James Horsburgh (September 28, 1762 – May 14, 1836) was a Scottish hydrographer. He worked for East India Company, who mapped many seaways around Singapore in the late 18th century and early 19th century.
Born at Elie, Fife, he went to sea at the age of 16 and was captured and imprisoned by the French at Dunkirk. After his release, he made voyages to the West Indies and Calcutta. In May 1786, on a voyage on the ship Atlas from Batavia to Ceylon as first mate, he was shipwrecked on the island of Diego Garcia. This disaster influenced him in his decision to produce accurate maps after he found his way back to India and on board another ship employed in the trade to China.
James Horsburgh was the author of the long-titled Directions for Sailing to and from the East Indies, China, New Holland, Cape of Good Hope, and the interjacent Ports, compiled chiefly from original Journals and Observations made during 21 years' experience in navigating those Seas.
Horsburgh's Directory was the standard work for oriental navigation in the first half of the 19th century, until Robert Moresby's survey of the treacherous coral groups of the central Indian Ocean, when for the first time in history accurate maps of the areas that were in the way of the main trade routes, the Maldives, Chagos and Laccadives, were published. In March, 1806 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society 
Robert Moresby, during his survey of the Maldives in 1834, named a small atoll south of Southern Maalhosmadulhu Atoll after James Horsburgh as a homage to his valuable previous hydrographic work.
Horsburgh was the first to document what is now Spratly Island, naming it Storm Island. However, Richard Spratly's sighting eventually become the vernacular and led to the naming of the entire region as the Spratly Islands.
- "Library and Archive Catalogue". Royal Society. Retrieved 21 November 2010.
- MARITIME BRIEFING, Volume I, Number 6: A Geographical Description of the Spratly Island and an Account of Hydrographic Surveys Amongst Those Islands, 1995 by David Hancox and Victor Prescott. Pages 14-15
- Electric Scotland, a major educational resource on Scottish History.
- Hydro International, a significant article on his life
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