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Celebrating 60 Years of Surveyors in Antarctica

13 November 2018

For 60 years New Zealand years surveyors have been continually involved in the Antarctic. This week, Survey and Spatial NZ and the Antarctic Society have joined together for a 60 year celebration running from the first Government Surveying and Geological expedition in 1957-1958.

Bill Robertson organizer of the events and long-term member of the Antarctic Society says, “Over this time NZ surveyors and mappers have made a substantial contribution to the scientific exploration of the Ross Dependency. Through NZ membership of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) Standing Committee on Geographic Information there has been very good international collaboration.

This has included the joint 1:50,000 Antarctic mapping programmes and the collaborative Geographic Names Programme with the United States Geological Survey (USGS). A feature of the former was the epic aerial photography mission flown to the Antarctic by NZ Aerial Mapping in 1993 to provide new vertical aerial photography over 21,000 square kilometres of the Ross Dependency. There was also good cooperation with the Italians when they established their base at Terra Nova Bay and the provision of aerial photography there also. During all these years NZ surveying and aerial mapping personal worked in the moat challenging of environments and achieved results New Zealand can be very proud of.”

The first celebration is a talk at Victoria University by Peter Otway, Antarctic Surveyor. Peter will share his experiences of exploring the Transantarctic Mountains by dog sledge. These were gained during two seasons in a 4-man geological and survey party, wintering over at Scott Base and looking after 60 dogs and their pups. This talk commences 5.30pm, Thursday 15th November.

The second event is an Antarctic Surveyors Celebration Dinner where surveyors from around the country will be attending along with special guest, the German Ambassador to NZ, Gerhard Thiedemann.

Mark Dyer, CEO of Survey and Spatial NZ says he is delighted that Ambassador Thiedemann will be joining us at this important celebration. It is acknowledgement of how important the involvement of both New Zealand and German surveyors and researchers has been in the Antarctic. Germany runs one of the most modern polar research stations worldwide – the Alfred-Wegener-Institute (AWI).

The Antarctic Surveyors Celebration Dinner starts at 7pm at The Wellington Club, 88 The Terrace, Wellington and the Sir Holmes Miller Memorial Lecture: Mapping with dogs and theodolite in the Transarctic Mountains in the Early 1960s talk by Peter Otway is at the Victoria University’s Old Wooden Building Campus, Lambton Quay at 5.30pm.


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