23rd FIG General Assembly, Prague 2000


Report for the 23rd General Assembly

FIG Working Week in Prague, 22-26 May 2000

International Institution for the History of Surveying and Measurement

Since the General Assembly in Sun City the officers have met three times in London on 16 July and 1 October 1999 and 28 January 2000.

  • The Struve Geodetic Arc. Progress has been slow but that was expected. The appropriate departments of all ten countries involved have now been circulated with detailed requirements before any submission can be made to UNESCO. It is still hoped that the submission can be made during 2000 but that depends on the responses from all the countries. The expectation is that each will be able to preserve at least two points but those with a large number might wish to have rather more. Whilst at the Archives of the Academy of Sciences in St Petersburg a Russian colleague has identified in 10,000 files many papers by Struve concerning the work on the arc. If sufficient funds become available it is hoped that in due course these records may be put onto CD ROM and hence become more widely available for researchers. Efforts are being made to encourage representatives from each of the ten countries through which the Struve Arc passes to meet in Prague on Sunday 21 March 2000 after the special Historical Symposium.
  • The FIG History exhibition originally mounted for the Brighton Congress, and since produced on CD ROM, is available for purchase and display by any interested society or national organisation. (please contact David Wallis on e-mail WallisConsult@compuserve.com for purchase details). To date it has been seen or acquired by Switzerland, UK, Belgium, South Africa, Netherlands and Korea.
  • Reprints of important texts. Preparations are in hand to reprint 1,000 copies of the early book of land surveying - John Love's Geodesia, 1st edition of 1688. which will sell at $50 a copy. Enquiries to David Wallis on above e-mail address.
  • Director Jan de Graeve and John Brock (Australia) organised a special seminar on the History of Surveying during the 6th South East Asian Surveying Congress in Freemantle, Australia in December 1999.
  • Symposium in Prague. In Prague on 21 May 2000 there will be a History of Surveying symposium and an Historical Instrument exhibition organised by Czech colleagues.
  • For 2001 preparations are in hand to mount a special exhibition and symposium in Brussels. In addition efforts are being made to attach a symposium commemorating l'abbe de La Caille to the CONSAS gathering in Cape Town during March. It would mark the 250th anniversary of his arc measurement in that locality.
  • Requests have appeared in the FIG Bulletin for National Organisations to nominate corresponding members to the Institution but as yet the response has not been great. The offer is renewed here for interested persons around the world to offer their services via their national adhering body.
  • A Web site is being prepared and it is hoped that it will be in operation later in 2000. This will contain a wide range of information including details of some of the smaller activities that might nevertheless be of interest to a wide audience. Included here would be details of the "Millennium Measure" of a 2000 mms column to be unveiled in London in May; the display of micro-mapping and the investigations into a unique astronomical theodolite of the 1930s.
  • Washington 2002. Recently material written by the late Joe Dracup of the USA has come to hand and efforts are being made to use it as the basis of an exhibition for the Congress. It could also result in the production of a book from his manuscript but that would require considerable assistance from American colleagues.

Jan De Graeve
Director, International Institution for the History of Surveying and Measurement
Tel + 32 2 268 1025
Fax + 32 2 262 1033

James R Smith
Email: 101765.332@compuserve.com

29 February 2000

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