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    Horizontal Control Surveys

    Aerodist Ground Marking

  • During the period 1966-70 Natmap Aerodist groundmarking field parties operated in the Northern Territory, Western Australia, New South Wales and Queensland. The advance establishment of Aerodist survey control stations enabled the Aerodist measuring party to subsequently proceed with maximum efficiency. Swiss surveyor August Jenny spent 1968 and 1969 with Natmap where his field work was with groundmarking parties. August has now documented the events of both the 1968 and 1969 Groundmarking field seasons in great detail, providing an insight into this scheme that has been somewhat lost within the overall context of the Aerodist program. The writing of these accounts has been assisted by information provided by Laurie McLean, Rom Vassil, Blythe Osborne, Oystein Berg, Andrew Turk, and John Manning.

  • This paper covers ground marking for Aerodist from 1963-1974, in the years before and after 1968-69 already documented by August Jenny. The information was extracted from what little documentation exists and the personal recollections of Laurie McLean, Carl McMaster, Dave Abreu, Lawrie O'Connor, Simon Cowling, Rom Vassil, Murray Porteous and Syd Kirkby. Their contribution is greatly appreciated.

    The paper includes the following Annexure and zoomable maps to provide a diagrammatic summary.

      Annexure A : Aerodist control station establishment from 1963 to 1974 depicted by annual progress.

      Map A : the 1971 map of the National Geodetic Survey (NM/MISC/71/018) has been updated to reflect the complete 1963-74 Aerodist program and overlaid with the locations of Aerodist control stations. Stations established by private sector survey companies under contract are shown in green, those by discrete ground marking parties in red and those by the Aerodist measuring party (plus a few stations established by other Nat Map parties) in blue. In addition to the control stations specifically established for or by National Mapping for Aerodist, two existing State survey stations, three lighthouses, four stations marked by the Naval Hydrographer, one Aerodist station marked by the Royal Australian Survey Corps, and two stations marked by MA Nicholas and Associates, were occupied during Aerodist line measuring operations. MA Nicholas had previously been a surveyor with National Mapping in the late 1950s-early 1960s. These twelve existing survey stations were subsequently included during the relevant block adjustment. In the offshore area of Port Hedland, Western Australia, the twenty-four Aerodist trilateration lines are shown.

      Map B : the 1980 map showing the boundaries of the Aerodist Block Adjustments (NMP/80/054) overlaid with the locations of all Aerodist control stations. The relationship of a station to its block is readily seen.

      Map C : the first and lower order geodetic networks of Australia integrated with a topographic base map. This composite map is then overlaid with the locations of the established Aerodist control stations and their numbers or in the Great Barrier Reef area their names.

    Photos of 1966-72 Groundmarking activities have been supplied by Peter Langhorne, Peter Hocking, Terry Douglas, Ian Ogilvie, Lawrie O'Connor, Murray Porteous and Dave Abreu and used to supplement those of August, Laurie McLean and Oystein Berg. The complete album can be viewed here . Everyone's contribution is greatly appreciated.

Aerodist Measuring

  • National Mapping's Aerodist surveys between 1963 and 1974 provided horizontal control for 1:100 000 scale mapping over slightly more than half Australia and extended the survey network to various reefs and islands. The following papers describe the Aerodist program and its progress.

    • The Aerodist airborne distance measuring system was used by Nat Map between 1963 and 1974 to obtain horizontal ground control for the 1:100,000 scale national topographic map series. Laurie McLean has prepared this extensive article on Nat Map's Aerodist years in consultation with many of the Nat Mappers who were involved in the Aerodist program from up to over half a century ago. The article incorporates many of these Nat Mappers' recollections.

    • National Mapping's Aerodist Surveys in Western Australia 1971-74 is the text that supported a presentation John Manning gave at the Power of Maps conference hosted by the Australian and New Zealand Map Society and the Mapping Sciences Institute of Australia. The conference was held at the National Library of Australia, Canberra during 30 April-1 May 2015. This text was prepared by Laurie McLean and John Manning and describes the Division of National Mapping's Aerodist field surveys in Western Australia in the context of the history and progress of Australia's national topographic mapping coverage. The authors gratefully acknowledge the generous assistance of Paul Wise who prepared the various Aerodist diagrams in this article and provided other useful resource material. (An edited version of this paper was published in The Globe, Number 78, pages 25-42, circa October 2015. The Globe is the journal of the Australian and New Zealand Map Society Inc.)

    • Publicity brochure Aerodist - an airborne Tellurometer system courtesy Bill Stuchbery.

    • Joe Lines paper Aerodist in Australia, 1963-64 of 1966 describes the early development and testing of the Aerodist system.

    • Director Bruce Lambert's 1965 paper Report on Aerodist Surveys carried out by the Australian Division of National Mapping since 1963 was presented at the International Association of Geodesy, Electromagnetic Distance Measurement Symposium, held In Oxford under the auspices of Special Study Group No. 19, 6-11 September 1965, the full proceedings of which are available here. Bruce's paper provides an overview of the accuracy attained by Natmap's Aerodist at the time.

    • Director Bruce Lambert's 1967 paper The Use of Aerodist for filling in between Tellurometer Traverse Loops, was presented at the Conference of Commonwealth Survey Officers, Cambridge. Bruce's paper outlines the results of a number of investigations relating to National Mapping's use of Aerodist for providing mapping control.

    • Len Turner summarised Aerodist survey activity to 1967 in his 1967 paper Aerodist Operations in Australia.

    • Carl McMaster's 1980 Technical Report 27 Division of National Mapping Aerodist Program summarises the complete program.

    • Instructions to Aerodist remote field party members :

  • Application of Aerodist Measuring Equipment to Mapping Control explains the Royal Australian Survey Corps' employment of 3 Channel Aerodist equipment in Papua and New Guinea during the period 1964-66.

  • The Royal Australian Survey Corps Aerodist Years, 1964-1975 by Peter Jensen describes their use of Aerodist to provide control for 1: 100 000 scale topographic mapping in the difficult terrain and environmental conditions of Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and northern Australia.

  • Canada was the only other country to operationally use Aerodist in its survey control program. This paper Aerodist in Geodetic Surveying in Canada provides details of its programs and accuracy obtained to 1967.

  • A program for a week of 1970 Aerodist field movements/operations by Party Leader John Manning, courtesy Ian Ogilvie, is here. It has been enhanced for reading the old 'carbon' copy.
  • The Aerodist Centre Party field diary for 1973 has been supplied by Frank Johnston and can be viewed here. Frank's report on the 1973 survey in the eastern Archipelago of the Recherche, off southern Western Australia, is available via this link (note that the mentioned attachments are not available)