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Nov 2005 | Comments Off on Your Coordinates


India needs a 21st century Indian Geodetic System

I had the pleasure of reading Mr Muneendra Kumar’s article that described about publishing two series of maps by Survey of India (SoI). Some more developments are necessary in SoI to keep up with technological developments and the needs of the country.SOI was the first in the world to design the Everest Spheroid. It met the requirement of that period as the region of interest was limited. Now the country has capability for launching satellites, it uses GPS systems, has long range missile capability etc. Hence it is appropriate that the country switches over to International Spheroid/ ellipsoid. A considerable effort will be required to be put in before the switch over to the new proposed spheroid. It will take considerable time as well. Hence all the more essential that it is taken up without further delay.

VS Dave
Ex Director SOI, USA

We ex-SOI geodesy and mapping professionals strongly believe that the time is here that India defines and establishes a new 21st century Indian Geodetic System (IGS) to replace 19th century Indian Datum. Modernization of IGS will eliminate the current huge handicap and position India’s vast Geospatial Information Technology community at the competitive advantage in delivering and using reliable high quality geomatics and mapping services far more cost efficiently and rapidly than is now possible. The new IGS should have been established years before to enable scientific, professional, and user community to take full advantage of all new and current technological developments and position Indian community among the leaders in the field. Establishment of a new IGS should no longer be delayed.

Y P Singh
President, eInfoways

Everest: The mounting dilemma

I have been browsing some of the pages of the new journal Coordinates issue no. 4. The only piece that I have printed off is that about the Height of Mount Everest. Could I just make a plea to the Editor – that to print white on black in the way it was done here makes it very difficult to read (as well as wasteful in black ink for those who print it off).

From time to time we see printed journals over here where the contents are superimposed on to a multi-colour photograph. Often part of the text is illegible because of the choice of colour for printing.

With reference to the Everest article, the question about snow/ice thickness at the surface is a never ending one. Is there no gadget available that can be placed on the surface of the snow/ice to determine the depth to rock surface by a form of sounding? Surely in this technological age that must be possible.

One other small point you might like to comment on is the use of “meter” instead of “metre”. The unit of measurement was derived in France and from the beginning referred to as the “metre”. So why accept the US corruption of “meter” which to us means “a box on the wall that records how much electricity has been used”. When I wrote my elementary Geodesy book I had a running battle with the US publishers over the spelling. I used metre which they changed to meter without even asking me. I then changed them all to metre at proof stage only for them to be turned back (without my knowledge) to meter before publication.

Jim Smith
Chief Editor, Survey Review Journal,

I would like to give a summary of height of Mount Everest estimated at various times
1) 1846-52 Survey of India 29002 feet = 8839.9 meters
2) 1952-54 Survey of India 29028 feet = 8847.7 meters
3) 1975 Chinese National Bureau of Surveying and Mapping 8848.13 meters
4) 1992 EV-K2-CNR Committee of Italy and China’s NBSM 8846.10 meters
5) 1998-99 NGS 8850 meters
It is seen from the above that 1952-54, 1975, 1992, and 1998-99 heights are in very close agreement. Technique, quality and accuracy of measurements are widely different, yet results are very close. Hence it has to be investigated if in modern determinations there was any bias to bring them quite close to 1952-54,value.

N K Agrawal



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