in Tasmania consider that a topographical and major detailed survey is an urgent necessity. We also agree that such survey should conform to national requirements and we will adhere to that principle. The purposes to be served by such a survey of Tasmania are many. Maps are urgently required by many State departments and authorities such as the Hydroelectric Commission, Public Works Depart­ment, Department of Agriculture, Department of Mines and authorities controlling water, sewerage and transport. The Regional and Town and Country Planning Commission will also require maps. Requests by the Tourist Department for maps could not be complied with because of shortage of staff to prepare them. This year the Hydroelectric Commission and the Departments of Public Works and Agriculture have made funds available to my Department for the purpose of providing maps of certain areas. It is hoped that arrangements will soon be completed for an aerial survey of about 8000 square miles of Tasmania. Tentative arrangements have been made with a private company to do the work for which funds are available. I do not anticipate any major difficulties but the rugged nature of the country and frequent adverse weather conditions are important factors. Although no financial difficulties are apparent at the moment that happy condition may not continue in the future. Our main trouble at the moment is to complete work urgently required with our limited equipment and shortage of manpower.


Tasmania is a small State and therefore it is more necessary than on the mainland of Australia that all the resources of the State shall be fully develop­ed. The rough and more inaccessible areas probably comprise the State's greatest asset, particularly in respect of hydroelectric power. I understand that so far the hydroelectric scheme has developed about 179,000 horsepower and that there is a possibility of 1,000,000 horse­power being developed. The rough and mountainous regions of the State where the rainfall is high, should be surveyed and mapped so that their potentialities may be estimated. The only practical way to map those areas is from the air. Parties working on the ground may travel only 20 chains in five days in heavily timbered country where the scrub is almost impenetrable. We recognise the need for maps of the whole State and are doing our best with limited equipment and manpower to meet that need. This survey is a separate thing from our cadastral maps. It may be an advantage later on to put the cadastral lines on the national maps. We usually refer to cadastral plans as charts which are used mainly for title purposes.


The national survey will be e national survey in a true sense of the term as it will be mainly topographical. It must be of a national character and should conform to whatever standards are laid down by the controlling authority. Our mapping is in a bad state but we are remedying matters. We have established a topographical branch and have placed a capable officer in charge. Already a complete map of Tasmania on a scale of 4 miles to the inch has been compiled. The projection is Transverse Mercator. Observations were made by our Department for the Army and there was also a recalculation of the whole of the original triangulation of the State. That triangulation was completed in 1859 and since then many of the records have been lost and we had only the computed measurements. Two precise geometrical bases were put down last year. We have completed 250 square miles of the Hobart sheet so it will be seen that we have not been idle.


MR. JOHNSTON - The story from Tasmania also is cheering. Will the survey data be reduced to the 40 scale sheet?


MR. PITT - I think so, but the Departments concerned will fix the scale. All the sheets will conform to the military system.


MR. JOHNSTON - That is the sort of thing I want to see done throughout Australia.


MR. ALLEN - If you produce maps on a scale of 40 chains to the inch you will not be able to conform to the military system. The maps will be too big.


MR. PITT - That will be the size of the manuscript. We can print to the size required by the military authorities.


MR. JOHNSTON - Four sheets will fit in to one military sheet.


MR. PITT - I should like to refer to another matter. In Tasmania we have been successful in obtaining a Survey Co-ordination Act and we have commenced to register plans. The brightest feature about that is that big authorities in Tasmania, such as the Boya Paper Company and Mount Lyell, although not included in the Act, have signified to me their willingness to register their plans with our central office. That will be of tremendous assistance because they cover a great deal of very rough country.


The Survey Co-ordination Act is almost exactly the same as the Victorian Act. That was done with a purpose, because I considered, after consultation with my officers that if we are to co-ordinate the efforts of all State authorities, it is necessary to do so on the same basis. That is the beginning of the co-ordination in survey matters. The second feature of co-ordination is now before this conference. That is a larger co-ordination. But we go even further than that with international co-ordination. One must dove-tail in with the other. Our small co-ordination in Tasmania must dove-tail in with the co-ordination that this conference is now considering; and that co-ordination must dove-­tail definitely with inter-national co-ordination in mapping matters. There is no doubt about that.


This co-ordination, and the proper mapping of Australia and of Tasmania, are matters of great interest to me. Unfortunately, I was not connected with the surveying industry for many years. I was primarily an engineer and it is only in the last few years that I have returned to the surveying business, although I am a qualified surveyor. One matter always struck me as an engineer for many years, especially on road location work. I would do survey work in very rough country and later would discuss it with another officer. He would inform me that he did that work 20 years ago and had all information in his office. Those experiences were rather heart breaking. Some areas in Tasmania have been surveyed for different purposes required ay different departments on three occasions. We want to avoid a repetition of that. For that reason I hope that the Surveyors’-General here will take steps to interest their Ministers in the co-ordination of surveys, first within a state, secondly in connexion with this authority, and thirdly internationally.


THE CHAIRMAN - Mr. Pitt referred to a proposed aerial survey. Has he consulted any Commonwealth authorities in regard to the specification?


MR. PITT - The matter is only tentative. We have approached various authorities to do this work, but no arrangement has been made. While I am in Canberra, I shall confer with any authority to ascertain exactly what is required.


THE CHAIRMAN - Is not one of the terms of reference to the photogrammetry sub-committee to get the standard specification?


MR. PITT - Yes, and that will be of the greatest assistance to me. In view of the fact that the Air Force has been so busy, I thought that we would never get this work done, but we have had quite a rush. We may be able to get a little bit done this summer. Only during three months of the year can aerial photography be undertaken with any success in Tasmania. The Far West is the most difficult country. We shall adhere to any specification in exactly the same way as Victoria.


THE CHAIRMAN - Can we assume that the air photographs will be available to the Defence Department, and that there will be no duplication?


MR. PITT - Offices of the Defence Department are at liberty to walk into our co-ordination office and without payment or question obtain any or the information there.


THE CHAIRMAN - Will the Defence Department be able to get copies of your air photographs for military mapping?


MR. PITT - Definitely. That provision is contained in the Co-Ordination Act.


MR. HARVEY - For how long has the Act been in operation?


MR. PITT - It has only just been gazetted. I have with me a copy of the regulations and I shall make them available to the conference.


MR. ALLEN - Have you found that the topographical information available in your cadastral surveys would be of great value in the photographic maps?


MR. PITT - No it would be useless. You are on a different to terrain. Many of our cadastral lines are at 25 or 30 degrees. One may say that Tasmania “stands on end”.


MR. HAMBIDGE - I have with me a map which will be of some interest to the conference. After I have made a few comments on it, I shall hand it other Surveyors’-General because it will give them some idea of our problems in South Australia. It sets out to show the principal land activity in that state and in doing so gives some idea of the position of the rainfall isohyets. We have not shown that different types of country but I notice that towards the western boundary from the Great Australian Bight to the northern boundary of the state there are nearly 5 degrees of longitude in which the country is practically unoccupied and likely to continue so. About 84% of the state has a rainfall of less than 10 inches. Therefore you can imagine that if a map of that area is to be based on economics, it must be very carefully handled.


Much of our mapping in the lower type of country is somewhat meagre. Some has not been done at all and in a very large area occupied principally by cattle, the boundaries are unfenced. They are fixed as being a certain distance from certain trig points. The largest station has 11,000 square miles, and the pastoralist does not care whether he has 100 miles more or less than he should. We are not very particular in that area.


About 5.5% of the state as a rainfall from 15 to 20 inches and 3% of the state has a rainfall exceeding 20 inches. Therefore, our problem is somewhat different from that of Tasmania. The map shows how the rainfall follows the ranges, and other high country.


I come now to the maps that we already have. The basis of those maps was a polyconic projection of the state in sheets of 4 miles to the inch and from that we reduced to 8 miles and various other scales. From that we also prepared maps of 4 miles and 8 miles to the inch. Hitherto those maps always showed the creeks but as they have been reprinted, I have endeavoured to include hill features in order to give some idea of whether the country was flat or not. The maps are printed in two sheets, so that when they are reduced to 8 miles it becomes one sheet. Unfortunately when they produced them from these pastoral sheets, they left the meridians and parallels in blue, and consequently they did not appear in the photographs. I have been reinstating them as far as practical.


The other maps which we produced our cadastral map of what we call our “hundreds” which are somewhat similar to parishes. They cover 100 square miles or more. During the last 40 years they have been plotted on rectangular co-ordinates, each “hundred” separately. They are plotted on 20 chains reduced to 40 and 80. Each map is produced independently. How they managed before 1900 I do not know; but they seemed to succeed in tying their surveys together and when we came to work in the emergency mapping, we did not in most cases have a great deal of adjustment to make. We joined these “hundred” maps on 80 chains to an inch and photographed it and reduced it to a map of 8 miles to an inch. Owing primarily to the stretching and shrinking in photographing, we have had difficulty in joining them. That was not the fault of the plotting because the “hundred” lines as a rule are straight.


Those are the main maps of interest to this conference. The State projection was laid down with a more or less accurate and inaccurate trig series which went wherever hills were and that was assisted by lines in lieu of triangulation. Where they could not get fixings, they ran lines. One ran north-east of Fowlers Bay for a distance of 250 miles to Eucla and thence to Ooldea.


THE CHAIRMAN - Were they standard traverses?


MR. HAMBIDGE - I should not call them standard. They were done many years ago before the present day accuracy was available.


Before leaving Adelaide I approached numerous departments for the purpose of ascertaining to what extent the existing 1 mile to the inch military map would be of assistance to them. Since listening to some of the previous speakers, I realise that I forgot to consult the Tourist Bureau, Mining Department and Police Department. However I did approach the Engineering Section, Harbours Board, Forestry Department, the Soil Conservator and ourselves, and ascertained that in every case the existing 1 mile to the inch military map would be of greet assistance as a base. But each Department indicated that it would need additional information. I shall refer again to this matter when we discuss item 4. However, the general opinion in South Australia is that this national mapping scheme should receive whole-hearted support and co-operation. When I came to Canberra, I recognised that some difficulties might arise in obtaining the necessary finance for these proposals and I consider that the more people who give us justification for the production of the maps the greater will be our prospects of getting the necessary money.


Obviously we shall need to redraw and replot the map of South Australia. As yet, we have not given any thought to the projection, beyond the fact that we are prepared to wait and ascertain what will be the most suitable for the requirements of the State which extends from the 129th to the 141st meridians. We must have it on a projection enabling us to produce a map of the whole State in one piece. Whether you will put that on one projection one the sheets on another will have to be determined. We already have a “chain” that the Army has done from the south-east to a point opposite Port Augusta but we need a “chain” from there to the Northern Territory boundary. With that as a back-bone, we would need ribs running from it to hang our map on, as it were. We would connect in the southern portion of the State to our cadastral surveys, and work in the rest as best we could. I would not suggest that we should go over our original “trig” work again but if identical points are observed, we may be able to ascertain the error in existing "trig" work, and thus make it conform.


Aerial photographs are of the utmost importance to enable soil surveys to be made. The Forestry officials would be keen to have such photographs of lands proposed to be used to settlement. We are beginning to run short of firewood and we are aiming to prevent the removal of all wood, green or dry, from areas with rainfalls of less than 10 inches a year, other than in the Mallee areas. I discussed the matter with our Soil Conservator and his ideal was air photos of the whole of the State. He was prepared to break that down to all closely occupied country, with an outside fringe. We should like a selected area or areas of pastoral country carefully photographed and re-photograph at stated periods to enable us to ascertain whether the country is improved or still slipping. When you have such a big area with a rainfall of less than 10 inches and almost as big an area under 7 inches, wind erosion will play an important part, and the regeneration of that country presents a problem of considerable magnitude. The engineering people advised me that they have no projects held up for want of maps but they would like photos of the country from Port Augusta to the south coast near Cape Jervis and on to the River Murray. In reprinting our maps we are now showing in red the principal, main and secondary roads.


COL. FITZGERLD - Are the roads classified from field information or according to the Main Roads Department?


MR. HAMBIDGE - Our main roads vary from bitumen to earth roads, but they are the best roads in the particular area. They are called main roads because they are gazetted as such.


MR. JOHNSTON - Would you not be requiring contour end topographical maps in respect of some parts of South Australia?


MR. HAMBIDGE - In the Flinders Ranges we shall ask for a contour map for the purpose of mineral development.


MR. JOHNSTON - Why not adopt a system in conformity with Military sheet lines?


MR. HAMBIDGE - I do not see any reason why we should not do that in the case of Mount Paynter.


MR. JOHNSTON - If you wanted topographical maps for developmental purposes, should thy not be drawn to conform with the Military series?


MR. HAMBIDGE - Undoubtedly.


MR. FYFE - I desire to emphasise the value of the addresses given this morning by the representatives of the Navy, the Army and the Air Force, and other Commonwealth representatives. The representatives of the Fighting Forces have had to meet the requirements that arose from the possibility of invasion of Australia. They have warned us that we must be prepared in future for any eventuality. It, therefore, seems clear that we must face the responsibility of a National Survey for the purposes of Defence and of meeting or civilian requirements. In Western Australia we have about 4,750 miles of coastline and an area of about 975,000 square miles, or nearly one-third of the continent. It is clear therefore that the Commonwealth and the States must co-operate to the utmost in order to complete a national survey and provide all the maps that may be needed in future for defence and developmental purposes.


I draw the attention of the conference to the following extract from my annual report for the year ended 30th June 1944 –


Western Australia may be considered in four main divisions for the purpose of considering the potential­ities for further farming and pastoral settlement as follows :-



The South West

  20,000 sq. Miles =    2%


The Wheat & Sheep Farming area 

  88,000 sq. miles =    9%


The Pastoral areas

517,000 sq. miles =   53%


The Interior

350,920 sq. miles =   36%


Total of State : 

975,920 sq. miles = 100%


I emphasise that the agricultural areas in Western Australia as occupied at present represent only 11% of the total area. The interior which is unoccupied is, I think, equal to the whole of New South Wales. The report continues -


It has been the policy of the Department of Lands and Surveys since early in this century to carry out classi­fication surveys before subdividing areas for settlement, consequently plans and reports are now available covering areas of land owned by the Crown in the south-west, and wheat and sheep farming areas equal in the aggregate to 19,000,000 acres. In addition, the classifications in the possession of the Taxation and Lands Departments and Agricultural Bank of land which has been alienated or is in course of alienation represent a total area of not less than 30,000,000 acres…….


At the end of June 1944, there were approximately 8,800 blocks of land surveyed within the areas mentioned and held by the Crown….


A close study of the existing classifications shows that the areas of vacant surveyed and unsurveyed Crown land suitable for selection……are as follows : -


South West : Dairying and Mixed Farming

   700,000 acres

Sheep & Wheat Farming Areas

5,440,000 acres

Making a total of

6,140,000 acres


My report refers briefly to the main phases of surveying and mapping in the past and indicates the history of the mapping of the western portion of Australia. At the outbreak of the present War, the position was found to be very unsatisfactory from a Defence point of view and a Mapping Committee was appointed on which were representatives of every Government Department, Commonwealth and State. When Japan came into the war the Commonwealth authorities and the R.A.A.F. took a more active part and the State assisted the Australian Survey Corps. As the result of the work of that corps and of the R.A.A.F. maps were produced which cover most of the regions of which maps would be required in the event of invasion. The question as to where a line should be drawn between the work carried out by the Commonwealth authorities and those of the States, can be considered later, but I assure the Conference of the wholehearted support of Western Australia with regard to a National Survey. Before the war a survey was made by a private company of 450,000 square miles from the Ninety Mile Beach in the north-west of Western Australia to the Great Australian Bight. That was the Mackay Aerial reconnaissance. The information supplied, was very helpful but it was not of great importance from the Defence and economic points of view because of the arid nature of much of the country and the fact that it is practically uninhabited. My report further states :


A total of 15,475 lithographs were issued during the year. Of these, 2,975 were used for departmental purposes, 2,746 were issued free to other Departments, 3,743 were sold to the Defence Department, 1,940 were sold to the public, and 4,071 to the Commonwealth and other State Departments. The money derived from the sale amounted to £951.


The Metropolitan road map, printed in five colours in 1941, proved a great success, and of the 3,200 copies printed, only 300 copies remained.


During the year a party was sent to the East Kimberleys to carry out a survey of the Ord River Valley. In order to ascertain its potentialities for irrigation and settlement and the extent of the soil erosion which occurred in the upper part of the valley. The classification and soil survey expedition has shown great possibilities with regard to the development of the valley.


The soil erosion reconnaissance survey has shown erosion to be a very serious problem. Surveyor Medcalf carried out the survey with the assistance of the R.A.A.F. It was found that about 1200 square miles of country was very badly eroded. Action will be taken soon with a view to preventing the erosion from increasing.


I shall deal now with the needs of Western Australia in relation to mapping and surveys in the future. In the first place, surveys, maps and plans are required for all the purposes listed and read by the Chairman this morning, carried out partly by the Commonwealth and partly by the State. The Commonwealth part would relate mainly to the aeronautical, military and hydrographic surveys. There has been excellent co-operation during the war and I have no doubt that it can continue after the war. Dealing with the hydrographic work, a Confer­ence was held at which Lieutenant Commander Tancred represented the Commonwealth and the requirements of Western Australia in regard to hydrographic charts were stated. A comprehensive plan was laid down and I am confident that the Naval hydrographic section ultimately will carry it out. It is very important from the standpoint of not only Defence but also the requirements of the northern half of Western Australia. The charts with which shipping masters are provided to enable them to enter the ports along the north-west coast are very unreliable and in parts of the North Kimberley region we do not actually know where the coast line is. Therefore, hydrographic surveys are necessary. Lieutenant Commander Tancred knows the position and so far as is practicable has made provision to meet it. Western Australia carried out a good deal of work for the Australian Survey Corps until it got going, and the co-operation between us continued subsequently although the State dropped out of the work to some degree whilst the responsi­bility of the Australian Survey Corps increased. We obtained the maps that were required and they would have been most useful in the event of an invasion. I feel sure that we can reach an agreement whereby the Australian Survey Corps will play its part in the major triangulation and topographical survey without seriously encroaching on the rights of the State, still leaving to the State a very important part in the mapping of its area.


We have been and are still dependent upon the R.A.A.F. for the aerial photography that is required in connection with our mapping. For civil requirements, a large volume of work needs to be done in the northern part of the State, particularly the Kimberleys and the North West. Whether, in the future the Commonwealth will provide the neces­sary aerial surveys, or they will be provided by private companies, can be decided later; but in view of the remarks which Group Captain Garing made this morning, there is every prospect of a big field of activity for the R.A.A.F. in Western Australia in conjunction with the National survey and ultimately the proper mapping of the State. In saying that, I am not at this stage definitely giving a pledge that the State will not approach any private company for assistance in con­nection with aerial photography. It was pleasing to me to hear of the advance that had been made in aerial photography and of what can be and is intended to be done for Defence purposes in the future. I look forward to further happy co-operation with those three main mapping authorities as well as a continuance of the co-operation that has existed with the civil departments of the Commonwealth in the preparation of aeronautical and any other maps that may he required, without encroachment on what we regard as the right of the State to provide whatever maps may be needed for the purposes of Government departments, local governing authorities, and the people generally. I have had prepared by the Chief Draughtsman, a list of the maps that which we, as a State Department publish for the use of the departments and local governing bodies.


MR. JOHNSTON - Are they topographical maps with contours, or land boundary maps?


MR. FYFE - Some of them are land boundary maps whilst others include quite a lot of topographical information. One series is a topographical series.


MR. JOHNSTON - With contours?


MR. FYFE - Not with contours but with topographical details.


MR. JOHNSTON - You are not saying that that is all the Western Australia needs for civilian purposes?


MR. FYFE - At this juncture, I am not prepared to forecast the future requirements of Western Australia. What is intended is that we shall consider, first, to what extent our existing maps have met the requirements of the people including the government and local governing bodies; that we shall consider to what extent we can use the whole of the surveying and mapping work that is being done for defence purposes, in the compilation of new maps for the state; and that we shall consider to what extent we can reduce the number of plans we have had in the past. The list that I have prepared embraces maps of 21 different types. It might be possible to eliminate some of those and to include some features of the new military or aeronautical maps in improved maps for state purposes, thus affecting economy and avoiding duplication of effort.


In regard to the extent to which the work done jointly by the Defence forces and the State can be used to produce quickly better maps then we have had in the past, I refer to the 10 mile topo series State map we were in the course of compiling, which a number of sheets have been completed. I have an example of it with me. It was compiled primarily to meet State requirements. Had invasion occurred, it would have met Defence requirements to a considerable degree. Illustrating the degree to which coordination of effort can be achieved this map has not been drawn on the projections that we used for the State maps in the past, but on the Transverse Mercator projection in conformity with the military scheme of mapping. It has shown on it the Army grouping, certain Army references and, most entirely, the symbols used in the Army. It includes information additional to that shown on other strategic maps or military maps. I again quote from a report in which I said –


The trend of international events was such early in 1939 that it was considered necessary to take stock of the position in Western Australia regarding maps for Defence purposes; consequently a conference was held in the Surveyor-General’s office and was attended by represent­atives of all Commonwealth and State departments which had produced maps and plans in this State. It was ascertained what the nature and quantity of maps, plans, lithos, etc. in the possession of each were, and a Mapping Committee was formed to ensure co-operation and avoid duplication of effort and cost.


At a later date during the early part of the war, a vigorous policy of surveying and mapping for defence purposes was adopted, and additional surveying and drafting staff were employed by the Department of Lands & Surveys (which had already released many of its surveyors and draftsmen for the forces). It was realised that for the vast areas in the North-West and Northern parts of the State, survey data and the information regarding roads, tracks, water supplies and other station improvements were not sufficient, therefore the assistance of the Road Boards and pastoralists was sought with most commendable results. Lithos were sent to the pastoralists showing in each case the station boundaries, with instructions as to how the improvements and prominent features were to be marked thereon. In the aggregate, this essential and extensive information was obtained in respect of 560 stations, compris­ing an area of about 200,000,000 acres.


That was an emergency measure. We did not have any information in regard to the position of homesteads, water supplies, the nature of the water, the position of fences, and other features on the stations. On account of the urgency of the matter and the impracticability of sending surveyors out to make measurements and to ascertain the position, we enlisted the support of the pastoralists, who have had years of practice drawing sketches showing the relative positions of different tracks and features. From 560 station owners we obtained information embracing an area of 200 million acres and that information has been used in the compilation of the topographical map. By reference to the map, one could travel from Murchison River a thousand miles or more in a north-easterly direction. It contains a record of all the fences and water supplies, whether the water is potable, the nature of the tracks, and the main topographical features. The position of each item of detail is not absolutely accurate, but it is sufficiently approximate to be useful when used in conjunction with the basic survey information which although limited, has been sufficient to provide a general foundation for these maps in the past. When the series has been completed and the Defence position will permit, the maps will be made available to the pastoralists throughout the whole of these areas and the public of Western Australia generally. The drawing has been done in strict conformity with the Defence system and could be used immediately by the defence force if necessary.


Because of the size of Western Australia, a difficult problem is presented by the determination of what projection is the most suitable. The projection used for the mapping of the State must be different from that employed in a separate series of lithographs or plans which may be prepared for general or Defence purposes. A new map of the State on a polyconic projection is in course of compilation. I do not see any insurmountable difficulty in converting the series scales of 80, 40 and 20 chains to the inch, in the revision of all our lithographs, to the Transverse Mercator projection, and the adoption of the sheet lines in accordance with the mapping of the Australian Survey Corps. It would take a considerable time to affect the change; and although the position on the map of the different features would not vary very greatly, for the sake of uniformity and in order to ensure that State maps may readily be used by the Commonwealth in the future, particularly for Defence purposes, the bringing of the State projection into line with that of the Commonwealth for those sheets, and making the sheet lines also conform, would be a move well worthwhile. If, in the meantime, the Commonwealth should decide as a result of an international conference or any other event, that the Transverse Mercator projection is not the best, the position would have to be reconsidered; but as I view it now there is a very good prospect that the State of Western Australia will conform generally with the Commonwealth Defence system of mapping. I produce for the information of the Conference samples of the twenty-one plans that have been listed. It is our intention to produce improved roadmaps and tourist maps as soon as the manpower position will permit us to do so.


MR. JOHNSTON - Is there much practical difference between of the polyconic and the Transverse Mercator projection?


MR. FYFE - For a map of the State, the distortion under the Transverse Mercator projection is greater than under the polyconic projection. When I have referred to the North-West of Western Australia my reference has been made to the area below the twentieth parallel which does not include the Kimberleys. In many communications we have had lately from the eastern States the differentiation has not been made clear. In order to meet civil, defence, and general public requirements, we produced an up-to-date road map of the metropolitan area, which has been very greatly in demand and has proved most popular. With a view to meeting the requirements of local governing authorities and the public a new series of 4 miles to the inch maps has been produced, showing all the private surveys. Prior to the war, a plan showing private surveys could be obtained only from the Taxation Department. We have a map of one town showing the private as well as the original surveys. It is intended to publish similar maps of the whole of the State. In regard to the metropolitan area we found it necessary to produce particularly for local governing authorities a more useful map than was in existence. It was decided to carry out a major triangulation of the metropolitan area and this is nearing completion. When completed we shall set down sheet lines which will conform to the military system, and produce a map of the metropolitan area on proper scientific lines, giving information as required by the local authorities and the general public. The scale will be 4 chains to an inch.


MR. JOHNSTON - Will it have contours?


MR. FYFE - No contours are shown on the other metropolitan roads maps.




MR. FYFE - The area within a 25 mile radius of Perth.


MR. JOHNSTON - Do you do you not think that contours are very badly needed for civilian use.


MR. FYFE - For the metropolitan area, they can be obtained from the metropolitan road map which I have produced, and also from the four main sheets of 20 chains to the inch, on which that road map was based. In addition to the topographical map and the pastoral sheets, there are the ordinary lithographs showing topographical information and the position of pastoral leases and stations, on a scale of 300 chains to the inch. The idea is to reproduce those maps on a 4 miles to the inch basis and to conform to the military system of mapping in regard to the projection and sheet lines.


I shall now deal with the main needs of Western Australian the future. In addition to the maintenance of our present system we required that the exploration, triangulation classification of that part of Western Australia which lies north of the twentieth parallel shall be completed as soon as possible, both for defence purposes and for purposes of post-war development. In that region, in the North Kimberleys particularly, there is a considerable area which has not been explored. Action has been taken to prevent the leasing of any country in it for pastoral purposes until we know what it contains and can design it for comprehensive settlement as sheep or cattle stations rather than allow individual selectors of leases to pick the eyes out of the country and thus prejudice its future comprehensive development. The urgency of the exploration and classification of the northern part of the Kimberleys cannot be too strongly stretched.


I think that an extension of the 10 miles to the inch map would be best. At present that part of Western Australia is largely a blank on our maps. When proposals for the exploitation of iron ore deposits at Yampi Sound were being considered some years ago it was found that at one place instead of there being pine forest as shown on the maps there was and inlet of the sea 15 miles wide. We do not yet know where the coastline of the State is and we know very little of the nature of the country between the settled pastoral areas and the district further north. For post-war purposes that information is essential.


Other projects which will have to be undertaken include :


The taking of aerial photos of the Kimberley's district for the purposes of mapping that part of the State, and the aerial mapping also of the south-west of the state.


The triangulation of the balance of the state which has not been included in the trigonometrical survey.


The completion of the 20 chain to the inch compilation plan.


General surveys of the state of the purpose of development and to meet the requirements of land settlement classification, including soil conservation surveys and other surveys.


Western Australia supports the proposal for a national survey. I regard this as an opportunity to establish a land mark in the history of surveying and mapping in Australia.


Resolved : (Resolution No.1)


That a co-ordinated National scheme for the mapping of Australia to meet service and civilian purposes is required.



The conference adjourned to the following day, Wednesday, 17th January 1945.



Wednesday, 17th January 1945.



MR. JOHNSTON - This morning Dr. Jacobs of the Commonwealth Forestry Bureau will deal with the subject of a National Survey from the viewpoint of a forester. I point out that forestry, geology and soil surveys are three Commonwealth activities and that maps will be required in every State. It would not be fitting for the Director-General of Forests or the head of the Commonwealth Geological Branch or of the C.S. & I.R. to have to go to every State to arrange the maps. There should be a central authority and uniformity at least as regards symbols. That indicates a need for a co-ordinated National Survey.


DR. JACOBS - I shall speak today as a Forester, as a Commonwealth officer and as soldier. A decade or so ago a national survey would have involved many years of patient toil by numerous field survey parties and the interest of foresters would have been chiefly in the cartographic result of the work. Today the surveyor is assisted in his work by air photographs of the terrain. The interpretation of these photographs not only leads to the production of a topographical map, but also permits an inventory of certain resources to be made. Consequently Authorities who are interested in such matters as vegetation, climate, geology, soils, and economic use of land, are found at a Congress of Surveyors. I hope that our meeting together will enable us to have a better understanding of our mutual problems. It may lead us to make mutual sacrifices. A national survey should enable a stocktaking to be made of our timber resources. Australia's timber position is far from satisfactory and something must be done to improve it. Recently, the Controller of Timber said that in addition to exploiting our own timber resources, Australia would have to import 350,000,000 super feet of timber each year for reconstruction work. At the same congress, the Inspector General of Forests said that Australian forests should be able to supply the reasonable needs of the population. A national survey would enable us to plan that our forest could be bought to a state of full production. Air photographs would assist us in assessing the condition of various forests and provide roads, firebreaks etc. It should also enable us to see the effects of erosion and fires. Even with that assistance it must be remembered that the restoration of damage forest must take a long time it may take 50 or 100 years, or in the event of a major disaster, as long as 200 years. Were we concerned only with the industrial aspects of forestry, our interest in the national survey would be confined to a comparatively narrow strip of land around our eastern and southern seaboard. However, the war has forced us to take a wider view. We have to consider the timber needs which would have to be supplied in the event of an attack upon Australia and therefore we must know what timber supplies are available in any locality that an Army Commander may be called upon to defend. Therefore, we must be in a position to supplement standard Military maps with the following information :


  1. The class of timber present in that area.
  2. How much timber existing localities of varying accessibility.
  3. Areas particularly favourable for timber getting operations.
  4. The equipment required to obtain the timber.


That means that the Forester is interested in a general survey of the whole of Australia.


I was in Germany during the rise of Hitler; I worked at these Zeiss factory on the application of air photography to forestry. The Germans told us plainly what they were going to do, but when the British authorities were told they would not believe us. I returned to Australia at the end of 1932 and was asked to undertake a timber reconnaissance of the Northern Territory. The Administrator expected me to do the work while residing at Darwin, but of course that was impossible. I fear that a black mark was entered against my record in the Department of the Interior because I was determined to make a trip through the Territory. When the present war broke out I was in New York. When a number of us asked what we could do we were laughed at and told that the war could not last more than six weeks. In 1942 I was given the job of locating timber supplies between Alice Springs and Birdum. It was thought that we may have to rely on local timber supplies, and even on using charcoal because of inability to obtain petrol. It is essential that we know the full timber resources of Australia. Army forestry units are now preparing dossiers to supplement the standard 1 inch to a mile maps in New Guinea. These dossiers are prepared from an examination of all suitable photo coverage at the air photo library in Melbourne, and later they are checked by field experience. The result is that by the end of the war we shall have better forests maps and statistics for much of New Guinea and we shall have of many parts of Australia. A national survey is necessary to correct this state of affairs.


To consider the relative responsibilities of the States and Commonwealth in the Forestry side of a National Survey, the State forests of the Australian States are under the Administrative control of the States, not the Commonwealth. Within each State the Forestry Departments have little control of crown land carrying forest but not under the direct administration of the Forest Department, and no Government Department has much control over private forest land. The same condition exists in Territories administered by the Commonwealth. The only time there is much control over private forest land is at a time of stress such as the present, when all National Resources come under National Security Regulations administered by the Commonwealth.


Both Commonwealth and State Authorities must therefore be interested in a wide National Stocktaking covering the greater part of the country. As regards Forestry information, the Commonwealth Authority will need the information for the advice of the defence forces, and to know our total resources in times of stress. The State Forest Authorities are not likely to have much detailed interest in timber resources of outback places likely to be of use only in case of defence, though other State Departments will naturally be involved. Both the State Forest Authori­ties and the Commonwealth Forest Authorities will be interested in find­ing the potential of private forest land in the areas producing timber economically.


In the case of more detailed surveys of settled areas with large scale photo cover, the State Forest Authorities will have most interest. These surveys will be most valuable for the Administration of State Forests, and that is a State responsibility. The Commonwealth Authority may have interest in these surveys in as much as they prove valuable in presenting a case to the Government for the allocation of funds controlled by the Commonwealth for a State enterprise. It would appear therefore that the Forestry side of a National Survey must be a matter of close co-operation between State and Common­wealth Forest Authorities, the Commonwealth Authority being most interest­ed in the wide survey of National Resources, and the State Authorities in the more detailed surveys assisting the Administration of the commer­cial and protective woodlands of the States.


It is not possible to leave the general question of a stocktaking without referring to the probable importance of assessing the potential of the private woodlots of the country. The sum of these little areas of trees can make a valuable contribution to the timber supplies of a State. For example, in France, one quarter of the total forest area is in little private woodlots less than 25 acres in extent. Another quarter is in small privately-owned stands between 25 and 250 acres in extent. Nearly half the State timber potential is thus bound up in what our farmers might call "scrub paddock". While it is not suggested that we will find that the private forests of our land equal in potentiality the productivity of what we regard today as affective forest land, it is felt that the National Stocktaking will show that those private woodlots can make a very significant contribution to our economy if we can encourage the owners to improve them and manage them efficiently. This is one of the important results that our timber industry would get from the National Survey.


As regards the prerequisites of a survey designed to allow the production of the Forestry information, I have discussed, it may be of interest to give the following notes here, though doubtless this aspect will be discussed in more detail in the appropriate Committee. First, we can get much of the general information necessary for a broad stock­taking from photographs having a small enough scale to be of interest from a mapping viewpoint, for 1" to a mile maps. We can make very good use of tri-metrogon photographs provided the scale of the vertical is not smaller than 1:25,000. Smaller scales than this are difficult to interpret unless occasional runs at a larger scale are also provided. In the case of New Guinea, we have a wide range of large scale strike pictures which aid the interpretation of small scale general coverage; but if a general photographic survey of Australia is made, it will not be practicable to provide those large scale runs, For this reason, it is hoped that it will be possible to aim for a scale not smaller than about 1:25,000 for verticals in a general coverage project.


Secondly, detailed Forest Surveys will require a photo scale of 1:10,000 or 1:12,000 for most efficient work. Work of this nature is likely to be an item apart from the broader National Survey, and must in many instances be purely a State matter. For example, in the case of plantations having a high capital value, it is certainly worth while having the areas re-photographed at 5 or 10 yearly periods for working plan revisions. Forestry people do not want to have physical possession of many photographs. We shall be perfectly satisfied to do the broad scale work in a central photo library under the control of a central authority. But where work is being done in a valuable plantation, we shall require physical possession of the pictures. However, that will be apart from the general question of a national survey.


MR. McCOMB - Would you have physical possession of the negatives or prints?


DR. JACOBS - The prints. The negatives might easily be kept by a central library. I consider that from the standpoint of the future defence of this country, we need a central photo library in which will be kept representative photographs of all the country and on every scale imaginable. The only satisfactory thing in handling Army equipment is to have physical possession. It will be necessary for the central library to have physical possession of a wide range of pictures and the ideal arrangement might be something in the nature of what is done with books. When a book is printed in Australia, a copy of it must be deposited with the National Library. Similarly any air photograph taken in Australia should be deposited with a central library.


Thirdly, wherever the Commonwealth Air Photo Library is situated, it is hoped that space will be arranged for continuous work by the Commonwealth and State Forest Authorities. The Commonwealth Forest Authority will keep this aspect before the National Survey Committee.


In conclusion, I should like to point out that, while the direct concern of the Forester in the National Survey is for Forestry informa­tion alone, the interpretation of the Vegetation coming from our analysis of the pictures would assist several other aspects of the work, varying from climatic changes to soil surveys. We know that in the course of 200 years, the climate of different parts of the earth has varied considerably. When I went to the University I was taught that if one knew the average rainfall of a country for twenty years, you had a general idea of the situation for all time. Now we know that that information is wrong. Marginal countries like Palestine, Ireland, Australia and the midwestern U.S.A. suffer considerable fluctuations in the course of 200 years. Those changes make a land like Palestine vary from a desert to a land of milk and honey. They make a country like Ireland vary from the excessively wet to a delightful land. As Australia has large areas of marginal land, this information is most important. We should know at least the extremes that our people have to face. This national survey will give us some knowledge in that direction from an analysis of vegetation, as for example in Queensland, where the scrub may be encroaching on the forest, or the forest on the scrub. In the U.S.A. great interest is being taken in this matter, and I hope that it will be shown here as a major branch of forestry, because it is of such importance to the growth of trees. The efficient use of land in this marginal country of ours is a difficult and vital problem, but we can do a great deal about it if surveyors and representatives of other appropriate professions co-operate in the problems of its development and defence.


MR. JOHNSTON - The Conference is deeply indebted to Dr. Jacobs for his informative and inspiring address. I should like to ask him a few questions. First, do Forestry authorities desire uniformity of scales, maps and symbols on the Forestry maps produced of the various States?


JACOBS - That would be very desirable.


MR. JOHNSTON - Apart from Forestry authorities, the same would apply to geological and oil surveys, because they would deal with maps, not only of Commonwealth territories but also of the States. In those circumstances, uniformity would be very desirable. The geologist does not necessarily want to prepare his own maps. Do Forestry author­ities desire to make their own maps?


DR. JACOBS - Our idea is not to make our own maps. I imagine our own work being done in the same manner as we are doing in collaboration with the Army Survey Corps. After they have prepared a map, we get it and the air pictures that have been used for its preparation, and we analyse it from the Forestry aspect and superimpose on the map the necessary Forestry information. We do not desire to produce a topo­graphical map of our own.


MR. McCOMB - Are the existing 4" and 1" maps entirely satisfactory for Forestry purposes as basic maps, or can you recommend any alterations?


DR. JACOBS - I should not like to express an opinion off-hand. I may say that the maps which we received of New Guinea are a great relief after the maps of forests in Australia.


MR. McCOMB - I am thinking of maps already prepared in Australia. Can you suggest any additions from the Forestry point of view?


DR. JACOBS - The main one is contours. In our maps of New Guinea we have tried to combine Defence requirements with a long-term job, and the Army co-operated with us in doing so. We took maps with the form lines and divided them into areas, the first covering a slope up to 10 degrees, the second between 10 degrees and 30 degrees, and the third over 30 degrees. That division is marked on the map, quite apart from the various forest types. Our idea is that in New Guinea land with slopes up to 10 degrees must be reserved for agriculture. Land between 10 and 30 degrees will be utilised for forestry, and the land over 30 degrees will be useless. In New Guinea most of the land is over 30 degrees. There is very little land under 10 degrees. The Wau aerodrome has a slope of 10 degrees.


MR. JOHNSTON - Your experience with military maps would be under service conditions. You have not had a great deal of experience with them under civilian conditions in Australia?


DR. JACOBS - No. The Army maps, as is claimed, are temporary and for their purpose they are good enough. They definitely would not be suitable for that type of surveying that defines a parcel of land in a way which could be upheld in a court of law. For the purpose of giving a quick oversight of the land, they are very good.


MR. FYFE - I support the tribute that Mr. Johnston paid to Dr. Jacobs address. We all agree about the absolute necessity for complete co-opera­tion between the Commonwealth and the States in regard to forestry, and mapping for forestry purposes.


Dr. Jacobs made two statements which in regard to Western Australia are not correct and I desire to draw attention to them. His first state­ment was that in regard to Crown lands the Forestry Department has practically no control outside the State forests or timber reserves. That is not so. In Western Australia the Conservator of Forests has control of practically the whole of the timber resources of the State. Crown Lands which are not included in State forests may be considered under two headings, State forests are retained for forestry in perpetuity, and the policy of the Department is to use those forests in a way that the amount of cutting is consistent with regeneration and reafforestation. Regarding timber reserves, the policy is that the land shall not be made available for settlement until the timber has been taken from them. It may be between 10 years and 40 years before some of those timber reserves will be available for settlement. In regard to the remaining Crown Lands, of which there is a vast area, the Department of Lands and Surveys cannot throw open for selection any land until the approval of the Conservator of Forests has been obtained in regard to the marketable timber on it. Therefore the Conservator has control of the timber resources of Western Australia.


The other remark of Dr. Jacobs was that the State Forestry author­ities have no interest in the timber resources in the more remote parts of the States. That is not so in Western Australia. The Conservator has complete control. He has completed a stock-taking and the prepar­ation of proper detailed maps of all areas carrying any marketable timber. In addition by reconnaissance and obtaining information from the various sources, he has a substantial knowledge of what little timber exists in the more remote regions of Western Australia, par­ticularly in the North West and the Kimberleys. As time passes he will no doubt find that aerial photography will greatly assist in providing more information about timber resources, if any, of any value in those remote regions.


Regarding the main forestry regions in Western Australia, the Conservator having practically completed his stocktaking and maps except for the contours and knowing practically the exact quantities of timber there that can be reasonably estimated as becoming available in the future, will be able to assist the Commonwealth considerably in this national work of taking stock of the resources of the Commonwealth for Defence and other purposes.


MR. ALLEN - The control of timber on Crown lands in New South Wales is vested in the New South Wales Forestry Commission and no other authority has any power to deal with it. The Minister for Lands, in a statesman‑like decision, indicated some time ago that there was no appreciable area of Crown lands adapted for closer settlement, and he would be pleased to concur in any request by the Forestry Commission for the permanent retention of the remaining Crown lands in the forestry interests. New South Wales has arranged for a considerable amount of aerial photography to be done. If any difficulty has been experienced by Doctor Jacobs in obtaining prints, I should be glad to do anything I can to remedy the position. I should regret any feeling that New South Wales was not willing to co-operate and exchange information with the Commonwealth.


MR. PITT - In Tasmania the Forestry Department has full control of all timber on Crown lands and no land can be alienated without its consent.


MR. HARVEY - A similar position obtains in Queensland. The Forestry Department exercises control over all timber in State forests and the Lands Department has jurisdiction over timber reserves and leaseholds. Under a recent Act there is control also of all timber on private property.


MR. JOHNSTON - The aspect with which we are mainly concerned is maps and mapping data.


MR. FYFL - I stated that the stocktaking of the areas in Western Australia carrying marketable timber had been completed. We have a complete plan of the forests of marketable timber, showing the loadages of standing timber. It would definitely help in forestry activities if we had contours as well as the working plans showing the details of the forests.


MR. JOHNSTON - Our problem here is the topographical mapping of the forests, but Mr. Fyfe has not produced a single map from W.A. that has a contour on it.


MR. FYFE - We did not come here armed with a full set of forestry maps, but there are maps showing the contours of a considerable area of the forests in W.A.


DR. JACOBS - I have drawn attention to the importance of obtaining an assessment of the potentialities of private lands as well as Crown lands. We have about 10,000,000 acres of effective forest land in Australia. A national survey would enable us to obtain forest boundaries for State forests.


COL. FITZGERALD - Will Dr. Jacobs indicate the means by which financial assistance has been given by the Commonwealth to the State Forestry Departments?


DR. JACOBS - The Commonwealth Government has made considerable grants to the States from time to time for forestry purposes. The Commonwealth Treasurer has asked for broad details of the forestry plans of the States, and these have been submitted to him. Part of the duty of the Commonwealth Forestry Department is to advise the Treasury with regard to such grants.


DR. RAGGATT - (Director of the Mineral Resources Survey, Department of Supply and Shipping) - I think the States appreciate the fact that with regard to mineral resources a co-ordinating body has come into existence through whom they can make contact with overseas authorities. We are getting our information mainly through the State authorities and our practice in advising overseas countries is to tell them to apply to the individual States when they require detailed information. With regard to geological mapping it is generally agreed amongst Commonwealth and State authorities that uniformity of scale, symbol end method of presentation is very desirable. In dealing with a problem in which the States would welcome Commonwealth direction such as a survey of the Great Artesian Basin which involves three States and the Northern Territory, it would be ridiculous not to have maps drawn to a uniform projection, uniform scale and uniform symbols. Any decision reached by this Conference of Surveyors’-General will vitally affect any problems we may consider with regard to geological maps. Geologists should not have to waste their time in making maps. Apart from surveyors, geologists will probably add more in the way of topographical information to your maps than anybody other than engineers, because no topographical map is accurate enough to show for instance, details of coal seams. I do not believe that any State or Commonwealth instrumentality, outside the mapping authority, should be in a position to approach anybody to take air photographs of an area in order to produce maps. The Commonwealth authority should be advised promptly on any action taken by the State authority.


MR. PITT - In Tasmania, it is compulsory for any Department to inform the Surveyor-General of its intention to undertake any class of work.


DR. RAGGATT - That is a good practice. I am not so much concerned about the scale of the maps which may be decided on as the standard, as I am about the scale of the photographs. If the scale of the photograph is 20 or 40 chains to the inch we can put that, dependent on the value of the detail, on to a scale of 8 miles, 4 miles, or 1 mile to the inch. There are many areas the detail of which you could not reduce to a scale of 2 miles to an inch. Coalmines would overlap on vertical sections of plans. For all geological purposes, there must be contours. We cannot draw a section without contours and we cannot interpret the plan. For water boring, we need to know the heights of the collars of bores in order to make a check of the water table. In some areas, contours of 100' would do, but in coalfield areas I should think that one would need nothing worse than 25'. The point that I make is that if prints are available of 20 chains or slightly under to the inch, the scale map does not trouble me very much because we can map to that scale. Then we can plot that information on the nearest scale map available, according to the scale determined. If you produced a map of a mile to an inch, presumably a helio of half a mile to the inch would be available. In the Mines Department of New South Wales the parish maps are of 40 chains to an inch, and the Surveyor-General used to supply the field parties with helios at 20 chains to an inch. There is a secondary point; you could not very well set out to map 8 miles to an inch; there might be a lot of geology inside that area. Obviously, with prints of from 20 to 40 chains, that would not matter. If you decided that detail could be sacrificed, you might choose the 8 mile map for publication.


A further point in regard to the need for co-ordination and uniform­ity is that we are continually being asked by overseas interests for a geological map of Australia, and the only one that we have is that which was drawn to a scale of about 50 miles to an inch by the Lands Department for Professor David. A further reason for co-ordination is that sooner or later we shall have to face up to the production of an official map because of the number of enquiries that are being received and it will be a nuisance to have all sorts of projections and scales which we should have to try to put on to one co-ordinated map. When we are supplied with prints, we do not want photographic masterpieces which have been patched up in order that they may look nice.


An entirely different aspect of our work is done by the Geophysical Branch, which is as large as the Geological Branch. New South Wales is interested in the setting up of an official geophysical survey. We have a long tradition as agents in Australia of the Carnegie Institution of Washington and as the authorities for the magnetic survey of the Commonwealth. We are mapping to Carnegie standards magnetically, and regularly send them on their own printed report forms our reoccupation readings of the network of the whole of the Commonwealth. We have stations all over the Commonwealth which we reoccupy from time to time. Recently, all the stations were reoccupied from Broken Hill, through Port Augusta and across the Bight to Fremantle and Bunbury, and a party has gone to Geraldton and Port Hedland. The necessity for that work was brought sharply into focus by the war, when we set out to give the armed forces an isogonic map of the Commonwealth. Since that time, much to our astonishment, we have been asked to extend our operations, and the last extension takes in a part of the coast of China and the southern part of Japan. Usually, a man does not refuse work of that kind because it has a certain publicity value; but I have repeatedly asked "Why come to us for this information?" We started the work so long ago that everybody is behind scratch in preparing a map, and we are in a better position to do it than is anybody else. A lot of work is involved in going through observatory readings because those taken in the past have to be projected to a datum agreed to - 1942 plus six months. That is the reason, why, when the Americans attempted to do the maps, they had so much leeway to make up that they were not very successful. There are two aspects of those isogonic maps. When we have the area contoured magnetically, we get direct requests from General Headquarters, which usually indicate that an attack is about to be made or that there is to be reconnaissance in a certain place. If they have two sets of readings which do not agree, we are asked to say which is the true reading. It is quite safe to say that the reading which does not fit the contour is the wrong one. We usually find that the wrong one is on a rock of abnormal magnetic properties, such as basalt or serpentine. Our advice in that respect is, I believe, appreciated by Army Headquarters. Incidentally, I have brought in a point which shows that this type of work is very closely tied to geology; in fact, it cannot be interpreted in any other way. In the early work on the triangulation survey in New South some of the readings taken, mostly on tops of hills, were not true of the area to which they purported to relate, because the top of hills in the eastern part of New South Wales is of basalt. We have better information which we hope to publish one day, on vertical intensity, as well as the isogonic information and, in fact, information in regard to all magnetic elements. The only point is, whether or not the Mines Department of New South Wales desires to continue that geophysical work after the war. All other States assure me that they are perfectly happy to have the Commonwealth continue it. I regard that as wise. If the application of geophysics grows, the States may find that they will need to have their own specialised men deal with a particular problem. That is the way in which it ought to grow, not in the other direction. I say that for two reasons, one of which is that the instruments are extremely costly and are not in service for very much of the year, consequently you have a very big capital outlay for very little use. Our relations with the States are very happy. We have not done a great deal of gravimetric work during the war. We shall be interested to have the gravity side of the work tied to triangulation surveys. I should think that that is a matter in which all surveyors also will be interested. The departure from the vertical has probably been done astronomically vary largely in the past, but you can also tackle the problem by means of one of these gravity methods. We have two very good gravity meters. The Chief Geophysical Surveyor and myself will be going to the U.S.A. in a month or two, and we shall be able to learn what stage they have reached in the application of geophysics, about which very little has been published. We shall also look into the matter of better instruments.


MR. JOHNSTON - Have you in mind, that you might do a gravimetric survey of the whole of Australia?


DR. RAGGATT - We most certainly have. We have done the magnetic survey of the Commonwealth. We have stations all over the Commonwealth. The War cut short our gravimetric aspirations, but we definitely have the matter in mind. We have the facilities that will enable us to get round all these places in connection with our other activities. I believe that geophysics will grow so much that the Geophysical Section will be separated and stand on its own. If the Commonwealth cannot give to the States the service that they need, as quickly as they need it, they naturally will set up their own organisation to deal with those particular problems. I see no objection to that procedure so long as we do not lose sight of the fact that we are all Australians and have a background against which all the matters have to be placed.


On the subject of access to photographs, we naturally want prints, not negatives, and we do not want to be passed from one authority to another. The Army Survey Directorate gives us excellent service. The procedure at the moment is for State authorities who do not want to put up the money for photographs in connection with the mining problem to go through us to the Army Survey Directorate; in a sense, we are merely a forwarding agent. The point is, that we know what is going on, and if there is anything nearby in which we are interested and on which Commonwealth money is being spent we can ensure that the whole thing will be co-ord­inated. We pass back to the States any problem submitted to us in which they are interested.


MR. JOHNSTON - There are two forms of magnetic survey - atmospheric and terrestrial?


DR. RAGGATT - The atmospheric is hardly a survey but really a research to see what happens to things when you throw them into the air. The Stromlo Observatory predicts magnetic storms on behalf of the R.A.A.F. That is apart from our work.


A matter that we want to discuss with the Carnegie Institution is the establishment in Australia of another Observatory. Cairns would be an ideal spot in the network.


MR. McCOMB - I take it that you would support a proposal to establish a national repository of photos in Canberra?


DR. RAGGATT - I am biased because my headquarters is in Canberra, but that would be an ideal arrangement. Undoubtedly there should be a central repository and it should contain one copy of all prints.


MR. JOHNSTON - We are greatly indebted to Dr. Raggatt for his informative address. The soil survey aspect will now be dealt with by Mr. Hambidge in the absence of Professor Prescott.


MR. HAMBIDGE - I apologise for the absence of Professor Prescott, who had hoped to be here. He is the Chief of the Division of Soils of the C.S. & I.R. which is housed in the Waite Institute in a suburb of Adelaide, and incidentally is of very great assistance to us in all matters of settlement, and, naturally, soil classification. He has asked me to read to the Conference a short memorandum which he has prepared. In it he has said :-




I. The Commonwealth Division of Soils which has its headquarters at the Waite Institute has undertaken the responsibility for carrying out since 1928 the systematic survey of the irrigated soils in the Murray Valley and in other irrigation areas in Australia. The surveys of the older irrigated horticultural areas have been completed but the Irrigation Commissions of New South Wales and Victoria are interested in extensive areas suitable for development under irrigated crops and pastures and these are now listed for survey. Of these new areas the survey of the Wakool Irrigation District of New South Wales and part of County Moira in Victoria, have been completed.


The Division has also undertaken surveys in the wheat belt of South Australia and Victoria with a view to assessing the degree of erosion in terms of soil types and past agricultural history and has undertaken surveys for afforestation in South Australia.


As a recent development the Division has established regional head­quarters in Hobart and Perth and shortly proposes to establish a tempor­ary regional unit at Deniliquin and later a more permanent unit in Brisbane. Of the State services employing soil surveyors, the Departments of Agriculture of Western Australia and Victoria have done work of similar character. It has been found over the years that the ideal scale for working plans in the field is of the order of 10 to 20 chains to the inch. In Britain the soil surveyors have also found the 6 inch Ordnance maps to afford the best working plans. In Irrigation and Forest areas the completed soil maps to be used for administration, control or exper­imental purposes by the Departments concerned are issued on a scale of 20 or 40 chains to the inch.


In the wheat belt probably 80 chains is satisfactory. This latter is the scale adopted by the Soil Survey of the United States. Of recent years, both in Australia and in the United States, increasing use has been made of aerial photographs. These are most useful when on a scale of approximately 15 chains to the inch. The photographs are used primarily as working plans in the field. On them are entered by means of coloured pencils the locations of borings and the soil type where already defined, and details with respect to agricultural or pastoral use, native vegetation, nature and degree of erosion, etc.


In the course of the surveys the Division has frequently been hampered by the absence of topographical maps and anything that can be done to farther the more detailed mapping of Australia or the systematic provision of aerial photographs would be appreciated.


II. The Division may be called upon under the proposals for land settlement for servicemen to undertake soil surveys as part of the detailed survey to be carried out by the State concerned with the aid of the relevant Commonwealth authorities, such as the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. Although it is hoped that the Division may have adequate staff for this purpose, there may at times be an urgent need for information to be obtained quickly and it is felt that assistance could be rendered by the State Survey Departments with experience in Land Classification.


Such co-operation has proved important in surveys in South Australia and Western Australia and the Division would like to know to what extent such co-operative soil surveys are likely to prove possible in connection with the land settlement proposals.


I may add that Professor Prescott found that with a little training the licensed surveyor could assist the soil surveyor so materially in defining boundaries of the particular soil types that his work was speeded up about 100%. The great lack of soil surveyors is worrying him.


MR. JOHNSTON - In thanking Mr. Hambidge for his contribution to our discussion I would like him to convoy to Dr. Prescott our appreciation of the paper which has been read to us. What is the position, Mr. Hambidge, about contours?


MR. HAMBIDGE - The map is prepared from air photos. I do not know whether the contours are shown on the final map but I am sure that Dr. Prescott would like to have them. The Soil Conservator says that Military maps containing contours together with our county maps and air photos give the desired information.


MR. FYFE - In Western Australia there has been co-operation between land surveyors and soil experts. It was found that, with a little training, land surveyors could prepare land classifications which were acceptable to the soil experts, some authorities prefer the soil survey to be carried out by soil experts.


Illness of Wing Commander Vincent


MR. JOHNSTON - I am sure that I speak for all delegates present when I say how pleased we are to have Commander Vincent with us again. We hope that he is none the worse for his accident.



Items 2 and 5 - The need for, and the composition of a central authority


MR. JOHNSTON - I am pleased to welcome to the Conference Mr. Percival, a previous Commonwealth Surveyor-General who held the office for about 20 years. I should like him to tell us of the original arrangement agreed to in connection with the establishment of a central authority.


MR. PERCIVAL - In 1921 it was thought that a geodetic and topographical survey of the Commonwealth would be put into operation within a few years, but, unfortunately, surveying is not a vote-catching proposal, and consequently the matter was deferred from time to time. I trust that in the postwar period funds will be made available for this important work. The original National Survey Committee had three primary matters to consider, namely, a geodetic survey of Australia, a topographical survey, and a cadastral survey, the last mentioned to embrace such matters as closer settlement, soil testing and soil conservation, geological and forestry requirements etc. with a view to obtaining funds for the purpose we later used the argument that such a survey would be of value in the event of Australia being attacked. We sought approval for the making of a topographical survey in conjunction with a semi-primary triangulation of the Commonwealth. Our main trouble has always been lack of funds. In my opinion, there should be one vote for a national survey of Australia rather than a number of small votes for various sections of the work. There would be less likelihood of a comprehensive vote being deleted from the Estimates than if a number of small amounts are included in the Estimates of several Departments. It was agreed that there was need for a central authority. State authorities and semi-State bodies have been, and still are, carrying out topographical surveys and contour surveys of various decrees of accuracy for their own purposes. In the past, various authorities have jealously guarded the information that they have obtained and did not make it available to other Departments, with the result that other authorities sometimes duplicated the work. In order to avoid such duplication it was agreed that a central authority should control surveys. At that time the Australian Survey Corps was only in its infancy, and the geodetic work had not been developed to the degree that it has reached today. It was thought that the Department of the Interior should form a section, under skilled officers, to undertake geodetic and topographical work. The idea was that it should not be a large concern but that its functions would be chiefly administrative. It would comprise the Surveyor-General of the Commonwealth, representatives of the three Fighting Services and of the Civil Aviation Department, and, where necessary, representatives of the States. The intention was that the Committee should meet quarterly, and that funds would be provided by the Commonwealth. It was known that aerial photography would cover a larger field in regard to the topographical section than it would in connection with the geodetic work. The geodetic work is essential. We have been asked to measure a base line of longitude south of the Equator, running from Tasmania to New Guinea. That work was mapped out but unfortunately it was never proceeded with. The intention was that the central authority would allocate funds for certain work much of which would be done by State officers. Both the R.A.A.F. and private enterprise were to be utilised for aerial photographic survey work. One difficulty associated with private enterprise was that they would provide only the photographs but would not produce plans, and we were afraid that their work might not give us what we wanted. We did not have that fear about the R.A.A.F. The purpose behind the establishment of a central authority was to obviate various authorities traversing the same or adjoining areas, but would go to the central authority and obtain whatever information was available. It was decided that such information should be made available to private surveyors and others who desired it. Hydrographic work would be undertaken by the Navy and a certain sum allocated by the central authority for that purpose. All the data would be passed on to the central authority. The plans would be prepared by the Navy or the Army, as the case may be. The Australian Survey Corps was to carry out whatever work was considered most necessary in the interests of the defence of Australia. Today, the value of aerial reconnaissance and aerial photographs is fully recognised because from such photographs plans of various kinds and setting out different classes of information can be prepared. As the result of a visit to various European countries I realised the necessity for aerial surveys and the advantages to be derived from them. I understand that the R.A.A.F. is prepared to undertake this class of work as part of the training of air personnel. In my opinion, there should be co-ordination between the three Armed Services, the State and Commonwealth authorities, and that the whole organisation should be directed by a central body.


The greatest hurdle to surmount is not the method but the provision of finance. You must induce the Commonwealth Government and perhaps the States to supply the necessary money. Some of the States may gladly assist towards this objective, if not in actual cash, then by paying certain personnel to be on these committees or State sections. The word "Commonwealth" always annoys me, because I know that some of the States do not like to be controlled by anyone. That objection cannot arise if the controlling authority is representative of certain States, the Commonwealth and the services and meets only occasionally for the purpose of mapping out the work for the ensuing twelve months. We were very satisfied when Mr. Casey, Mr. Fairbairn and Mr. Street were in office because they had a knowledge of the requirements of an aerial survey and topographical and geodetic surveys. But you will have to convince the Government about the necessity for the work. The basic thing is a proper geodetic and topographical survey of Australia and following on that a cadastral - larger scale of smaller areas than is delineated on any maps produced for the Services. That work must be undertaken in such a way that only one authority shall control it and only one set of maps shall be used. Anyone can then go to that authority, and obtain information from the State representatives, and one central office will be set aside for that purpose. It will not interfere with any State in its own private sphere of closer settlement and the like.


Briefly, that is the position as we left it. In Melbourne we held an important Conference with Sir H. Gepp in the Chair, but that ended in the same way as did the others. I wish this Conference the best of luck in surmounting its hurdles.


MR. JOHNSTON - I desire to refer to two important matters. The whole of our mapping operations will definitely be governed by the provision of funds. That position is satisfactory in war time, because all the necessary funds are provided, but the story is different in peacetime. Mr. Percival told us how previous activities had been limited by lack of funds and he explained that the idea was for the establishment of a central fund for this survey. From this fund, money would be given to the Army, Navy and Air Force for any work that they undertook in con­nection with the national survey. But in peacetime the three Services have difficulty in securing funds, and most of the money made available is utilised for training purposes. For example, the Navy must decide between "maps or ships". Admirals think in terms of ships. Therefore the original conception, which was very sound, was that the whole of the survey should be under one civilian department, which would make the funds available, in co-operation with the Services who require and understand the necessity for these maps.


The Conference will have gathered from Mr. Percival's remarks that the organisation originally envisaged was to be under the control of the Department of the Interior. A special Director was to be appointed, because it would be impossible for the Commonwealth Surveyor-General, who has multitudinous duties to perform, to take on the duties of Director of the National Survey.


It is considered that there can be no real national survey and mapping scheme until some central authority is created to organise, co-ordinate, direct and control it. At present there are several agencies competent to effect necessary parts of the work of a national survey but such agencies are not operating under any co-ordinating authority or to any unified programme. For example the Mineral Resources Survey, Department of Supply and Shipping is equipped for and is carrying out magnetic and gravimetric surveys. The Department of the Army is doing triangulation and topographical surveys for military purposes, the States have their separate triangulation surveys and there are several Commonwealth and State mapping agencies all working independently on certain work which is essentially part of a national mapping scheme.


The lack of a central authority is without doubt responsible for the backward state of Australian surveys and mapping when considered from a national point of view. The following notes refer to the position of survey organisations in England, our sister Dominions and United States of America.


In England, the national survey and mapping scheme generally referred to as the Ordinance Survey is too well known to need any comment. It might be kept in mind however, that this organisation, although staffed to some extent by military personnel, is essentially a civilian organisation forming part of the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.


In Canada the geodetic survey of Canada of the Department of the Interior was initiated in 1905 - and with this is connected to Topograph­ical Division of the Geological Survey initiated in 1908.


In South Africa, the organisation known as the Trigonometrical Survey of South Africa has been established as a separate Department for many years. It now comprises four branches, viz., Geodetic, Topographical, Mapping and Magnetic operating under a single Director. The annual report of the Survey (which is entirely a civilian organisation) for 1936 refers to the use of a stereo projector plotting machines and the extensive use of air photography for topographical mapping.


In India the high standing of the work of the Survey of India is familiar to all surveyors. Here again I would like to point out that this central survey authority is not a military organisation; the administration is in the hands of the Surveyor-General under the Department of Education, Health and Lands of the Government of India. In addition to its principal programme of geodetic and topographical surveys the department is responsible for all survey operations required by the Army and aerial photography for the Department is carried out by the R.A.F. and a commercial firm.


In the United States of America, the basic mapping organisations maintained by the Federal Government are U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey, Commerce Department, and the Geological Survey, Interior Department, which is responsible for topographical surveys and maps. These Organisations are working to a programme drawn up by the Board of Surveys and Maps of the Federal Government comprised of representatives of several Federal Departments.


Having explained the position in other countries, I now desire to read to the Conference a letter addressed to the Director-General of Postwar Reconstruction, dated the 17th November 1944, by the President of the Council of the Victorian Institute of Surveyors, Mr. G.J. Thornton Smith:-


The Commonwealth Government should be responsible for the financing and initiation of geodetic surveys and the production of maps of a national character, both by its own technical staff and with the assistance of the State Surveyors’-General.


A survey of a geodetic nature is essential for scientific co-ord­ination of mapping and of cadastral and other surveys. To ensure the unity which a geodetic survey should possess in order to fulfill its function, and to obtain proper correlation of measurements and uniformity of standards of accuracy and of scientific treatment, it should be directed by a central body.


The Commonwealth Government should establish a Directorate which would be responsible for the co-ordination of all geodetic surveys, and for the production of all maps of a national character as distinct from those produced by purely State authorities for purposes of development and conservation.


The States should assist by establishing geodetic survey branches under the control of the State Surveyors General who would necessarily need to co-operate in the closest harmony with the Commonwealth Directorate.


The Commonwealth and each State should establish a Survey Co­ordination system to prevent overlapping of activities of the various authorities engaged in work of a survey or mapping nature, and to provide a ready means of supplying survey information or maps to any authority needing them.


The work of preparing topographical maps will best be done by aerial photography, accuracy being ensured by a geodetic ground control.


Any activities of this nature should be undertaken with due regard to the priority of needs for maps of particular areas or for specific developmental purposes. If development is to take place on a nationally planned economy, some co-ordinating body will be needed to determine priorities.


Each State will need maps designed to fit the individual circum­stances of each project, and some co-ordinating Commonwealth authority, such as the Directorate suggested above, will be needed to convert all the map information supplied from all sources into a, standard national map covering the whole Commonwealth.


MR. ALLEN - This is the most important question awaiting our decision. When we have arranged the form of control, we can fit in the details to satisfy everyone. On the matter of the fundamental principles of control, the whole Conference is unanimous.


I desire to congratulate the representatives of the three Services on the complete clarity of their statements regarding their activities and intentions. They supplied us with most valuable information and made it quite clear how far their functions extend at the present time, and how far they expect their functions will extend in the future. While the war continues, we subscribe most heartily to the understanding that the Services shall receive primary consideration in every direction. Evidence of our earnestness is the fact that Surveyors’-General do not know where to turn for staff. They are also responsible for the standards of the profession in the various States, and the education and training of survey staffs. We co-operated wholeheartedly with the Services, although it meant our other work coming to a standstill.


We are here to consider a long term plan for a national survey, and what will happen when we have to work out our destiny in connection with postwar reconstruction. The physical planning in Australia in the post‑war period, is almost exclusively a function of the States. In the social and financial fields the Commonwealth will be properly in a dominating position, but in all matters of physical planning, the initiative lies with the States, and the function of the Ministry of postwar Reconstruction is to co-ordinate the State plans.


With regard to land settlement, New South Wales is a principal. It raises its own funds and prepares the plans of the estates which it desires to subdivide. The cost of the contemplated land settlement scheme for New South Wales will be from £10,000,000 to £13,000,000. One of the great drawbacks in Australia at present is the appalling shortage of houses. It is anticipated that in the third postwar year about £30,000,000 will have to be expended on housing in New South Wales alone. Water conservation proposals were expected at the end of last year to require £53,000,000, including the construction of five big dams. We cannot engage in any work, even hydroelectric schemes, which would result in losing for irrigation purposes the water which is so precious to us. There are also schemes for the improvement of ports. A deepsea port is to be established on the north coast of New South Wales, and considerable development is expected to follow its construction. I am chairman of the New South Wales Government Mapping Committee, whose operations will be closely associated with any decision of this Conference. The other members of the Committee are the Under-Secretary of Public Works, Mr. Ford, who is a qualified surveyor, and Mr. Close, developmental officer of the Department of Main Roads. The Committee has been directed to ascertain what maps are required for the civil administration of New South Wales and what steps should be taken to provide them. It may be impertinent on my part to remind my colleagues of their postwar responsibilities, but having been seconded from the position of Surveyor-General of New South Wales to fill the position of Director of Reconstruction and Development I shall have the temerity to do so. At present the Services take complete precedence over everything we try to do, but in the postwar period the civil administrators, Commonwealth and State, will succeed or fail according to the way in which they carry out the important tasks which it will be their responsibility to perform. The greatest assistance which the Services can give to us will not save Australia. We must satisfy our friends and allies that we intend to increase the population of this country, and then we must do something definite in that direction.


I am sure we are all anxious to have a national mapping organisa­tion, but it would be difficult to bring State representatives into the Commonwealth Survey Committee. It has been suggested by the  R.A.A.F. that there should be a Commonwealth Survey Committee, with a few State representatives co-opted. I do not subscribe to that view. We are discussing a great national movement. We already have a National Works Council which determines matters relating to manpower and materials, and even influences the Loan Council in connection with finance. As the composition of the Loan Council and the National Works Council is practic­ally identical, I think we can confidently look forward to the finance we require. I move –


That this Conference is of opinion that a National Mapping Council is essential to co-ordinate the mapping of Australia, and recommends to the Commonwealth and State Governments that such be established as a permanent body, comprising two representatives of the Commonwealth, one to be the Surveyor-General who shall be chairman, and one representative of each State, who shall be the Surveyor-General.


WING COMMANDER VINCENT - What are the functions of the existing Commonwealth Survey Committee?


MR. JOHNSTON - An official minute says :- In view of the need of precise maps and the co-ordination of surveys throughout the Commonwealth, the Cabinet on the 7th November, 1935, decided that a permanent survey committee be appointed, to be known as the Commonwealth Survey Committee, comprising the Commonwealth Surveyor-General who will be chairman, representatives of the three Defence Services, and also a representative of the Department of Civil Aviation, the Committee to take such steps as were thought necessary to bring about the co-ordination of survey work within Australia.


MR. HARVEY - I second the motion.


MR. FYFE - The States have had the responsibility in the past of surveying and mapping their respective territories. Although little was done in that direction between the last war and the outbreak of the present war, the recent achievements of the Defence and civil authorities of the Commonwealth, in conjunction with the States, have been outstanding. Fortunately the enemy did not land in Australia and we have not needed many of the maps made, but we must be prepared in future for any emergency. When demobilisation takes place and the rehabilitation of the men and women of the Services has to be undertaken, the main pressure will not be in connection with Defence requirements but civilian requirements. The Surveyors‑General must continue the work of surveying and mapping their territories and the task is so great that it will require the combined efforts of the Navy the Army and the Air Force and the Commonwealth and State authorities. It is difficult to draw a line dividing the responsibilities of the various authorities. If we established a council as suggested by Mr. Allen we could arrange a programme for future work so as to protect the States and enable them to play their full part. If the States are prepared to finance some project to completion they should be at liberty to do so, but such work should conform with the general mapping scheme.


MR. DICK - In New Zealand, prior to 1935, topographical mapping, when carried out, was the responsibility of the Surveyor-General. No particular direction was given by any overriding committee or executive. Surveys were carried out, as required, for the Army, for training camps, and individual surveys for various State departments. In 1935, the Government formed what was called a Mapping Committee, which was attach­ed to the Prime Minister's Department. The personnel of that committee was the Surveyor-General as Chairman with representatives of all State departments in any way interested in mapping: that would include all the Departments you have represented here, plus Public Works, Treasury, the Government Printing Office, and the three Services. This committee has the power to make recommendations to Cabinet in relation to the mapping policy of New Zealand. The entire responsibility for mapping has since been the responsibility of the Lands and Survey Department. I prepared a paper for a meeting of the mapping committee held last June which had relation to the problem of mapping for the post-war years. Up to June, 1944, we had been entirely under the jurisdiction of the Army in regard to mapping priorities and the requirements of the State for mapping. In that paper I said :-


In 1935, the Mapping Committee, set up under the Organisation for National Security, investigated the mapping needs of the Dominion. The use of the aerial photograph for mapping purposes had, since 1930, completely revolutionised topographical mapping methods and experiments carried out in other countries revealed that economic methods and equipment had been evolved for the preparation of topographical maps from the aerial photograph thus reducing the amount of field work to a minimum.


As a result of the Committee's recommendations, the Lands and Survey Department were authorised to undertake the preparation of a 1 mile to an inch national series on a national yard grid approved by the Army authorities. Vertical aerial photographs of an area of 1500 square miles in the Hawkes Bay district were supplied and made available for the preliminary ground control survey work in 1936.


At the outbreak of hostilities the Lands and Survey Department had a small staff capable of plotting topographical maps from aerial photographs with sufficient trained field staff to carry out preliminary ground control surveys.


Fortress mapping (1 in 25,000):


Early in September, 1939, after consultation with the Army Department, authorisation was obtained for the production of topographical maps on a scale of 1/25000 (approximately 32 chains to an inch) of the Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch fortress areas and the Waiouru Training area. Mapping on the national scale of 1 mile to an inch was held in abeyance and all available personnel transferred to mapping on the new scale.


That was carried out in accordance with instructions from the Army Depart­ment.


As the R.N.Z.A.F. was unable to make personnel and aircraft available for the photography, contracts for the photography of the three fortress areas and the Waiouru Training area were issued to the N.Z. Aerial Mapping, Ltd., Hastings.


In July, 1941, after consultation with the Army Department, the preparation of a military transport series was put in hand by the Lands and Survey Department. The territorial 4 mile to an inch series published by the Lands and Survey Department were used as a base for the overprinting of all road and bridge classification data and the military grid. This data was assembled from field cruises of all roads carried out by the Public Works Department, local body engineers, and the field staff of the Lands and Survey Department. This series was available by the end of 1941 and filled a vital need during a period when troops and military transport were being distrib­uted to various vital points throughout the Dominion.


In September, 1941, the Lands and Survey Deportment undertook the preparation of a maneuver map on a scale of 1 mile to an inch of an area of 650 square miles in the Palmerston North area. A contoured map showing prominent cultural and topographical features was prepared and published in a period of 42 days. Normal methods of mapping were varied to meet the requirements of the specification agreed on with the Army authorities; speed of production being the essential character­istic.


As the military transport series were far from satisfactory for military operational purposes, the Army authorities decided to adopt with modifications the specifications used in the production of the maneuver map for the production of the 1" national series as a provisional edition. Mutual arrangements were made whereby the Army Department supplied transport, accommodation when required, and photographs of areas supplied by N.Z. Aerial Mapping Ltd., Hastings, that would from time to time be found difficult of access for field parties. The Lands and Survey Department in the initial stages supplied all per­sonnel, but as the work was extended - there being thirteen large mapping parties operating throughout the Dominion by the end of 1942 - the Army released suitable personnel and supported appeals for the release of surveyors, survey cadets, and draughtsmen, called up for oversees service.


Textbook mapping methods were largely disregarded in an attempt to speed up the work in order to assure that vital areas were comprehensively mapped to meet the more vital needs of military operations. During the first twelve months 20,000 square miles were mapped and 35 map sheets published, the major portion of the mapping being carried out without the aid of aerial photographs.


The first mapping party of 15, comprising topographers, assistants, and draughtsmen was established at Kaeo, North Auckland, in November, 1941, and by March, 1942, five further parties were located in South Auckland, Wellington, Marlborough, Canterbury, and Otago, while later in the year parties in Waikato, Gisborne, Hawkes Bay, Taranaki, Nelson, Westland and Southland were set up. This large organisation was comprised of trained and part­ly trained men who were keen and enthusiastic. The Army authorities gave every assistance in their power and it is largely due to their co-operation that so much has been accomplished to date.


As the work advanced more aerial photographs supplied under contract by N.Z. Aerial Mapping, Ltd., Hastings, became available and the stage has now been reached when all mapping is based on the aerial photograph.


The North Island has an actual area of 44281 square miles, of which 20250 square miles has been mapped. The South Island has an actual area of 58,092 square miles, of which 27,250 square miles has been mapped. In total, of 103,043 square miles we had mapped 47,500 square miles at June 1944, leaving a balance of 55,543 square miles to map. The area photographed over the two islands was 25,750 square miles. The cost of 1" provisional mapping to date has been £215,000. It has worked out at £3 a square mile for field work and drawing, and the total cost, inclus­ive of cost of photography and printing, has been £4/10/- a square mile. You have to appreciate that photography covers only a portion of the area mapped.


MR McCOMB - Have you some idea of the approximate cost per square mile for photography alone?


MR. DICK - It was at a flat rate of £2 a square mile, on contract.


MR. JOHNSTON - At what flying height would that be?


MR. DICK - Practically the whole of the photography was taken at 11,000’ and the scale is about 20 chains to the inch.


MR. McCOMB - The photographer supplied all the equipment?


MR. DICK - Yes. The photographer carried out the whole of the job. The total number of 1" mapping sheets in the Dominion is 360. The number of sheets published is 123, whilst 47 are under action, leaving a balance of 190. The paper continued ‑


The extension of mapping activities during the war years, while primarily intended to meet the needs of the war situation, has drawn the attention of the public and the civil departments of state to the value of topographical maps for all types of developmental and planning activities. In reviewing the future activities under the headings of (a) mapping, and (b) photography, it is evident that a lot remains to be done before all govern­mental activities are provided for.


Mapping :

1 mile to an inch series :


Most of the intensively productive areas of the Dominion have been mapped on the provisional 1" scale comprising approximately 47% of the total area of the Dominion. The areas still unmapped comprise marginal lands, forest areas, and extensive tracts of land that involve problems such as soil conservation, river erosion and areas suitable for more intensive development.


The maps already published, while initially prepared for defence purposes, are now being used for civil purposes. The following governmental activities, vital to the social and economic development of the Dominion, are dependent on the availability of accurately drawn topographical maps for their ultimate success.


The Government has approved that, except in relation to a few vital areas, the maps shall now be available for sale to the public. On the subject of engineering I said :-


Engineering projects for such purposes as water supply, hydro­electric development, road and railway location, drainage and irrigation.


The paper then continued :-


Land :

The development of land for farming and reforestation.

Planning :

The basis for the investigation of soil conservation, river control and regional and national planning.

Scientific :

The investigation of geological and geophysical problems related to the production of coal, gold and oil.

The above are only a few of the purposes for which the maps are used. A more extended use will he made of maps in the post-war period for industrial, commercial and tourist purposes. Apart from the military necessity for such maps, it is the opinion of all who are aware of the extent of the work carried out during the war period that the, work should be prosecuted with the object of completing the mapping of the whole Dominion.


1/25000 series (approx. 32 chains to an inch)


This series, at present covering the fortress areas, and being on a larger scale, is designed to show cultural and topographical detail in urban and closely settled rural areas. Many other centres should be mapped on this larger scale incorporating topographical and cultural details that will be of great assistance in the development of urban, suburban and small farm areas.




The aerial photograph has revolutionised both map production and preliminary investigations for such purposes as land development, town and regional planning: soil conservation, river control, transport and many other developmental purposes.


The supply of photographs, in accordance with the recommendation of the Committee, is co-ordinated by the Lands and Survey-Department to assure that there is no overlapping in requirements and that contracts for photography are in accordance with standard speci­fications. A complete library and index of all photography is maintained by the department in Wellington. It is proposed to set up in each Land District a similar library and index to meet district requirements.


So far approximately 40% of the North Island and 12% of the South Island are covered by aerial photographs. Much, therefore, remains to be done before a complete average of the Dominion is achieved.




The outline given has stated the problem with which the New Zealand Army was faced at the outset of the war, and has traced what has been accomplished in the endeavour to meet defence requirements. Mapping is of very great military importance, and it is most necessary not only that the whole country should be mapped at the earliest practicable date, but that existing maps should be kept up to date. The primary necessity for topographical maps for purely military purposes has, however, diminished, and, in turn, national requirements have become more important. It is considered, there­fore, that the preparation of maps and the production of aerial photographs must continue, and that they should now be placed on a national basis.


Any future programme of topographical map production would have to take into account the special requirements of state departments for topographical maps and aerial photographs, and if dealt with on a national basis would fall into three categories - (a) Standard topographical map series, (b) Topographical maps for special purpos­es, and (c) Aerial photographs.


(a) Standard topographical map series:

The production of maps for public sale on the following scales:-

(i)      1/25000 (32 chains to an inch) -- closely settled areas only.

(ii)     1/63360 (1 mile to an inch) -- the completion of this series at the earliest date possible.

(iii)   1/253440 (4 miles to an inch) -- the preparation of an up-to-date topographical map from the 1/63360 series.


Larger scale maps of cities and smaller scale maps for more comprehensive use could be produced as circumstances and demand warranted.


(b) Topographical maps for special purposes:

The following departmental requirements indicate the amount of special topographical mapping that is at present being under­taken by the Lands and Survey Department.


State Forest Service:

250,000 acres (400 sq. miles)in 18 separate parcels scattered through the Dominion require to be mapped on large scale for reafforestation purposes.


Scientific and Industrial Research: (Coal resources)

Approximately 300 sq. miles of area required to be mapped on a large scale in the Westport and Kaitangata coalfields areas.


Housing and Construction Department:

Numerous large scalp contoured maps of areas for housing are required for engineering and house siting purposes.


Public Works Department:

Special preliminary topographical surveys required for hydro­electric development, and aerodrome services.


Lands and Survey Department:

Preliminary topographical plan required for land development purposes.


Organisation for National Development:

A proposal to carry out a regional survey of the Dominion is now under consideration. The whole basis of the data for this survey will be the topographical map.

There will be an increased demand for special mapping of these types in the post-war period for rehabilitation purposes and in national interest it will be necessary to train additional staff to meet the demand of post-war activities.


Aerial Photography:

The aerial photograph is an essential part of topographical map production. It is no less essential for the study of many social, economic and scientific problems. The stereoscopic use of the aerial photograph reveals a wealth of detail which it is not possible to adequately represent on a map, The photographic mosaic, assembled from numerous photographs, faithfully reproduces in detail comprehensive areas enabling decisions to be mode on problems that previously presented insuperable obstacles.


The centralised co-ordinated control of the supply and issue of aerial photographs by the Lands and Survey Department will assure of the future economic use of this essential service.




The programme outlined will entail a complete reorganisation of the mapping functions of the Lands and Survey Department. Mapping methods adopted in other countries have been studied and from investigations that are continually being carried out methods suitable to the New Zealand survey system have been and are being evolved.


The control of mapping has in the past been centralised in Welling­ton. Experience is proving that some decentralisation will be necessary and it is visualised that eventually mapping branches will be established at the four main centres.


Future mapping activities will be dependent on: ‑

(i)      The availability of trained personnel, and

(ii)     The reorganisation of the present Lands and Survey Department establishment engaged on military mapping for the Army Department.


(i)      Availability of trained personnel:

The only personnel at present available are employed on the mapping of the 1" provisional series for the Army Department. To successfully carry out this programme in the post-war period it will be necessary to build up a trained staff sufficient to undertake all national mapping requirements.


Since this report was written we, unfortunately, have had to release most of our grade 1 personnel. At the moment only four mapping part­ies are operating in the Dominion. Up to about 12 months ago, we were able to hold these men and a lot of army staff, but on account of the pressure for more fit men for overseas we have had to release men who could be made available for military service.


The paper continued :-


(ii)     Re-organisation:

At present Army Department has borne a very large proportion of the cost of mapping. In placing the mapping on a national basis, and with proper regard to economic and social requirements, considerable reorganisation will be necessary. To permit of this reorganisation it would be advisable to fix a date, say the end of 1946, when the full responsibility for mapping would be placed on a national footing. During the intervening period it is suggested, for the Committee's consideration, that the Army Department continue to assist in the work by provid­ing transport and personnel for the field parties at present engaged on the work, supplying aerial photographs suffic­ient to meet mapping requirements until the end of 1946, and providing funds for the printing of the maps.


Summed up, the recommendations were that after 1946 we should map 5,000 square miles a year, which would involve an annual expenditure of £10,000 for aerial photographs of a scale of 1 inch; 250 square miles a year at an estimated expenditure of £750 for the 1/25000; the revision of existing topographical maps at an annual expenditure of £1,000; and the mapping of 250 square miles annually to meet the special requirements of other departments, at an annual expenditure of £750.


That gives you some idea of the New Zealand set up. I can see that our relations with the Army are entirely different from the relationship that exists in Australia. Apparently you had a very complete survey corps operating before the war. We were very fortunate in that the Army did not press for the setting up of its own establish­ment. It was mooted in the beginning of 1942 that our department be placed in uniform and be brought under army control. That was strongly contested, and I am firmly of the opinion that it was fortunate for New Zealand that we were not placed under army control. I handled the matter personally. My relations with the Army officials were most harmonious and we worked hand in glove.


Although Army personnel and civilians worked in the one camp, sometimes for 70 hours a week, with a civilian in charge, the work proceeded smoothly. I shall not express an opinion in regard to the Council which has been suggested because conditions in Australia are so different from those in New Zealand. Australia is a vast country, with six States, each with its own Surveyor-General, as well as a Commonwealth authority. I presume that the Council would lay down regulations in regard to triangulation and geodetic surveys of the first, second and third orders, fix mapping priorities; co-ordinate the photography; lay down suitable projections for the whole of Australia; determine the sheet system for maps; decide on suitable scales and determine symbols and conventional signs. I take it that each State would have its own Mapping Committee on which would be represented those authorities that are interested.


MR. JOHNSTON - Did you experience any difficulty in setting up a universal map to a scale of 1 mile to an inch for both Military and civilian needs?


MR. DICK - No.


COL. FITZGERALD - If your mapping organisation in New Zealand were maintained on a civilian basis, would that not preclude you from sending companies overseas.


MR. DICK - Yes. The Army authorities have used our mapping organisation as a training unit. In the initial stages of the war New Zealand had three survey troops in its three Military Districts. Junior personnel from those troops were trained for six or eight weeks in mapping after which they were transferred to relevant units for overseas service. Each New Zealand division had attached to it a survey battery which was responsible for triangulation mapping in Syria. Later it was broken up and used as artillery personnel for observational purposes.  


MR. RUDDUCK - I think that we have confused somewhat the two issues of the need for a central authority and the question of civil or Service control. I prefer to see the motion considered on its merits as to the need for an authority. I anticipate a subsequent motion regarding the control - whether it shall be civil or Service control. I support the views of Mr. Allen subject to one or two qualifications which, I think, would best be discussed under Item 11. The State Surveyors-General probably agree that the work should be co-ordinated under one authority but they know that this is a political question. I endorse what Mr. Allen said regarding the responsibility for postwar planning and the need for maps for postwar development purposes. His interpretation agrees with that of our Department. I am not in agreement with the remarks of Mr. Percival regarding the provision of funds. Unless we intend to establish a body with executive responsibility - and I do not think that that is intended - it is unlikely that any Government, either Commonwealth or State, will provide funds to be expended by it.


MR. JOHNSTON - The body proposed to be appointed will carry out certain executive functions.


MR. RUDDUCK - I cannot imagine that any Government will be prepared to delegate executive functions to such a body and, therefore, we cannot expect it to provide funds to be expended by such a body. We must expect that funds for the carrying out of surveys shall be appropriated to the particular Department which will undertake the work. It is always easier to get funds for a survey which is associated with a specific project such as an irrigation scheme or a soldier settlement scheme. Ministers generally do not appreciate the need for maps for other than specific purposes. It would be wiser to link up the project with some definite proposal such as an irrigation scheme or the construction of a road.


WING COMMANDER VINCENT - Do you think that a War Cabinet recommendation that funds be provided for such a purpose would be endorsed?


MR. RUDDUCK - I do not know, but as I said yesterday, the Minister for Postwar Reconstruction is sympathetic towards proposals from this Committee,


COL. FITZGERALD - We are all satisfied regarding the need for co-ordination and for a co-ordinating council, as proposed. I should like to instance a recent example. The Forestry Commissioner in Victoria, through the Premier of that State, requested the Prime Minister to arrange for air photography. The arrangements were made, and the R.A.A.F. carried it out. But the Lands Department knew nothing about it. That illustrates the necessity for State co-ordination. I suggest that the build-up should follow the lines of the diagram that I have before me, under which various State Departments, including Railways, Agriculture, Mines, Lands, Roads, Water, Forests and others should, before approaching the Commonwealth, co-ordinate their requirements and activities through such an organisation as a State Survey Co-ordination Committee to consider the technical aspects and in conjunction with such an organisation as the Public Works Committees, the matter of priorities. The approach to the Prime Minister would naturally be through the Premier. The Prime Minister would, no doubt, in consultation with an established committee which would advise him on technical matters and with such an organisation as the Department of Postwar Reconstruction which would advise on priorities, determine what assistance should be given both technically and financially. If it were purely a matter for a State, it would be referred back to the State for implementation. If it required assistance on technical aspects from Commonwealth Departments, the approach would be through the respective Ministers.


The purpose of the proposed Board has been stated as a co-ordinating body. I put forward the submission that Commonwealth Departments should be regarded as competent agencies and as such should be regarded as competent to determine the standards of accuracy of the surveys required by them.


MR. RUDDUCK - Do you put forward that suggestion as an amendment.


COL. FITZGERALD - I propose to move an amendment.


MR. JOHNSTON - You do not propose to establish any uniformity in the practices of the various States unless the Services are concerned in the matter?


COL. FITZGERALD - The Commonwealth Survey Committee has recommended that the Services be recognised as competent agencies for the production of the basic maps of Australia. Such agencies, I think I am correct in saying, have no intention of encroaching upon the activities of State survey organisations. Therefore, I consider that this proposed organisation of State Surveyors-General and two representatives of Commonwealth Departments should be responsible for co-ordinating State survey activities with a view to obtaining maximum effectiveness without encroaching upon the activities of the responsible Commonwealth mapping agencies.


MR. JOHNSTON - One of the resolutions of the Survey Committee was that large scale maps should also come into the scheme of national mapping and that in respect of any maps there should be a standard. Is it your desire to depart from that resolution?


COL. FITZGERALD - No. It is the function of this proposed committee to control the standards in respect of large scale maps.


MR. JOHNSTON - Do you propose that each State shall have its own standard, and that there shall be no co-operation between the States in regard to standards for large scale maps?


MR. FYFE - The States must retain the right to produce such maps with such standards as they wish for their own purposes, if they pay for those maps themselves. But if the Commonwealth is financing the survey or is providing the men and equipment to undertake it the Commonwealth with the assistance at the Surveyors-General could adopt such standards as they think fit. It will undoubtedly be the objective of the Surveyors-General after this Conference, although having the right to do as they think fit in regard to purely State activities, will conform to the standards as far as practicable, and aim at uniformity and the avoidance of duplication.


But we cannot contemplate the Commonwealth or any central authority, the establishment of which we may recommend, directing the States in their own domestic affairs as to what standard or scale map they shall produce. We must leave it to them to honour the spirit of the agreement and co-operate for the purpose of avoiding duplication.


MR. JOHNSTON - In this suggestion, there is no body that will lay down any standard as a guide for the States to follow. The general idea was that the whole of Australia should ultimately be mapped on a universal system of large scale maps. That may be a Utopian idea, but I wanted to set a standard which I would like the States to adopt in future. We can arrive at a standard for small scale maps but I desire to go further and suggest uniformity and standardisation for all types of maps, which will be the maps that the people of Australia will use.


MR. FYFE - There is no doubt that we shall progress very materially towards that objective as the result of this Conference and meetings of the Central Committee. As soon as it is known what plans are to be included in the national survey, an examination will be made of our State plans for the purpose of seeing the ones that we do not need to reproduce, and in what way we can improve them to conform to the general standard.


MR. HAMBIDGE - Apparently the matter of standards is worrying Col. FitzGerald. I could understand it if the Central Council were to suggest to him that he should lower his standard of geodetic work. But suppose the Council considered that the standard should be raised. Would Col. FitzGerald be prepared to consider such a recommendation from the Central Council?


COL. FITZGERALD - Yes, not only from the Central Council but also from an individual State. What I visualise in regard to the compilation of mapping, is that we shall progress with our Army requirements and with the requirements as defined by Commonwealth Departments. We may be doing a 4 mile to 1 inch map. If we are advised that a certain State is interested in a particular area that we are mapping and would be pleased to get something more accurate than 4 miles to 1 inch, we would be happy to co-operate in that respect. For example, we heard that the Ord River investigations were proceeding. We had taken photographs, primarily for the purpose of producing a 4 mile to 1 inch map. Without any requests from the State, we produced 4 or 5 sheets of 1 mile to 1 inch maps and handed them to the State. We anticipated that the map would be useful and we were in a position to give that service. That can be regarded as the attitude of any responsible national organisation.


As to the standards of survey, we have adopted the highest standards in the world. Our basis for triangulation is the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey. We were awarded a Certificate of Accuracy which has never been given to any other organisation. If we had a project of second order triangulation or third order triangulation and the States asked for something more accurate as for example in city surveys, there should not be any difficulty in increasing the accuracy.


MR. HAMBIDGE - Following my previous question, would you lower your standards if requested by the Central Council?


COL. FITZGERALD - No. I consider that an organisation which has basically State representation without any direct representation of the Services should not direct or try to lay down standards for an organisation regarded as a national organisation and accepting responsibility as such. But we would be only too pleased to consider any suggestions made to us.


MR. HAMBIDGE - I assume that if a State were to decide to do some first order triangulation, it would only be accepted if it conformed to the standard set for first order triangulation. Therefore, this Council would endeavour to see that any State undertaking such work would observe a standard required by the Army and thus save the Army from going over it again.


MR. BARRIE - Is it not desired that all mapping done over the whole of Australia shall be available for all purposes including Defence and the requirements of the States? At present the States have complete control in regard to the accuracy of the work of such surveys. There is no body to control the accuracy of geodetic or triangulation work and each State could, if it so desired, be a complete authority on its own. I do not fully agree with Col. FitzGerald in suggesting that no first order triangulation would be done by any States. It may be that New South Wales may proceed with a programme for the extension of first order work, and second, third and fourth order work, as it may desire. It would be proper that anything done by New South Wales or any other State should be in complete harmony with the highest standards set by an authority upon which every State is represented. It is essential that any maps produced shall be of such a standard as to make them acceptable for the national survey or any other work that may be envisaged.


Col. FitzGerald's suggestion that the proposed body should not have any say in determining standards would, if adopted, be a retrograde step in as much as no one desires any reduction of the standard of accuracy. Our aim is to maintain our high reputation in the world. Our standard of accuracy in trigonometrical work has the highest recognition and is proclaimed as being of the highest order. We are unanimous on that point. Therefore, is there any reason why States and various instrumentalities which will carry out this kind of work should not be represented when the standards are being determined? If they were represented, any decisions reached would strengthen our hand when we sought authority from our Governments to give effect to them. There is no suggestion that this Committee would be so impudent as to invade the offices and functions of the Navy. We have the highest regard for the Navy. When we have been able to assist the Navy, we have gladly done so. Any readjustment of symbols would be a small matter and we would be willing to discuss with the Navy anything that it desire to have altered.


The results of any flying work carried out by the R.A.A.F. should be available to all the States.


MR. McCOMB - Should the proposal that this Council should set a standard for geodetic work be extended to standards of accuracy for cadastral work?


MR. JOHNSTON - We are dealing only with topographical mapping.


MR. BARRIE - All the maps so far as the national survey is concerned will probably have no reference to titles. We have set standards of accuracy which are regarded as high and are acceptable on all sides, but I do not think it would be possible for a national mapping authority to undertake that function because it is of no interest to it.


MR. JOHNSTON - I envisage that the executive officers of the Council would find out the standard laid down by the military survey and having obtained similar information from the States would perhaps make a suggestion to the States. We should simply have the standards hall­marked by the Council.


MR. McCOMB - If it is proposed that the Council shall be responsible for proposing standards for trigonometrical surveys it should also be responsible for proposing standards for topographical surveys.


MR. JOHNSTON - In every class of map we want to try to adopt a standard.


MR. PITT - On our estimates for the last three years we have had an amount set aside for the purpose of the triangulation survey of Tasmania. At present we are making a second order survey. We should like to know whether the proposed committee considered that we were doing it to Army specifications and using Army methods. In Tasmania we think that a second survey is all that is required, although probably a geodetic connection should be made across the Straits.


MR. HAMBIDGE - The main aim of the central body would be to co-ordinate the work and prevent any work useful to the national map being done on a standard not sufficient to be adopted for that map.


MR. JOHNSTON - The cadastral work is definitely a matter for the Surveyors' Board.


COLONEL FITZGERALD - A cadastral survey would not accept any direction from the proposed central body, nor would the Services accept direction as to where and how they should map. I think we can achieve our objective quite well.


MR. JOHNSTON - There is no question of any directions. There is no compulsion about it.


WING COMMANDER VINCENT - Would not the Council be more than advisory?


MR. JOHNSTON - If the States would not adopt the standards laid down by the Commonwealth, the States could well say "then pay for it yourself". We could conceivably say "All the Surveyors-General think this, but if you are stubborn about it, go ahead and pay for it yourself".


WING COMMANDER VINCENT - I cannot see how the work of the proposed council would fit in with that of the Commonwealth Survey Committee. Both would be substantially trying to achieve the same purpose.


MR. JOHNSTON - I think there would be perfect co-ordination between the two members of the Survey Committee who would be on the mapping organisation. The Commonwealth Survey Committee does not come into state requirements.


COLONEL FITZGERALD - I move as an amendment :


That this Conference is of the opinion that a national mapping council is essential to co-ordinate the mapping activities of the States, and recommends to the Commonwealth and State Governments that such be established as a permanent body, comprising two representatives of the Commonwealth Survey Committee and one representative of each State, who should be the Surveyor-General, and who should represent the co-ordinated requirements of his particular State.


WING COMMANDER VINCENT - I second the amendment. There is now no confusion as to the functions of the existing body and those of the proposed Council. The existing committee will co-ordinate State requirements and the proposed body will attend to Commonwealth requirements.


MR. FYFE - The motion seeks the establishment of a National Mapping Council to co-ordinate the mapping activities of the States and also to co-ordinate the mapping activities of the Commonwealth with those of the States, but the amendment would leave the Commonwealth free to have its own standards.


MR. BARRIE - I think the amendment is a complete negation of the original idea of this Conference.


MR. HAMBIDGE - Item 5 of the Agenda directs attention to Resolution No.9 of the Commonwealth Survey Committee, paragraph (b) of which states “the delay and difficulty which could be expected by any other authority in taking over the requirements of civilian authorities in respect to national survey and mapping”. If the proposed council is to function satisfactorily the Services should be prepared to co-operate with it.


MR. JOHNSTON - The motion also envisages that the services will be able to carry out every civilian requirement but it has been found in practice that the services cannot do that.


MR. HAMBIDGE - The proposed council will possibly be mainly an advisory body but it must have some authority to say that certain things are required for civilian purposes and must be included in the basic maps.


MR. JOHNSTON - Mr. Dick said that in New Zealand they have a basic map of 1 mile to an inch to suit all service and civilian needs. If the council is to consider State requirements only without regard to the Service maps it will be useless. I strongly favour the motion.


MR. RUDDUCK - The council cannot in fact be more than advisory body. In respect of standards and mapping functions and I think that should meet Col. Fitzgerald’s objection to the motion.


MR. JOHNSTON - But it could make representations on behalf of all the States. If we get the nucleus of some such organisation it would develop as time goes on.


MR. FYFE - The objective of complete co-operation can be achieved only by voluntary effort on the part of the Commonwealth and the States. I think the proposed council would provide for continuous contact and would bring about substantially what Col. Fitzgerald desires.


MR. HARVEY - The original motion proposed that a national mapping committee be set up. The desire was indicated that the duties of that committee should be made known. Mr. Allen gave his ideas. We have been discussing the motion and the amendment on the supposition that the duties would be somewhat in line with what already has been disclosed. I take it that the committee, if established, will be more than advisory committee, otherwise the whole work of this conference will be vitiated and will be of no effect.


LIEUTENANT COMMANDER TANCRED - The only concern of Defence is not to have a civil body administering matters affecting defence.


The conference adjourned to the following day Thursday, 18th January 1945.




Thursday, 18th January 1945.



MR. JOHNSTON - In my introductory remarks to Items 2 and 5, I deliberately eliminated any reference to the organisation controlling what I call the National Survey in New Zealand. I did so because Mr. Dick, the Surveyor-General of New Zealand, is attending this Conference, and he proceeded to describe the organisation to us. I was particularly impressed with New Zealand's 1 mile series and with its breaking down into 1/25,000ths. I think that should be the ultimate goal of the national mapping plan for Australia. In my opening remarks, without knowing what the New Zealand practice was, that is what I had envisaged and I believe that that is the desideratum at which we should try to aim.


Another point which impressed me in Mr. Dick's address was that the civilian department of Lands and Surveys is the mapping agency for all the Services in New Zealand. It does the maps for the Air Force and the Army, and presumably it works in perfect co-ordination with the Navy. The sample of maps which Mr. Dick produced was an all-purposes map which was 1 mile to an inch, and serves both the Services and civilian needs. That is showing us the light.


I emphasize that we cannot at this juncture get a clear perception of the post-war world. This Conference is meeting in the shadow of a great war. None of us knows exactly what will be the conditions after­wards but we should try to envisage some scheme that might meet the needs of everyone after the war. The important thing is to have some authority which will create perfect co-ordination between the needs of the Services and the needs of the civilians and in the piping days of peace we may be able to produce a map series similar to that which New Zealand has produced.


Another point arising from the New Zeeland practice is that that Dominion has uniform conventional signs. I believe that we should acquire that in Australia. Since the outbreak of war, our Department has been visited by officers of the American and Dutch Forces. They told me that they obtain a very good map in Western Australia. We know that the Western Australian system is based on New Zealand practice. However, when they go to New South Wales, they obtain a good parish map. They ask me "Are we not in Australia; is not this country all Australia? Why are all these maps so different? Why do they have different projections and different conventional signs?" In this mapping problem I want you to think nationally and also to remember that for Air services and the like we must have an international complexion on our mapping. For that reason, I appeal to the States to adopt some uniformity with conventional signs. No-one is thinking of dictating to the States. All we want to achieve is to induce you to think nationally on this most important subject.


Arising from this Conference, somebody must be created. Let us say that it is called the National Mapping Council. Perhaps Mr. Dick will be good enough to allow us to obtain some of his sample maps, and they should form the basis of the first records for this new organisation.


MR. DICK - I shall be only too pleased to leave one or two copies of the sample maps with you. I regret that in my hasty departure from New Zealand, it was not possible for me to obtain copies of complete chart and symbols that we have evolved and experimented with in the last two or three years. That is being prepared by a draftsman at the present time. It will show not only symbols and conventional signs but also give sizes of lettering for reduction and types of lettering for particular purposes. The maps which you will have on your record here are merely maps that have been drawn to the actual scale drawing and consequently the lettering may not be of such high standard. As you can imagine they have had to work more finely than a draftsman is expected to do, but it will give you some idea of our requirements as to standard.


The symbols shown in the reference are uniform. They do not vary. There may be some variation in this new chart but they will be only minor ones, perhaps dividing some symbols into one or two classes. That is just to differentiate the detail of that particular class. I shall be only too pleased to leave some samples, perhaps a 1" sheet and one in 25,000.


COLONEL FITZGERALD - Our deliberations concluded yesterday with a proposal by myself concerning the establishment of a National Mapping Council. I had moved an amendment and I desire to continue my discussion of it. Mr. Allen has tabled what he considers should be the functions of such a Council. His proposals are not acceptable to the Services.


MR. FYFE - Mr. Allen submitted them as a basis for discussion rather than as a well considered final opinion.


COLONEL FITZGERALD - I agree that Mr. Allen submitted them as a basis for discussion and I wish to point out that his ideas are not acceptable to the Services. It should be realised that certain Australian mapping conventions, such as units of measurements, the projection and the system of grid zoning of military maps are subject to international agreement and cannot be altered without the concurrence of the British War Office. We, as the Service mapping agency in Australia, cannot change the zoning system or the unit of measurement if we wish to do so, without internat­ional concurrence. The same applies to the grids and zones defined for the territories and New Zealand. We have no control over what is to be used in that respect.


Furthermore, it is conceivable that, following the cessation of hostilities, Australia may be required to control, from a Defence aspect, a zone in the Pacific extending beyond its present territories. That would involve international commitments by the Services. The proposed National Mapping Council, consisting predominantly of the State Surveyors-General, is obviously not competent to adjudicate on the relative priorities or methods of implementing such international commitments. After having given due consideration to the suggested functions of the National Mapping Council as suggested by Mr. Allen as a basis for discussion, I desire to state that unless the proposals for the establish­ment for that Council embody a clear statement of its functions, I cannot give my support to the organisation, if it contemplates restricting the activities of the Services.


MR. JOHNSTON - I do not think that anyone ever suggested that it would.


COLONEL FITZGERLD - To advance the situation, I hope, I should like to withdraw the proposal that I submitted yesterday. I submit my amendment in the following amended form :-


That this Conference is of opinion that a National Mapping Council is essential to advise on the co-ordination of the mapping activities of Australia and recommends to the Commonwealth and State Governments that such Council be established as a permanent body comprising the Commonwealth Surveyor-General, who shall be Chairman, a member of the Commonwealth Survey Committee, who shall represent that body, and one representative of each State who shall be its Surveyor-General and shall represent the co-ordinated requirement of his State. The expression "co-ordination of the mapping activities of Australia" shall be subject to the recognised policy of the Services to control their respective mapping activities. The functions of the National Mapping Council to be as follows

1.   To co-ordinate and correlate mapping on a national basis.

2.   To determine standard methods and accuracy requirements of trigonometrical surveys.

3.   To determine approved methods and appropriate standards of accuracy for photogrammetry and cartography.

4.   To recommend priorities involving Commonwealth assistance except in the case of Service requirements.

5.   To recommend the allocation of Commonwealth funds provided for national mapping.


MR. FYFE - Mr. Allen, who submitted the original motion, desired that the functions of the proposed national council should be dealt with as a separate item, but the amendment now includes the functions of the council.


MR. JOHNSTON - I pointed out to Mr. Allen before he left Canberra that it would be difficult for the Commonwealth representatives to vote on the motion unless they knew its implications.


MR. HARVEY - I second the amendment.


MR. JOHNSTON - Will Colonel Fitzgerald agree to make the first function of the Council "to further the implementation of the decisions of this Conference and of any subsequent similar Conferences which are not counter to the requirements of the Services."


COLONEL FITZGERALD - That is acceptable to me.


MR. DICK - All priorities in regard to mapping carried out in New Zealand have been fixed by the Services. We have been entirely under their control in that respect.


The Conference adjourned in order to discuss the amendment informally.


On resuming ‑


MR. FYFE - This morning, when the amendment was being considered by the Conference, it was decided to adjourn in order to enable the Surveyors-General to confer with each other and also to permit of the Commonwealth representatives discussing the amendment. The adjournment lasted a considerable time and during it the representatives of the Surveyors-General met the representatives of the Commonwealth. Substantial agreement was reached with regard to the amendment as now to be submitted by Colonel Fitzgerald.


COLONEL FITZGERALD - I believe that the following amendment will meet with the general concurrence of the Conference; I move:-


Resolution No.2 :


That this Conference is of opinion that a National Mapping Council is essential for the co-ordination of the mapping activities of Australia, and re­commends to the Commonwealth and State governments that such Council be estab­lished as a permanent body, comprising the Commonwealth Surveyor-General, who shall be Chairman, a member of the Commonwealth Survey Committee, who shall re­present that Committee, and one representative of each State, who shall be its Surveyor General and shall represent the co-ordinated requirements of his State. The expression "co-ordination of the mapping activities of Australia" shall be subject to the recognised policy of the Services to control their respective mapping activities, provided that where practicable the standard of all work shall not be less than the minimum requirements of the National Mapping Council. The functions of the National Mapping Council to be as follows:


1.       To assist in the implementation of the decisions of this and subse­quent Conferences.

2.       To co-ordinate and correlate mapping on a national basis.

3.       To determine standard methods and minimum accuracy of requirements of trigonometrical surveys.

4.       To determine approved methods and minimum standards of accuracy for photogrammetry and cartography.

5.       Subject to reference to appropriate authorities, to recommend mapping priorities where Commonwealth assistance is involved, except in the case of Service requirements.

6.       To recommend the allocation of Commonwealth funds provided for nation­al mapping.


MR. HAMBIDGE - I second the amendment.


MR. McCOMB - I desire to be sure that the motion implies that the proposed Council shall not be an executive body.


COLONEL FITZGERALLD - I raised that point during the informal discussion. My interpretation of the motion is that the Council will not be an executive body for implementing the decisions of these Conferences. Its first function is to assist in the implementation of the decisions, and by “assist” I mean “advise and help”.


MR. JOHNSTON - It would be impossible for the Council, whose members come from all parts of Australia, to carry out executive functions.


The amendment was agreed to unanimously.



National Survey Director


MR. McCOMB - I think the delegates will agree that the efficacy of the proposed Council depends entirely on having satisfactory means of implementing its recommendations. Otherwise its work could be abortive.


I suggest that the most practical and logical executive action to implement the carrying out of the national mapping of Australia would be the creation of the position of National Mapping Director, who would be responsible to the Minister for the Interior for the co-ordination of the necessary Commonwealth and State authorities in planning and carrying out the national mapping of Australia, and would be guided by the recommendations of a National Mapping Council. Such a Director would have the benefit of the recommendations of the proposed National Mapping Council, on which all States end the Commonwealth would be represented. He undoubtedly would use to the fullest extent possible all Commonwealth and State survey and mapping agencies for the carrying out of this basic national survey. This use of the Commonwealth and State agencies would have to be obtained by the agreement of all the agencies concerned.


I am convinced that my proposal for the creation of the position of National Napping Director, backed by a Commonwealth and State Mapping Council, would have a tremendous public appeal, and would be the only means whereby a satisfactory financial basis could be established for the national mapping of Australia. I place a good deal of importance on the viewpoint that the means whereby we can achieve what we all desire, namely some acceleration and advancement of our national mapping programme, is almost entirely dependent upon the necessary finance being made available The more creation of a National Mapping Council, with advisory functions, would not have any appeal in securing of the necessary finance for the projected national survey.


The Defence Services necessarily are governed by strategic and security requirements and must, of necessity, always be allowed freedom of action, particularly in relation to priority of mapping work. My proposal does not in any way encroach on their functions and activities. But there is no reason why their actual work should not be co-ordinated, so far as that is practicable - I say this advisedly - with a national mapping programme, which now has an increasing value for developmental purposes as well as a value for Defence purposes.


This proposal should be acceptable to the various States. It would achieve implementation on a co-ordinated basis, and would ensure participation in the programme by both Commonwealth and State agencies. I accordingly move -


That this Conference recommends the appointment of a Director of National Mapping, who shall be respon­sible to the Minister for the Interior for the co-ordination of the necessary Commonwealth and State authorities in planning and carrying out the national mapping of Australia, and shall be guided by the recommendations of the National Mapping Council.


COL. FITZGERALD - I second the motion.


MR. BARRIE - I should like to be clear as to whether or not a recommenda­tion for the appointment of an officer under the Minister for the Interior would be regarded by the Department of the Interior as quite an acceptable method of approach. In the ordinary functions of government, it is not normal for a body such as this to recommend the creation of a position. Is it likely that objection would be taken to it?


MR. JOHNSTON - So far as I am concerned, it would be impossible to do anything with resolution number 2 unless this proposal also were agreed to. All of my introductory remarks were designed to lead up to the point that we cannot get anywhere in our Department until some position of this sort has been created. I want this Conference to feel that it has the direct backing of the Institution of Surveyors in Victoria. Commonwealth Surveyor-General and chairman of the National Mapping Council, I shall have to prepare a submission for Cabinet. A submission in relation to the National Mapping Council would have no force without a further submission in relation to an executive officer to carry out its recommendations. I shall not be able to obtain the approval of the Commonwealth Government to the appointment of such an officer, without the backing of this Conference.


MR. BARRIE - I am still wondering whether we would not be inviting a rebuff and putting ourselves in bad odour with the Department of the Interior by making a recommendation for the appointment of a Director of the National Mapping.


MR. JOHNSTON - It will be all right. My idea was to have the move made by the Conference.


MR. RUDDUCK - I agree with Mr. Barrie that it is not competent for a group of representatives from the States to suggest to the Commonwealth what machinery it should provide. It would be more appropriate for the Conference to recommend that the Commonwealth should set up the necessary machinery to implement recommendation number 2. The effect would be the same.


MR. JOHNSTON - That is the approach that I want, and I am the officer who will have to handle the matter.


MR. FYFE - This Conference will not have gone far enough if it leaves resolution number 2 without any indication of how it should be put into operation. Whilst we do not want to be presumptuous in any way in regard to what appointments should be made, I consider that we should give some indication of what machinery should be established to give effect to the decisions of the Conference. The proposal in the motion is that a Director of National Mapping shall be appointed. If a Director of National Mapping were appointed, we could then discuss what duties should be allotted to him. In my opinion, it would be unwise to appoint a Director of National Mapping, whose position would eclipse that of the Commonwealth Surveyor-General. The Commonwealth Surveyor-General should be the Director of National Mapping if one were appointed; and if he could not discharge the detailed work involved because of his many other duties, a Deputy Director could be appointed for that purpose.


MR. JOHNSTON - The duties of the position would be absolutely new. The Commonwealth Surveyor-General has never played any part in the mapping of Australia. His duties are definitely laid down by the Public Service Regulations, and do not embrace such a thing as the mapping of the whole of Australia. Because of the resolutions adopted by the Commonwealth Government and every State, this position has to be created. I had Mr. Percival here yesterday, particularly to emphasise that point.


MR, FYFE - Your view is fully respected. At the same time, we should bear, in mind that the resolutions to which you refer are past history. During the war, we have passed through a transitional period, and we now believe that we are at the beginning of a new era. We should endeavour to visualise the problems that lie ahead and make such arrangements to meet them as we consider will achieve the best results, without being unduly influenced by some decisions that were made in the past.


MR. McCOMB - I Was influenced, in making the recommendation in the form proposed because I consider that the present is the psychological time to achieve a great advance in the national mapping of Australia and that the appointment of a Director of National Mapping would itself make a very great appeal to the powers that will have to provide the funds which will make possible the implementation of our proposals.


MR. BARRIE - I completely agree with what Mr. Fyfe has said. My only concern is as to whether or not the motion has been framed in a way that might be challenged by the administration. I should like to know whether or not it would be acceptable to the administration.


MR. HARVEY - Conference has resolved to recommend to the Governments of the Commonwealth and the States that a National Mapping Council shall be established. We do not know whether they will approve or disapprove of that recommendation. I should think that the next step would be to recommend that, subject to the acceptance of resolution number 2, consideration shall be given to the setting up of the necessary machinery.


MR. BARRIE - An amendment that we have in mind is that the motion should read –


Subject to the respective Governments adopting resolution number 2, in the opinion of this Conference it will be necessary for a Director of National Mapping to be appointed to carry out the decisions of the National Mapping Council, and it is considered that this officer should be the Commonwealth Surveyor-General.


COL. FITZGERALD - I suggest that the motion might read in this way -


Subject to the adoption of resolution number 2, this Conference recommends the appointment of a responsible administrative officer, who shall be responsible to the Minister for the Interior.


MR. RUDDUCK - I am somewhat in favour of the idea of suggesting the appointment of a Director, but I appreciate the point of view of the States concerning the conflict that might arise in the event of the position of Director being separate from that of the Commonwealth Surveyor-General. I do not think that a Conference of this sort should suggest the Department to which such an officer should be attached. It would be more appropriate were the Conference to suggest that the Commonwealth Government should make the appointment, leaving it to the Government to decide to whom the officer should be responsible. That is the view of my Department.


MR. FYFE - It would appear from the discussion that three salient points arise. The first is the proposed addition that, subject to approval being given to resolution number 2, certain action shall be taken. From the tenor of the discussion, I should say that practically the whole of the delegates are in agreement on that point. The second point is whether or not a Director of National Mapping shall be appointed; and the third point is that, if such an officer is appointed, by whom shall the position be filled?


It appears that a majority of delegates favour the appointment of a Director of National Mapping. The only conflict seems to be on the question of who the Director shall be. The State Surveyors-General appear to hold the view that the Director should be the Commonwealth Surveyor-General and that, should he be unable to cope with all the detailed work involved, a Deputy Director should be appointed to assist him. Alternative suggestions are that the Director shall be a person other than the Commonwealth Surveyor-General, but that he may, or may not, be an officer of the Department of the Interior. Should the Conference recommend the appointment of a Director of National Mapping without knowing whether its other recommendation will be adopted, we might place ourselves in the position of recommending something which is not in keeping with our general intention. Should the Conference not agree to the proposal for the establishment of a National Mapping Council we should then have to consider whether we should recommend the appointment of a Director of National Mapping.


MR. JOHNSTON - The intention of the motion is that the main function of the Director would be to implement the decisions of the National Mapping Council. As no appointment will be made without my knowledge I can say that nothing will be done in regard to the appointment of a Director of National Mapping unless the other decisions of the Confer­ence, as set out in Resolution No.2, are to be implemented.


MR. RUDDUCK - In that case it would be better if the motion should commence with the words "subject to resolutions 1 and 2".


MR. McCOMB - As I think that the appointment of an advisory National Mapping Council can be anticipated we could save time if we were to proceed with other matters.


MR. RUDDUCK - I agree with Mr. McComb. I do not think that the Common­wealth Government would agree to Resolution No.3 unless the States had endorsed Resolutions 1 and 2. In that case, why not say so?


MR. HAMBIDGE -   Would it not be clearer if the motion read "subject to the adoption of the principle of the formation of a National Mapping Council… ".


MR. BARRIE - The motion is not sufficiently specific; the words "shall be guided by the recommendations of the National Mapping Council" are not definite enough. Another point is that the person to be appointed will most likely be the Commonwealth Surveyor-General, or at least an officer in his Department. It seems important that the two positions should be joined, and that the Director shall be the Commonwealth Surveyor-General. My view is that the Director should be the Commonwealth Surveyor-General, but in any case he should be a Surveyor. I think that we all agree to the principle contained in the motion so long as the Director shall be either the Commonwealth Surveyor-General or his deputy,


MR. JOHNSTON - We could say that he shall be a Surveyor.


MR. BARRIE - That is not sufficient.


MR. DICK - The same problem has arisen in New Zealand. In order to overcome it tentative approval has been given to the making of two appointments - a Director of Trigonometrical surveys and a Director of Topographical surveys, the appointees to be under the control of the Surveyor-General. Your proposals deal with both triangulation and mapping and in a big country like Australia the job warrants the appointment of two Directors. In my opinion they should be under the Commonwealth Surveyor-General. In my opinion the executive officer for the National Mapping Council, who will be subject to the direction of that body, should be the Commonwealth Surveyor-General. The two Directors that I have suggested would be under his control.


MR. JOHNSTON - I shall be satisfied if the Director of National Mapping shall be an officer on the staff of the Commonwealth Surveyor-General.


COLONEL FITZGERALD - I think that the situation in New Zealand is different from the situation here. I assume that the New Zealand Directors are responsible for carrying out surveys whereas the proposed Director of National Mapping will have different functions; he will be concerned chiefly with matters of co-ordination. I have not visualised the appointment of an additional officer; indeed I think that such an appointment might not be welcomed. I agree that the Director of National

Mapping should be the Commonwealth Surveyor-General.


MR. BARRIE - I agree that the position in Australia is different from that in New Zealand.


MR. JOHNSTON - I am concerned chiefly that we agree to the principle of appointing a Director of National Mapping. If the Conference goes farther and agrees that such officer shall be either the Commonwealth Surveyor-General or an officer of the Department of the Interior, that would meet the situation.


MR. HAMBIDGE - I suggest that the motion read -


Subject to the adoption of the principle of a National Mapping Council, in the opinion of this Conference a Director of National Mapping, who shall be the Commonwealth Surveyor-General, shall be appointed to carry out the decisions of the National Mapping Council.


MR. McCOMB - I accept the first part of Mr. Hambidge's suggestion but not the latter part because it virtually makes an executive body of the National Mopping Council.


MR. RUDDUCK - It may place the Commonwealth Surveyor-General in a difficult position should he be instructed by the National Mapping Council to do something which is contrary to an instruction given to him as Surveyor-General.


MR. BARRIE - I move an amendment -


That subject to the adoption of the principle of resolution No.2, this Conference recommends the appointment of the Commonwealth Surveyor-General as Director of National Mapping, who shall be responsible for the co-ordination of the activities of Commonwealth and State authorities in planning and carrying out the national mapping of Australia with full regard to the recommendations of the National Mapping Council; provided that in any case where the Director does not adopt the decisions or recommendations of the Council, he shall so advise all members within 30 days indicating the reasons for any departure therefrom.


It is the opinion of this Conference that the additional duties and responsibilities which would be placed on the Surveyor-General by the adoption of this resolution would necessitate the appointment of a Deputy Surveyor-General.


MR. FYFE - I second the motion. As you know, the opportunity has been given to the State Surveyors-General again to confer during the adjournment of the Conference on this matter. Whilst the representatives of the States recognise that they cannot exercise executive power through the National Mapping Council; they feel that if a Director is appointed and he discards the recommendations of the Council within a comparatively short time the members of it should be advised. That would protect State interests.


Another aspect of importance is that it is known that the position of Commonwealth Surveyor-General carries wide responsibilities, and the amount of work to be performed at the present time regardless of what delegation might be possible is very great indeed. The State representatives consider that it would be foolish to load that position with the very wide range of responsibilities that will be created by the adoption of this suggest for a Director of National Mapping. We hope that the Commonwealth, in considering the recommendations of this conference, will recognise that a deputy surveyor general will have very important duties delegated to him by the Commonwealth Surveyor-General, and the classification of his position should be on a high plane. We want to be confident that the interests of the States and those authorities represented here to date will not be prejudiced by a narrow view of this new position which we recommend, should be created in attending this conference we have made every endeavour to co-operate with that, will authorities to achieve the desired goal of a complete National Mapping of Australia for defence and other purposes, and we want to be confident, when we leave here, that the Commonwealth will act in accordance with the spirit of the Conference and that if it creates the position which we recommend, it will do so in such a way that the interests of the States and other authorities will not be prejudiced in any way.


In other words, I consider that it would be quite wrong for the Commonwealth to establish a minor position within the Department of the Interior and expect the officer holding it to carry out the duties which must be delegated to him by the Commonwealth Surveyor-General.


MR McCOMB - I should like to know whether the State delegates are prepared to accept alteration of the proviso to this effect – “Provided that in any case where the Director makes a material departure from the recommendations of the Conference…”.


MR. HAMBIDGE - There might be a difference of opinion as to what constituted a “material departure”.


MR. FYFE - I do not think that the amendment should be altered. As a matter of practical administration, the Director in informing State and other representatives on the Council of a variation made in one of its decisions would deal with the major points.


MR. JOHNSTON - It is the spirit of the resolution that counts and I do not think that we need worry about the verbiage.


Resolution No.3 :


That subject to the adoption of the principle of resolution No.2, this conference recommends the appointment of the Commonwealth Surveyor-General as Director of National Mapping who shall be responsible for the coordination of the activities of the Commonwealth and State authorities in planning and carrying out the National Mapping of Australia with full regard to the recommendations of the National Mapping Council; provided that in any case where the Director does not adopt the decisions or recommendation of the Council, he shall so advise all members within 30 days indicating the reasons for any departure therefrom.


It is the opinion of the Conference that the additional duties and responsibilities which will be placed on the Surveyor-General by the adoption of this resolution would necessitate the appointment of a Deputy Surveyor-General.


Carried unanimously



MR. BARRIE - There is also a machinery amendment. I move –


That meetings of the National Mapping Council shall be held as required but at intervals not exceeding 6 months. Members unable to attend may be represented by deputy, or may vote in writing.


I presume that the matter to be raised would be indicated in advising them of the meeting. If they were unable to attend or send a deputy, they may indicate their views in writing. I have not raised the question of what shall constitute a quorum but my proposal will mean that every member will be able to express his opinion. Without limiting the number of meetings that may be held, I consider that it would be unfortunate if the intervals between meetings will longer than 6 months.


MR. HAMBIDGE - I second the amendment. In the matter of a quorum I assume that the usual practice would be followed, namely, that at least 50% of the members must be represented.


MR. JOHNSTON - Such details could be determined by the Council itself when it has been created.


Resolution No.4 :


That meetings of the National Mapping Council shall be held as required but at intervals not exceeding 6 months. Members unable to attend may be represented by deputy, or may vote in writing.


Carried unanimously.






COLONEL FITZGERALD - When considering Item 5, we dealt with the composition of a central authority to control the National Survey but we did not deal adequately with the second part of this Item namely, the extent to which the Navy, Army and Air Force can be used. To cover the subject effectively, I must refer to Item 3, Manpower, and Item 4, the suitability of basic maps (Scales of 1 mile and 4 miles to 1 inch).


I have distributed copies of resolution 9 of the Commonwealth Survey Committee and later I shall ask this Conference to adopt it in principle. It is quite an important matter because it will be through that item that we shall implement or achieve our objective. I direct your attention to paragraph (a) of the Item namely the considerable defence requirements in respect of survey and mapping which will be necessary to be continued in post-war years and for which the Services will necessarily assume essentially responsibility.


The Man-power situation is most important. The vast majority of survey personnel available for such a national scheme are now in the Australian Survey Corps. This Corps is by far the biggest organisation employing surveyors and draftsmen engaged on national mapping. The other surveyors and competent draftsmen have to a large extent been absorbed by the R.A.A.F. on constructional and local surveys and a few are in artillery survey regiments. But the Australian Survey Corps must be regarded as the pool for personnel for mapping.


In our organisation we have between 1600 and 1700 personnel consisting of surveyors, computers, survey assistants, axe-men, lithographers, draftsmen, machine minders, clerks, cooks, carpenters, store men and drivers. The specialists are as follows:- Surveyors 335, computers 83, survey assistants 124, axe-men 74 and draftsmen 363. Those figures were compiled in 1944 and due to attrition they have been depleted by from 50 to 100 in all. Our strength at the 30th December last was 76 officers and 1554 other ranks, total 1630.


The operational commitments of the Australian Survey Corps have considerably increased, and it is now found necessary to send considerably more of our survey units overseas. The remaining units on the mainland form the pool which is essential for the reinforcement of the Forces overseas. In addition to that pool, we have a base unit located at Bendigo which is an operational unit, and it cannot be released until the completion of the war. The total number of surveyors and draftsmen who may be considered as the pool of personnel competent in mapping is about 600. They were made up as far as possible by recruiting trained and competent personnel from civilian sources. The remainder of that pool were lads recently out of school, well educated and in many cases attending universities. They had not been previously trained as surveyors and draftsmen but they have become competent. I do not imply that each has become a master at his profession. On demobilisation, 200 of the 600 will normally resume their prewar occupations as draftsmen, university students and lads in various trades. The remaining 400 will consist of a fairly effective body of men, many of whom were previously competent surveyors, practising and departmental. They will naturally return to their prewar occupations if they so desire. Assuming that the maximum total of 400 could be released from the Forces to engage in mapping activities by the Commonwealth and State authorities, we have about 10 Departments in each State which are interested in mapping, drafting and surveying, and in addition we have Commonwealth Departments dealing with forests, mines and civil aviation, so there would be about 70 Departments competing for the services of 400 men. That would allow approximately 6 men for each Department, and it may be assumed that the 6 would comprise one licensed surveyor, one or two competent surveyors, not necessarily licensed, and three of the pupil type, either draftsmen or surveyors. Because of the war every Department has had its technical staff depleted and all Departments must be in arrears with their normal work. If they had this release of personnel from the Services they would be occupied for some years in catering for the work of all State Departments. Therefore, no State or civil organisation could contemplate extensive progress in mapping for a considerable period after the war. I now produce for the information of the Conference samples of our mapping catalogues in order to show what has been achieved in recent years.


Lieut. Commander Tancred explained briefly the Australian reproduction of charts and as far as could be defined, the future policy of the Navy.


Col. FitzGerald and Col. Gillespie gave a demonstration of military maps. Squadron-Leader Thompson explained what had been achieved as the result of co-operation and co-ordination.


COL. FITZGERALD - My colleagues and I have reviewed the mapping activities of the Services with the intention of demonstrating the development of our respective services and their capacity to cope with the requirements, and also the effectiveness of our organisation in present commitments and potentially future commitments. I move -


Resolution No.5 :


That this Conference notes the effective development of the mapping agencies now existing in the Navy, army and Air Force, and realises that during the war period those activities must be directed towards mapping for war purposes. With regard to the provision of the basic 1 and 4 miles to an inch topographical maps required for national mapping, it is recommended that the Services be recognised as competent agencies for carrying out the work, and that the Commonwealth provide funds for ensuring the continuity of this work on an effective basis; and, further, in connection with the question of continuing the national survey, the Conference recommends that the Navy continue to carry out essential hydrographical surveys for naval defence requirements of strategical areas, and that, in addition, financial assistance be given to the Department of the Navy to carry out hydrographical surveys for developmental and commercial purposes in Australian waters and in Australian spheres of influence in the Pacific.


The foregoing is subject to the understanding that each State may carry out such topographical and Trigonometrical work as it considers necessary.


MR. FYFE - I second the motion. In doing so I think that it should be placed on record that, in order to reduce the time required to consider this motion, the Conference was adjourned to enable the State Surveyors-General to discuss it first by themselves, and later with the Commonwealth representatives, and that the motion as submitted represents an agree­ment reached, after considerable discussion, by those authorities.


Motion agreed to unanimously.



The Conference adjourned to the following day, Friday the 19th January, 1945.




Friday 19th January 1945.




MR. BARRIE - It should be the responsibility of the National Mapping Council to determine certain basic features in respect of a national mapping progress. I ask the permission of Conference to move –


That Conference lays it down as a basic principle and requirement that each field party engaged on national mapping within the States shall include a qualified land surveyor registered by the Board of Surveyors of a reciprocating State or Dominion who shall be in charge of the party.


MR. JOHNSTON -   Air photography would be included in national mapping and the motion, if adopted, would mean that a registered surveyor must be included in air photography parties.


MR. BARRIE - That is not contemplated in the motion. I am definitely of opinion that all parties carrying out the operations of observation in "trig" work should be under the control of and should include a qualified surveyor. That does not apply to aerial work; nor does it apply to such members of the party who may be for the time being separated from the main body and do topographical work with compass and chain or with plane table. It is desirable that, when we are laying down the principle of the national mapping programme, the national mapping work should have the complete and full respect not only of the States but also of the world. By virtue of its being national, it becomes international. I urge the Conference to give this matter the fullest consideration. I submitted the motion with the definite understanding that it does not in any way attempt to dictate to the Army how it shall carry out its own survey work required for the defence of this Commonwealth.


MR. JOHNSTON - Would Mr. Barrie like to qualify his motion so as to exclude the Army?


COL. FITZGERLD - We do not wish to be excluded. We desire to co-oper­ate in this respect. If we can get a solution acceptable to us all, I shall be happy to do so.


MR. HARVEY - I second the motion.


MR. DICK - Can Col. Fitzgerald give us any idea as to the number of licensed surveyors engaged in the organisation of field parties. The New Zealand practice was that we had four to five topographers, but always a qualified surveyor in charge of the party.


COL. FITZGERLD - The motion as now worded is unacceptable to the Services. I agree in principle that a qualified and competent surveyor, duly recognised by some Surveyors' Board, should be in charge of survey work. The Surveyors' Boards today provide for certificates of competency for land surveyors. To qualify for such a certificate, these surveyors receive a comprehensive training in general survey practice, with specific application to transfer of land surveys. This application is not possible with regard to the problems of the Services. The production of topographical maps in recent years has resulted in specialists in photogrammetry and cartography, and the certificate issued by the Surveyors' Board is not sufficiently comprehensive to cater for such specialists. With regard to the principle of having a competent surveyor in charge of field parties, the Australian Military Regulations and Orders specifically state that a commissioned officer in a Survey Section of the Australian Survey Corps shall be a licensed surveyor. The Australian Survey Corps has endeavoured to retain the professional status of the surveyor, and has been almost entirely successful in seeing that its commissioned survey officers are licensed surveyors. That, of necessity, has been relaxed in wartime, but to a very small degree. The Australian Survey Corps has various sections. The Survey Section has a personnel of 45, among whom are three commissioned officers. With one or two minor exceptions, all such officers are sufficiently licensed surveyors. It is necessary to have such a party sufficiently flexible to split into many sections, say, of five in each party, or possibly fewer sections of greater numbers. To be so flexible the three officers cannot personally direct the activities of each sub-party in the field and their responsibilities must be delegated to senior non-commissioned officers who are quite competent to carry out the tasks delegated to them.


This proposal would necessitate a considerable increase of the number of licensed surveyors required in the Australian Survey Corps. It is practically impossible for the Surveyors' Board and the community in general to supply such a requirement. The specialist nature of the work of the Australian Survey Corps is such that in order to retain the recognised competency of the officers of that Corps it is now incumbent on the Surveyors Boards to review the qualifications of their licensed surveyors and endeavour to provide certificates of competency in specialist subjects of surveying such as photogrammetry and cartography.


MR. FYFE - In Western Australia some surveyors are trained by the Department of Lands and Surveys and others by private surveyors. Government staff cadets are trained comprehensively in all classes of land surveying including geodetic and trigonometrical surveys. The Conference realises that the interests of the profession should be protected within the Army and the other Services as far as practicable. Apart from the emergency conditions which prevail during the war, no member of the Survey Section of the Australian Survey Corps can become a commissioned officer unless he be a licensed surveyor. That, I think, affords substantially the protection sought to be secured by the motion. Although a man might be a specialist in geodetic work, it is logical to suppose that in order to get promotion he would become a licensed surveyor. To insist on the motion as it stands would be to create a problem of great difficulty for the Australian Survey Corps.


MR. McCOMB - How many licensed surveyors in the Australian Survey Corps have not commissioned rank?


COL. FITZGERALD - I think none. Had we licensed surveyors in the Corps who are not commissioned we should be glad to avail ourselves of their services, as commissioned officers.


MR. HAMBIDGE - The Surveyors' Boards contemplate holding a conference early in 1946 and I think the point raised by Col. FitzGerald will then receive serious consideration. His remarks will support the Board in any move they may make to introduce subjects which would lead to his wishes being met. I agree with the remarks of Mr. Fyfe. That survey training is a general one which with a little specialist work fits the surveyor for the work of the Australian Survey Corps.


MR. PITT - In our Department we have four positions of cadet surveyor. They have a free University course of two years. They are trained in land surveying but to a greater degree in topographical work and to a certain degree in engineering work.


MR. DICK - Mr. Barrie is concerned that the men under the supervision of the Army should be qualified surveyors and I think that the Army organisa­tion meets that.


COL. FITZGERALD - Provision has been made by the Surveyors' Board and by the Army for pupils to be articled to the Director of Survey. At present I have about 30 pupils articled to me, and I am under an obligation to see that they receive training for later qualification as licensed surveyors. That commitment is being implemented. At the last licensed surveyors examination in September we provided 24 pupils, which is larger than the number from the rest of the Commonwealth. I have promised that in future all geodetic triangulation will be under the immediate supervision of a licensed surveyor. I think it will be agreed that it is not necessary for a licensed surveyor to accompany a party engaged on geodetic leveling.


MR. HAMBIDGE - I think we might assist Col. Fitzgerald in endeavouring to provide means for his trainees to obtain the necessary land boundary experience to qualify them for the licence, and I feel sure that he would reciprocate in any arrangements that could be made to that end.


COL. FITZGZELD - That problem has given us some concern. We are not in a position to train our surveyors in transfer of land work and we should welcome an opportunity given to us by Commonwealth or State Departments to see that our pupils could be given such training.


MR. HARVEY - Col. FitzGerald has told us that there were 24 Army candidates at the last examination for licensed surveyors, it is clear that there will be a reservoir of licensed surveyors in future from which the needs of the Services can be supplied. In the postwar period all surveyors in charge of geodetic or first and second order triangulation should be licensed.


MR. FYFE - I think our wishes could be substantially met by a slight amendment of the motion. By substituting the word "section" for the word "party", the requirements of the mover and the wishes of the Conference would be met.


COLONEL FITZGERALD - We realise what is implied by the term “section” but probably anybody outside this Conference would not. The word proposed needs further clarification. The proposal is too broad. Our discussions have related specifically to the Army and not to the other Services.


MR. FYFE - I suggest that a short Conference between Mr. Barrie and Colonel Fitzgerald would produce a solution of the problem.


Conference ensued. Upon resuming -


MR. BARRIE - In accordance with the very desirable practice that has developed in this Conference, the Surveyors-General have conferred with representatives of the Services, as the result of which, with the concurrence of my seconder, I ask leave to withdraw the motion.


Motion - by leave - withdrawn.


MR. BARRIE - I move -


That this Conference lays it down as a basic principle and requirement that each field section of the Australian Survey Corps engaged on such tasks as triangulation, standard traverse, or field surveys which must be co-ordinated with civil cadastral surveys, shall be under the direction and supervision of a licensed surveyor.


MR. HARVEY - second the motion.


The motion was carried unanimously and became Resolution No.6.


MR. JOHNSTON - I move -


That this Conference notes with satisfaction that several States for example, Victoria and Tasmania, have already adopted the military mapping series as a basis for topographical work, and commends for the consideration of the other States that similar action be taken as opportunity occurs.


MR. FYFE - I second the motion.


MR. PITT - Certain topographical work has been done in Tasmania on behalf of other Departments, and we are adhering strictly to the design and procedure adopted by the Survey Corps. That, I thought, was necessary for purposes of co-ordination. We are using the same symbols and they have been included in our co-ordination act, which gives the necessary power to lay down what symbols shall be used. We have also co-ordinated symbols embodied in other acts, such as the Water and Sewerage Board Act, consequently, the symbols are similar throughout the State, and they are identical with those adopted by the Survey Corps.


MR. McCOMB  - We are rather anticipating the report of the sub-committee that was appointed to advise on the best conventional signs and mapping sheets for national mapping.


MR. JOHNSTON - This refers not to conventional signs but only to sheet lines.


MR. FYFE - The motion merely commends the taking of certain action by the States were opportunity offers, and is completely in keeping with the general tenor of our discussions in relation to co-operation.


MR. HARVEY - Although I have no objection to the motion, I agree with Mr. McComb that it is somewhat previous.


MR. BARRIE - It rather commits us to the expression of a view before we have had time to consider the other features involved. I suggest the deletion of the words "with satisfaction" and the substitution of the word “suggests” for the word “commends”.


Resolved unanimously (Resolution No.7) -


That this Conference notes that several States - for example, Victoria and Tasmania - have already adopted the military mapping series as a basis for their topographical work, and suggests for the consideration of the other States that similar action be taken as opportunity occurs.



ITEM 5 - Assistance required by States from the Commonwealth (material and financial) and from, the Central authority.


MR. HAMBIDGE - I move –


That the requirements under Item 3 be forwarded by each State Surveyor-General for inclusion in the proceedings of this Conference.


MR. FYFE - I second the motion.


MR. HARRVEY - I take the opportunity to congratulate the Services on the work they have carried out daring the war. At the outbreak of the war there were practically no maps of any Defence significance in the country. The Services, in conjunction with the various State author­ities, have since altered that position very materially, and I pay a tribute to them in that regard. The nature of the assistance which the States will require from the Commonwealth cannot be stated specifically. During the Conference, I have indicated to the Services that Queensland will gladly welcome the receipt of any maps that can be made available from any source - the Navy, the Army or the Air Force. There has been the greatest co-operation between the Services and the Queensland State authorities. The harmony that has existed is largely due to the policy adopted by Col. FitzGerald, Major Ward. The Department has been happy to carry out the policy of the Queensland Government and to supply to the Services all information in its possession. I have no doubt that that informa­tion has proved valuable.


COL. FITZGERALD - On behalf of the three Service Departments, I express appreciation of the generous remarks of Mr. Harvey.


Motion, by leave, amended and, as amended, agreed to :-


Resolution No.8 :


That, pending the submission of more complete statements to the National Mapping Council at a later date, the more immediate requirements set out under paragraphs (a), (b), (c) and that portion of paragraph (a) which relates to a general review of the portion of each State which requires mapping, with nature and priority, be forwarded by each State Surveyor-General to the Commonwealth Surveyor-General for inclusion in the proceedings of this Conference.


MR. JOHNSTON - The information will be included in the report as Appendix 'B' of the proceedings.


ITEM 6 - Flying for Air Photos - Media to be used -

(a)   Air Force.

(b)   Private Companies.

(c)   State Flying Organisations.



ITEM 7 - Aerial Photography


Required ground control for horizontal and vertical in relation to scale and contour interval required.

Vertical and obliques - photos - flying heights, scales, and other technical aspects.

Estimates and costs.



ITEM 8 - Photogrammetry


Use of plotting machines or other instruments for Air photo reduction and interpretation.

Contour intervals obtainable.

Estimates of capacity and costs.



ITEM 9 - Cartography


Scales projections, reproductions, conventional signs and hill hachuring and shading and other technical aspects.



MR. JOHNSTON - I shall ask Dr. Jacobs, who acted as chairman of the sub­committees on photogrammetry and cartography, to read the reports of the sub-committees. They will be included in the report of these proceedings as Appendix A.


DR. JACOBS - I have pleasure in submitting reports of the sub-committees on photogrammetry and cartography.


(For Reports, see Appendix A)


MR. JOHNSTON - We all agree that this report of the combined Sub-Committees is a most valuable contribution to the records of this Conference and reflects the greatest credit on Dr. Jacobs and his confreres, Because of lack of time, it will not be possible for us to discuss the report now and in view of that fact, I move -


Resolution No.9 :


That a vote of thanks be accorded to Dr. Jacobs and to the Sub-Committees and that the report be treated as Appendix A of the Proceedings of the Conference, so that it may be dealt with in detail by the new National Mapping Council.


MR. FYFE - I second the motion and congratulate the Sub-Committees on their work. The ground that they covered and the thorough manner in which they prepared their report are most commendable.


COLONEL FITZGERALD - I also congratulate those responsible for the compilation of this report. It is most thorough and effective and is a definite contribution to photogrammetry and cartography. The document is no valuable and so applicable to our problems that should like to have the permission of the Conference to promulgate with discretion the item of this report through my particular organisation, by so doing, I hope to get some constructive criti­cism and, I have no doubt, a considerable amount of support which I shall be pleased to submit to our National Mapping Council for further consideration.


Carried unanimously and with acclamation.



ITEM 7 - Army Map Series


MR. HAMBIDGE - When we discussed this item earlier, I do not think that we dealt with the subject of the suitability of basic maps (scales 1 mile and 4 miles to one inch) for State requirements. I now move -


Resolution No.10 :


That further discussion of Item 4 be postponed until the first meeting of the National Mapping Council.


MR. FYFE - I second the motion.


Carried unanimously.



ITEM 6 - Flying for Air Photos - Media to be used




Resolution No.11 :


That Conference having indicated that it considers the three Services competent agencies for carrying out national mapping, recommends that each Commonwealth or State authority be free to employ any competent flying agency, provided the specifications conform to the requirements of national mapping, if used for the purposes of such mapping.


MR. BARRIE - I second the motion.


MR. McCOMB - As we know, only a small part of Australia has been air photographed for national mapping purposes, and air photography for defence and national mapping purposes is very much in arrears. In view of this, is the R.A,A.F. representative able to state that the R.A.A.F. would not undertake air photography for other than defence and na­tional mapping purposes, if other suitable air photography agencies are readily available to carry out such work?


SQUADRON LEADER THOMPSON - I refer Mr. McComb to Group Captain Garing’s remarks and in addition I shall quote from an official file of the R.A.A.F. a Minute to which the Chief of the Air Staff has agreed. It is to the following effect :- First, R.A.F. facilities should be used to capacity, and secondly, in the event of the R.A.A.F. receiving demands in excess of capacity, the Depart­ment of the Interior shall be so advised as to be responsible for farming out such work to civil air lines.


MR. McCOMB - Earlier I mentioned that I considered that the following paragraph should be added to Item 6 :- (d) Commonwealth Civil Flying Organisation, as a possible agency for taking air photographs. At this stage I do not desire to speak to that paragraph, which I want included. No doubt it will be referred to later when we see what form of implementation takes place in record to the Commonwealth recently announced policy for the nationalization of air lines.


Carried unanimously.



ITEM 10 - National Repository for maps and Air Photos


MR. JOHNSTON - This subject was covered by the Commonwealth Survey Committee's Resolution No.5, which reads :


That there should be established immediately in Canberra under the aegis of the Commonwealth Surveyor-General, national repository of maps and a catalogue of air mapping photos produced by various Commonwealth Survey and mapping agencies.


That Resolution went only so far as Commonwealth surveys, but the item now under discussion goes further than that. I consider that it envisages a national repository in Canberra so that we shall have a record of the maps and air photographs of the whole of Australia. It would be a huge establishment. When I placed this item on the agenda, I had in mind what occurred in New Guinea. The Department which had all the field books, maps and records, was destroyed by bombs or captured by the enemy, and the records have been lost forever. One function of the national repository would be to preserve for all time these national records. It would be somewhat similar to the National Library here. Anyone who publishes a book in Australia is required to deposit a copy of it with the National Library.


MR. DICK - New Zealand has advanced a little in the matter of a photographic library and index. If this Conference so desires, I shall forward an outline of our scheme for recording aerial photographs, not only for depositing them as records in a national library but also for purposes of reference. The best course to adopt in Australia appears to be to have one set of records in a national library and to have sets for reference in each State so that they will be avail­able for public inspection at a fee.


MR. JOHNSTON - I think this matter could be left for consideration by the National Mapping Council.


COLONEL FITZGERALD - The proposal is rather broad. Repository of maps would be a tremendous undertaking. I refer the Conference to the Victorian co-ordination act which provides for the cataloguing of certain maps such as titles and plans, but it also allows such plans to remain with the Departments concerned.


Resolved - (On motion by Colonel Fitzgerald, seconded by Mr. Pitt).


Resolution No.12 :


That the item be deferred for consideration at the first meeting of the proposed National Mapping Council.



ITEM 11 - Survey Co-Ordination in accordance with Victorian Act


MR. JOHNSTON - This matter was considered by the Commonwealth Survey Committee, whose Resolution No.11 was as follows ‑


This Committee suggests to the Department of Post-war Recon­struction that, in regard to Item (c) of the recommenda­tions in the third report of the Rural Reconstruction Commission under the heading "Mapping and General Surveying", the States be advised that the principles of the system of survey co-ordination operating in Victoria be adopted by all States.


MR. HAMBIDGE - Legislation as wide as that introduced in Victoria is not necessary in all States. I move -


That this Conference recommends for consideration of all State Governments that have not already done so the desirability of introducing legislation for the co-ordination of surveys, and commends the Victorian Act as a basis.


MR. PITT - I second the motion.


MR. FYFE - It may not be necessary to introduce such legislation, but the principle on which it is based is sound. Although the Conference may accept the motion I cannot undertake to recommend the introduction of such legislation in W.A. immediately. The matter will be fully investigated on my return.


MR. BARRIE -I hope to see such legislation passed in New South Wales. I think Tasmania is proud of the fact that its Act is already in opera­tion whilst that of Victoria has not yet been proclaimed. We recognise the need for this co-ordination.


MR. PEARSON - The difficulty we experienced in Victoria was that practically every Department had its own staff of surveyors for its own particular work. Owing to the absence of co-ordination useful information was sometimes hidden away from Departments which could make use of it. It was thought that by having a central body plans useful to various Departments could be indexed. Although some time elapsed before the various Departments could be induced to accept the proposal, the Act was passed in 1940 but mainly owing to the war it has not yet been proclaimed. Already every Department has been voluntarily carrying out many of the provisions of the Act. The scheme was thought necessary because of the need for ready access to the maps in the various Depart­ments. Quarterly indexes will be published as the lists are furnished.


MR. PITT - The need for this co-ordination has been felt in Tasmania for many years. I found when I was an engineer that the Department had undertaken work for their own purposes but its use for other purposes had been lost. When the Victorian Act was in bill form I received a copy of it and considered it one of the best pieces of legislation I had seen. It provides for the establishment of a central registering office and all public authorities are required to register a list of their plans with that body. They do not call on each Depart­ment for a copy of its plans, but any plans we consider may be of use for other purposes are registered, and we stamp that plan in the office of the authority where it is lodged. We have a visual index and mark the areas covered by the Survey. The next principle is that the value of the plan is assessed. I think the most valuable provision is that after we have established a sufficient number of permanent marks we can proclaim an area a surveyed area. Having done that any survey made by any authority for purposes of titles must be connected to at least two permanent marks, but not until such time as the area is proclaimed a surveyed area by notice in the gazette. Where areas are not proclaimed the authority requiring to do a survey in that area must come to us for instructions as the datum to adopt, both vertical and horizontal, and we supply that information. The Tasmanian Act is working smoothly and differs only slightly from the Victorian measure. The greatest value of the co-ordination is the advantage from an engineering point of view and the facilities afforded in making topographical maps. In Tasmania we established a Survey Committee on which various Departments were represented and they all agreed that the legislation was necessary. The regulations specify the symbols to be adopted and the types of printing to be required. As far as possible I use the military symbols in our Gazette


MR. HARVEY - In 1937 the Queensland government established a Committee for the co-ordination of levels and surveys, all Departments are represented on it and it works satisfactorily. I intend to take back to my State copies of the Acts passed in Victoria and Tasmania.


MR. HAMBIDGE - The various Departments in South Australia have a large measure of co-operation and co-ordination in their activities. Copies of all surveys adopted in the Lands Office are filed in my office.




Resolution No.13 :


That this Conference recommends for consideration of all State Governments that have not already done so the desirability of introducing legislation for the co-ordina­tion of surveys, and commends the Victorian Act as a basis.



ITEM 12 - General Review of personnel required in relation to the manpower position, estimated annual cost of implementing Conference decisions


MR. HAMBIDGE - The objectives of this Conference have been very largely met in the resolutions it has carried. The desire mainly is to encourage the different Governments to carry out a programme of national mapping. I should not like it to be thought that I, as a State Surveyor-General, subscribe to the view that national mapping is the most important of the tasks that surveyors will have to perform in the postwar years. I, therefore, move –


That although this Conference considers national mapping to be of the utmost importance, it recom­mends that sufficient technical staff be made available to meet the most urgent requirements in connection with the preparation of maps and plans for postwar settlement, housing and development.


MR. BARRIE - Where are these technical officers to be obtained? Should we not be a little more specific? Are we asking that they shall be released from the Services? If we can obtain the sympathy of the Services in the release of men who are not actively engaged on the particular work for which their training fits them, we shall make a big step towards resolving many of our worries.


MR. HAMBIDGE - My idea is that those who can be spared from necessary war activities should be released from the Services. I would not for a moment suggest the release of any technical staff required for the prosecution of the war. I had no intention of embarrassing the Services but merely aimed at recording the realisation of this Conference that other services apart from national mapping will have to be performed. I shall be quite happy to accept any alteration of the motion which will give expression to that view and will suit the Services. I consider that national mapping is of the utmost importance.


COL. FITZGERALD - explained the position from the viewpoint of the Army.


MR. FYFE - In Western Australia every surveyor or draftsman of military age has been released to help the Services, and the present attitude is to regard the winning of the war as the first objective. At the same time, we emphasise that we have difficulties in preparing for the postwar period. I have no doubt that, as soon as the war position permits, the Services will meet our requirements as fully as they can, and without loss of time,


MR. HAMBIDGE - Having heard the confidential explanation given by Col. Fitzgerald, I ask leave to withdraw my motion.


Motion - by leave - withdrawn.


MR. JOHNSTON - I should be glad if the representatives of the States could give some idea of what steps they propose to take with a view to having the decisions of Conference implemented.


MR. HARVEY - The natural thing would be for each Surveyor-General to make a report on the Conference to his Minister, with, possibly, whatever recommendations he considered desirable. If these were acceptable to his Government, they could be sent to the Commonwealth Government through the usual channels.


MR. JOHNSTON - I suggest that each Surveyor-General do his utmost to expedite the matter.


MR. BARRIE - Any support which the Commonwealth authorities could give to whatever recommendations we might make, would be helpful.


MR. JOHNSTON - You would like us to secure the concurrence of the Commonwealth Government in principle, and then approach the States individually for an expression of their attitude? Even if that were done, the wise course would be to have the matter submitted concurrently to the Governments of the States. I want to avoid the loss of valuable time.


MR. FYFE - I intend to submit to the Minister for Lands a report embodying the resolutions of the Conference, emphasising the value of it from a national and State point of view, and indicating what action the State should take. The State Government thus will be enabled to view the position clearly and to consider an approach by the Prime Minister for co-operation when it arrives.





MR. JOHNSTON - The Conference should record its appreciation of various persons and Departments that have been extremely helpful in making the Conference the success which I consider it has been.


I think you will agree that we have been accommodated in ideal conditions in the National Parliament. We have to thank Mr. Edwards, the Clerk of the Senate, for having made these luxurious Senate Committee rooms available to us.


I pay a tribute to the wonderful service that has been rendered by the four members of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Reporting Staff in providing a record of our deliberations. With the assistance of expert typists they have produced the report expeditiously, and the duplication of it has been done at the Department of the Interior. We should record a special vote of thanks to them.


A specific reference must be made to the Secretary. Mr. Rogers has done a job of such merit as we would expect from a man who at one time was the Secretary of the Surveyors' Institute in New South Wales.


The whole of the staff of my branch have helped me to their utmost capacity, and I have received all the assistance that I required.


I invite the Conference to carry by acclamation a very hearty vote of thanks to those whom I have mentioned.


The vote was carried by acclamation.



MR. DICK - I wish to record the pleasure I have experienced at the personal contacts I have made at this Conference. I believe that those whom I have met will be life-long friends of mine. The experience has been a wonderful one for me. My knowledge has been broadened, and I shall return to New Zealand with some very fine impressions, not only of the people whom I have met, but also of the problems that Australia has to face. The absence of friction between the representatives of the Services, the Commonwealth Government, and the Governments of the States, and the harmony that has prevailed throughout the proceedings, have given me keen delight. The unanimous adoption of every resolution is a remarkable achievement. I hope that you will be able to carry your national project to a completion within a reasonable time and have an opportunity to issue maps and surveys that will prove valuable in any postwar reconstruction undertaking. I shall have much pleasure in accepting the invitation of the representatives of the Services to inspect in Melbourne, the work that they are doing and the equipment that they have. I thank you all, and hope that in the future I shall have the pleasure of meeting-you again, perhaps in New Zealand.


MR. BARRIE - It is fitting that we should record a vote of thanks to our Chairman. During the Conference we have been impressed by the amount of preparation that must have been made. I can visualise Mr. Johnston and his staff burning the midnight oil. His conduct of our proceedings has been to our entire satisfaction. Probably delegates assembled with some feelings of trepidation for fear that antagonisms would develop, but as the Conference proceeded, the official was lost sight of in the man. We have got to know one another not as State or Commonwealth officers or as representatives of the Fighting Services, but as men anxious to do a good job in the interests of the nation. I fear that at times the Chairman's patience has been tried, but as we leave for our homes we shall carry with us only happy recollections of our stay in Canberra. We shall remember the happy associations that we have made in a well planned and well conducted Conference. I am particularly pleased that New Zealand has been represented at the Conference. I pay a special tribute to the work of the Sub-Committees and compliment the Chairman on his vision in proposing that certain important matters be referred to Sub-Committees. The success which has attended their efforts is a tribute not only to the members of the Committees but also to the organising capacity of the Chairman of the Conference. I am grateful to the officers of my own State for their assistance, and I think that I speak for other Surveyors­'-General when I include the officers who accompanied them. I also thank those who were responsible for our accommodation. Not only have we been comfortable but we have enjoyed good fare. It is perhaps unnecessary to say that we have all been interested in our capital city. As Surveyors we have been impressed by the planning that is so much in evidence here. We are grateful to you, Mr. Chairman, for your guidance and the patience that you have exhibited, attributes which have had much to do with the success of our gathering.


COLONEL FITZGERALD - I support the remarks of Mr. Barrie. He has covered the ground so comprehensively and has expressed so well the views of us all that I shall not repeat what he has said, except to say that I heartily endorse his remarks. The earnestness of the Chairman and his determination to reach his objective have impressed us; he is a man who has clear-cut objectives and intends to reach them, and I am sure that he will leave this Conference with a feeling of satisfaction at its achievements. That applies to all of us, for I am sure that we all are gratified that we have accomplished so much and are hopeful that in the near future we shall see some fruits of our labours. Speaking on behalf of representatives of the Fighting Services, and, I think, also for other Commonwealth Departments, I can say that we expected to encounter some obstacles. Probably the representatives of the States had similar expectations. We did, in fact, meet with obstacles, but the happy spirit of co-operation which has pervaded our deliberations has enabled us to overcome them. The purpose of the Conference was to achieve greater co-ordination and co-operation between various authorities, and the spirit in which we have met has enabled us to make good progress in that direction.


MR. JOHNSTON - I am almost overwhelmed by the remarks that have been passed, but I accept them, not so much as a tribute to myself, as to the cause that we represent. It is true, as Colonel Fitzgerald has said, that I am devoted to that cause. It could scarcely be otherwise; because at the age of 15 years I commenced work as a draftsman in Western Australia and I have been associated with draftsmanship and surveying ever since. Any success which the Conference has achieved is due to its personnel. In this connection I pay tribute to the representatives of the Navy, the Army, and the Air Force. We have had evidence of the wonderful work that they have performed in New Guinea and elsewhere under the most trying conditions, and the fact that senior officers of the Services have spared the time to attend this Conference is evidence of the importance that they attach to surveying and mapping.


The representatives of the Commonwealth Departments of Civil Aviation end Post-war Reconstruction have also made valuable contributions to our discussions. That a considerable measure of success has attended our efforts is a matter for astonishment seeing that, in addition to representatives of Commonwealth Departments, the combined wisdom of nine Surveyors’-General has been directed to finding a solution of the problems that have confronted us. We are grateful too for the help which the Chief Draftsmen of our Departments have given to us.


Ordinarily, evening meetings such as we have had this week do not form part of a Conference but I wish to include them in my remarks. We are grateful to Mr. Eric Pyko of the Civil Aviation Department, Captain Frank Follett of Adastra Airways Pty. Ltd., Mr. Van Asch of New Zealand Aerial Mapping Ltd., and Mr. Dick, the Surveyor-General of New Zealand, for their interesting and inform­ative addresses. The evening series dovetailed into the work of the Conference and enabled the professional officers of Canberra to share in some degree in the proceedings of the Conference.


I should like also to refer to the speech of the Minister for the Interior, Senator Collings, when opening the Conference. Delegates will remember that he referred to the altruistic motives actuating us. We are pleased that the Minister recognised that our only object in coming together was to provide the people of Australia with the best mapping service possible. I appreciate the remarks that have been made, and in declaring the Conference concluded, I wish delegates a safe and comfortable journey to their homes.


The Conference concluded.




Appendix A



Report of the Combined sub-Committees on

Photogrammetry and Cartography


It is desired to report that the sub-Committees appointed to consider the approved Terms of Reference on the subjects of (a) Photogrammetry and (b) Cartography have completed their deliberations.


As a preliminary to the actual business, it was unanimously resolved -


"That the two sub-committees on Photogrammetry and Cartography combine under the chairmanship of Dr. M.R. Jacobs, and that Messrs. Booth and E.P. Bayliss act as minute secretaries for the Photo­grammetric and Cartographic sub-committees respect­ively."


After due consideration of the various items in the agenda, the following opinions and recommendations are submitted :


(a) Photography and Photogrammetry


1)  General

The success of the application of photogrammetric methods to mapping in Australia will depend on the amount and quality of the horizontal and vertical ground control present. The sub-committee, therefore, recommends that the geodetic survey of all parts of Australia for which it is intended to prepare topographical maps be pushed forward as rapidly as possible.


As regards several aspects of photogrammetry set out in the terms of reference, it is considered that it is inadvisable to attempt a complete answer at present. It must be borne in mind that equipment and methods that will be available after the war may largely supersede those known in the past. Any recommendations made by this sub-committee on questions of equipment are, therefore, in respect of machines known by repute or by experience to date.


In view of the points raised in the previous paragraphs the sub-committee recommends that caution be exercised in the purchase of photogrammetric equipment until exhaustive enquiries have been made regarding most recent developments. It is recommended that such enquiries be made in Australia and overseas at the earliest possible moment. Pending the results of these enquiries, it is recommended that developments be limited as far as is practicable to organisations already fully equipped or to areas for which maps are immediately required.


2)  With regard to item (a) of the terms of reference –


"What types of photogrammetric equipment are suggested for various types of maps needed in Australia, and whether equipment readily procurable."


The major problems in regard to plotting from aerial photographs is the determination of contours in topographical maps. The standard 1 mile to an inch topographical map, as produced by the Army, meets most civil requirements, but topographical maps at larger scales are required for various civil purposes.


The problem of plotting contours from aerial photographs has not been completely solved by any country in the world or by the use of any equipment evolved to date. All present equipment appears to have certain disadvantages and involves fairly lengthy processes unless ample horizontal and vertical ground control is available. The most rapid, but not necessarily the most economic, method of contouring would appear to be by using the Zeiss Stereoplanagraph, the Wild A6 machines, or the “Multiplex” Aeroprojector if ground control is available for each overlap.


If 4 or 5 control points for each overlap are provided, an accuracy of 15 ft. in the vertical and .02 inches at the reproduction scale in the horizontal can be obtained, in the case of a photo-scale of 1:16,000. Such ground control is not available in Australia at present, except in closely settled areas. If control points are more scattered, contours can still be plotted by different methods of bridging between control points, but results are then more liable to error.


It is considered that reference should be made to the Cambridge Stereocomparator. This machine is suitable for aerial triangulation by analytical methods and for bridging between points of horizontal and vertical ground control. For the first of these purposes the machine is not likely to be superseded. It can be used successfully for contouring also, requiring height control at intervals of approximately 5 miles.


3)  With regard to item (b) of the terms of reference –


"Extent of ground control, type of photography, and photo scale, etc. recommended for the various types of maps envisaged in (a)."


The statement set out below is offered is an indication in regard to such matters as can be commented on.


As a basis for discussion, three types of project have been assumed of which the first two are described in terms of the type of country involved.


In regard to control points, it is necessary in general for 4 to 6 points to be provided on every overlap. These points may require to be provided by ground survey or may be derived from a skeleton ground control by use of bridging methods depending on the instruments available.


           (i)      Outback areas - Photoscale : 1:25,000 and smaller.

Ground control : This can be reduced to a minimum and can
largely be in the form of astro-fixes, up to 50 miles apart.


Methods : For the smaller scales, trimetrogon procedure. For other cases, vertical photography with radial line graphic or Template plotting.


Contour Interval : Not likely to be closer than 100' V.I.


          (ii)      More settled areas – Photoscale : 1:25,000 and larger.

Ground control : Density and quality depending upon plotting equipment and procedure.


Photography Vertical : Single lens (wide and/or normal angles).


Plotting : Automatic universal plotting machines - To bridge gaps in control, primary types such as Wild A5, or the U.S. modified "Multiplex".


To plot detailed topography secondary types such as Wild A6 and/or Multiplex.


Graphical & Computational methods of plotting -

Radial-line plotting, with Templates of various types;

Radial-triangulation (computed minor control-points) involving some form of stereo-comparator.


Contours - General work 50' V.I. with a few cases of closer intervals, say to 20'.


         (iii)      Engineering projects – Photoscale : 1:15,000 up to 1:5,000 (possible even larger)


Ground control : Specially provided for the job.


Photography : Vertical and specialised oblique (including photo-theodolite).


Plotting - As for 8 (b) above, but to greater refine­ment, involving, in addition, complete analytical methods (e.g., with instruments of the type of the Cambridge stereocomparator.)


Contours : From 25' to 3' depending on scale of photographs and on the plotting instruments utilised.


With regard to the above statement, where instruments and specifications are mentioned, attention is particularly directed to the second paragraph under the heading “General”


4)  With regard to item (c) of terms of reference –


"Limits of accuracy end results which can be achieved (including contours) when equipment and methods embodied in (a) and (b) are employed”.


The only comment the sub-committee can make is included in paragraphs (2) and (3) above.


5)  With regard to item (d) of terms of reference -


“Approximate costs of the various types of photogrammetry equipment referred to in (a).”


The following information is submitted -



Approx. cost


Lens type stereoscope

10/- to £3

Yes, (Australia)

Mirror Stereoscopes (in case)

£10 to 250

Yes, (Australia)

Fairchild Stereo‑comparagraph


} No

Abrams Contour finder


} recent

Zeiss Plotting Stereometer


} information

Cambridge Parallax bar


} available

Cambridge Stereocomparator


Doubtful (England)

Multiplex Aeroprojector 9 head


Doubtful (U.S.A.

Wild Autograph A6


Yes (Switzerland

Wild Autograph A5


Yes (Switzerland

Zeiss Steroplanigraph


Doubtful (Germany)

Calculating Machine (Double barrel)


Yes (Various)



Yes (U.S.A. & U.K.)



Yes (U.S.A. & U.K.)

Sketchmaster, vertical and oblique


Yes (can be made in Aust.)


6)  With regard to item (e) of terms of reference –


"Approximate costs per square mile of photogrammetric mapping for the various types of maps needed ­costs to be given under headings of -

                            (i)           Ground control

                          (ii)           Air photography

                         (iii)           Map compilation and reproduction”.


The question of the cost of photogrammetric mapping is one on which the most indefinite information is available. It is considered that a reliable figure cannot be arrived at for any undertaking unless it has been in operation continuously for one or two years. The following figures are supplied more to demonstrate the variability of available information than for their value as an indication of likely cost.


Available Costs


Extract from Review by Burton Wallace Collins of “Air Photography and Geology” by R. W. Willett - Published in Bulletin of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists - November 1944.


"One of the most valuable parts of the paper under review is a section on the costs of air surveys. Willett here gathers from the literature at his disposal some figures on the cost per square mile of air surveys in various countries, which may be summarised as follows:


United States - Board of Surveys and Maps, proposal to map some 2,200,000 square miles, final topographic map to be of scale 1:62,000, with 20-foot contours, estimate $54 a square mile (£10.5 per square mile).


Northern Rhodesia - 65,000 square miles mapped, scale 1:.250,560, cost £1 per square mile.


South America - 400,000 square miles mapped, scale 1:50,000, 25 meter contours, cost £3.8 per square mile. (Cost of similar topographic map by normal ground methods estimated at about £40 per square mile.)


Norway - Cost of air survey 40 per cent less than that of other methods.


Australia - Aerial, geological, and geophysical survey of Northern Australia by Commonwealth government (1934-1937), cost £1.8 per square mile.


New Zealand - Glenorchy Subdivision, 300 square miles, total cost of photography, reduction of photographs, and ground control, £2.1 per square mile. Topographic map produced on scale of 15 chains to the inch (1:11,880 with 1,000-foot contours. (Minimum cost by normal ground survey about £2.7 per square mile.)"


The following additional figures give some indication of costs to be expected in Australia:


Mapping without contours but showing road and timber classifications with aneroid spot heights (Queensland) : £2/10/- per sq.mile


Private contract quotes to Queensland Lands Dept. for flying and photography : £1/10/- per sq.mile


Contouring from Air Photos plus some plotting (based on Mr. Dick's statement for Fiji) : £5/10/- per sq.mile


It is considered that information regarding man hours and output should be requested from the Defence Forces.


(7)        With regard to item (f) of Terms of Reference -


"Approximate times involved in mapping envisaged in (a)."


The Sub-Committee is of the opinion that an estimate cannot be given at present.


(8)    The Sub-Committee also submits the following additional observations:


           (i)      That consideration should be given to the laying down of flying and photographic specifications that will be appropriate to the degree of accuracy required for topographical maps and/or land use purposes.


          (ii)      That in the interests of co-ordinating the aims of mapping authorities, it is for all topographical maps produced from aerial photographs to meet a specified degree of accuracy, and that it is desirable that specifications of such accuracy be determined and adopted generally. Further, it is desirable that each published map should bear some certification of its accuracy, and that methods should be adopted for testing the accuracy of topographical maps.

Attention is invited to action taken in U.S.A. to secure the above aims, reports on such action being published in the Journal of the American Society of Photogrammetry "Photogrammetric Engineering" in its two issues dated Jan.1940, p.45, and July 1944, p.206.


         (iii)      That it is desirable for uniformity to be secured in the use of Photogrammetric terms, and for provision to be made for the definition of such terms by a competent body. Attention is invited to the work of the Air Survey Committee in England, the American Society of Photogrammetry in and the Multilingual Dictionary for Photogrammetry.


         (iv)      That in determining the photo-scale to be specified for any major photographic project, the possible value of the photographs for land-use as well as cartographic purposes should be considered.


          (v)      That consideration be given to the establishment under the control of the nation of a photogrammetric laboratory housing instruments of the highest class for evaluating photographs, for calibrating cameras and other equipment, including navigation aids used in the taking of photographs, and equipment associated with problems of ground control. Such a laboratory should include a research Department.


         (vi)      That the general question of the training and qualifications of photogrammetric personnel be taken up at a future conference.


 (b) Cartography


(1)    As a preliminary to the implementation of the following recommendations, it appears advisable that modern equipment should be obtained for the precise geographical fixation of points of origin, and the verification of the plumb line by the latest geophysical methods. Also that action be taken to determine a figure of the earth suitable for Australia.


(2)    The existence of a trigonometrical survey, adequately connected to the cadastral survey is a pre-requisite to the construction of maps to a degree of accuracy that will satisfy any demands. This sub-committee therefore recommends that the completion of trigono­metrical surveys in each of the States be treated as a matter of extreme urgency.


(3)    This sub-committee is of the opinion that from the point of view of National Survey and Mapping it is not desirable that topographical information be embodied in the existing cadastral maps, and that the introduction of a basic compilation is desirable, from which may be prepared and published topographical and/or cadastral maps, such basic compilation being based on a geodetic survey.


(4)    It is the opinion of this sub-committee that Military Survey information, including photographs, manuscripts and maps, can be utilised for State topographical mapping requirements.


(5)    This sub-committee is of the opinion that topographical maps on scales larger than 1 mile to 1 inch are required for many purposes, including :


Road locations

Irrigation and water conservation

Topographical maps in steep country

Soil erosion and stream control

Geological and geophysical surveys

Hydroelectric schemes


Town Planning, etc.


(6)    This sub-committee recommends that it is most desirable that a uniform projection be adopted by the States for the preparation of similar types of maps in each State.

The Transverse Mercator projection in the zones used by the Army is strongly recommended for adoption by all the States for larger scale sheet maps.


(7)    It is the opinion of this sub-committee that the relative merits of the Mercator and Lambert Conformal projections, particularly in the preparation of Aeronautical maps, is a matter that concerns aerial navigation, and could be more adequately decided by reference to the Aeronautical Mapping Committee.


(8)    This sub-committee is of the opinion that all future topographical maps should have the military grid superimposed, but for cadastral maps the grid with values should be confined to the margin.


(9)    It is the opinion of this sub-committee that all topographical maps shall have geographical sheet lines and that geographical intersections shall be shown on cadastral maps.


(10)  In view of the desirability of effecting standard­isation of conventional signs, distinguishing boundaries, colour printing, and lettering styles, it is suggested that the Surveyors-General of the several States and of the Commonwealth be requested to forward particulars of all such matters as used by official map producing agencies within their various spheres of influence to the Commonwealth Surveyor-General for collation, with a view to effecting, in collaboration with the States, a maximum degree of standardisation.


(11)  This sub-committee is of the opinion that the most satisfactory method of showing relief on topographical maps is by contours (or in default, form lines). Nevertheless, in the absence of sufficient information relating to altitudes it is considered that the use of hachures or other forms of hill shading may be tolerated.

It is recommended that the necessary height control and aerial photographs providing information for the presentation of contours on topographical maps be obtained with the greatest expedition. It is suggested that 1/1000th of the denominator of the representative fraction, with subdivision's in very flat country and excision in very steep country be adopted as the contour interval for topographical maps.


(12)  This sub-committee is of the opinion that some uniform system of training of cartographical and survey draftsman under articles or indenture to the Surveyor-General - Commonwealth or State - for a minimum period of 4 years be instituted.

It is also strongly recommended that a portion of this period (6 months) should be spent in the field under a licensed Surveyor.

This would enable a uniformity of drafting practice and would maintain the general educational and professional standing of draftsmen.


(13)  This sub-committee strongly recommends that reproductions of maps and plans be carried out by the most up-to-date methods of photography and lithography, and that standard weights and qualities of lithographic printing paper should he procured for reproduction purposes.


(14)  It is the opinion of this sub-committee that contacts with national and international authorities be maintained and extended in order to keep abreast of latest developments.