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Welcome to XNATMAP

A site for preserving NATMAP's (The Division of National Mapping) history and maintaining contact with the people who were part of that history.
As the Australian Landsat Station (ALS), later the Australian Centre for Remote Sensing (ACRES) was part of the Division its history also forms part of this site.

    What's New as of 7 January 2024
    Hover over a title for a synopsis or click associated Item tag for its manuscript

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        Reginald Philip (Reg) Kearns (1948-2023)
        Reg Kearns worked with National Mapping's Melbourne and Dandenong offices from 1972 to 1984 as a Field Assistant and (from 1976) as a Technical Assistant. Initially Reg was engaged on Aerodist field surveys for topographic mapping control and later on various other field surveys including aerial photography as well as mainly office-based topographic map revision and map compilation work. For this article Laurie McLean worked with Reg's wife Jenny and some of Reg's Nat Map colleagues to provide a tribute to Reg Kearns.

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        The Cartographic Sandbagger, or, Mapping a Norwegian Blue
        An article courtesy of Dr Brendan Whyte of the National Library of Australia, on a map/chart used as a prop, in the Yorkshire Television produced 1978-1980, British spy drama television series The Sandbaggers. The episode mentioned may be viewed via this YouTube link and a full resolution version of the 1989, 13th edition of the chart may be viewed via this link. Citation : Whyte, Brendan (2023), The Cartographic Sandbagger, or, Mapping a Norwegian Blue, The Globe, No.94, pp.57-70.

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        Formulae for Geodetic Computations on a Spheroid : Some History
        Over small areas the Earth may be considered a plane and the angles of a triangle in that plane add to 180 degrees. Over larger areas the Earth's curvature cannot be ignored and the angles of a triangle on such a curved surface add to more than 180 degrees. Also the Sine rule relating the sides and angles of a plane triangle is no longer valid on a curved surface. This paper by Paul Wise provides a brief history of moving from plane to spheroidal computations and the formulae that were developed to achieve the positional accuracy required.

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

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

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


      • Previously in What's New
      • Major Programs & Related : enables direct access to the information on the listed topics.
      • Information on map reading and interpretation, specifically for Natmap medium scale topographic maps, can be found in
        Natmap’s Topographic Maps : a guide to map reading and Notes on Map Reading by Reg Ford and Bob Goldsworthy.
      • Available National Mapping Technical Reports and Special Publications.
      • Resources page.

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

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