Ordnance Survey International
|Extinction||2001 (55 years)|
|Purpose||Provided a central survey and mapping organisation for British colonies and protectorates|
From 1946 to 1999, Ordnance Survey International and its predecessors built the Ordnance Survey International Collection (formerly the Ordnance Survey International Library), an archive of air photography, map and survey records derived from its mapping activities outside the UK.
In 1946 the Directorate of Colonial Surveys (DCS) was established by the Colonial Office to provide a central survey and mapping organisation for British colonies and protectorates. In 1957, with the imminent decolonisation of many British territories, it was renamed the Directorate of Overseas Surveys (DOS). Government reviews during the 1970s led to it being merging into the Ordnance Survey (OS) in 1984 whence it was known as the Overseas Surveys Directorate (OSD).
In 1991, following completion of the last significant aid-funded mapping projects, its name was changed one final time to Ordnance Survey International and its main activity became consultancy, primarily in Eastern Europe. It was closed in 2001.
The aerial photographs, maps and survey data were originally kept in separate libraries but were amalgamated in 1984 into a single collection called Technical Information and Support Services. In 1991 this was renamed the Ordnance Survey International Library. In 2002 it was decided that it was no longer needed and responsibility for its disposal was passed to The National Archives. During 2003 and 2004 The National Archives, the Ordnance Survey and advisers from specialist bodies jointly appraised the collection to determine which records should be kept and by which custodians. The collection was dispersed during 2004.
During its lifetime the agency provided mapping to almost all the British colonies and protectorates. In addition, some non-Commonwealth countries were mapped between 1975 and 1991 including Ethiopia, Liberia, Sudan and Yemen.
Aerial photography and photogrammetry were used with photography missions being flown primarily by United Kingdom air survey companies. Agency surveyors were sent abroad to establish horizontal and vertical ground control for the photography; this was permanently marked and co-ordinated so that the surveys could be the basis for future work.
After a map was compiled from the photography, a plot (draft) was made for checking and annotation by the local survey department of the country concerned. The final map was drawn at agency headquarters and printed by the Ordnance Survey.
In addition to its primary map making role the agency was responsible for:
- Provision of advice to the Overseas Development Agency and foreign governments and organisations on technical matters concerning all aspects of surveying and mapping.
- Dissemination of information about new techniques related to surveying, photogrammetry, and cartography.
|G J Humphries||1963-10-10|
|W D C Wiggins||1965-10-01|
|D E Warren||1968-05-31|
|B E Furmston||1979-06|
- Mapping the World: History of the Directorate of Overseas Surveys, 1946-85, Ordnance Survey, 1996-03, Stationery Office Books, ISBN 978-0-11-701590-6.
- Mapping for Development, the Contributions of the Directorate of Overseas Surveys, G McGarth, Cartographica Vol 20 Nos 1 & 2, 1983. An evaluation of the Directorate's mapping processes and production.
- Medium Scale Photogrammetric Mapping at the Directorate of Overseas Surveys, D Read - D L Fereday - L R Brown, 1973-01-16, The Photogrammetric Record Volume 7 Issue 42 Pages 649 - 661, Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
- The Directorate of Overseas Surveys and Mapping in Nigeria, Olayinka Y Balogun, Cartographic Journal Volume 24 Number 1 pp 3–14, 1987-06, Maney Publishing.
- "The Ordnance Survey International Collection". Southampton: Ordnance Survey. Retrieved 2009-09-28.
- "History of the International Collection". Southampton: Ordnance Survey. Retrieved 2009-09-28.
- "Content dispersal". Southampton: Ordnance Survey. Retrieved 2009-09-28.
- "Directorate of Overseas Surveys". Encyclopædia Britannica. 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-28.
- Macdonald, Alastair (1996). Mapping The World (1st ed.). Norwich, England: HMSO. pp. ii. ISBN 0-11-701590-3.
- Introduction to the Ordnance Survey International Collection, Ordnance Survey website.
- History of the Ordnance Survey International Collection, Ordnance Survey website.
- Current locations of the Ordnance Survey International Collection, Ordnance Survey website.