Data Collection / People / Surveying History / Surveyor Safety / Government

Surveying History

September 6, 2012
Every instrument in Abraham Lincoln’s National Museum of Surveying has a story.



Compassing the Future
Every instrument in Abraham Lincoln’s National Museum of Surveying has a story. The story behind this compass is the tale of two immigrants – William Young, the compass maker, and John Lutz Mansfield, the surveyor. On display at ALNMoS for a six month period, the compass shows how Mansfield, Ill., came to be, and how Young created the tool that forged many American towns.

Young created a robust company and is credited with being the first American maker of many surveying instruments. This compass was made between 1841 and 1854. We can tell because Young changed how he signed the compass in 1841, and starting in 1854, he started using serial numbers. The Young compass had a mighty draw; it was America’s first answer to European material dominance. After acquiring a large amount of land, Mansfield took this compass and subdivided a portion of his acreage into the lots that became Mansfield, Ill., in 1870. Just think of all the towns Young made possible.

More than 140 years later, the compass is still in the possession of one of Mansfield’s descendants. Charles Mansfield III owns the piece and is allowing it to be on display at the museum.

Surveyors in the Civil War
We often don’t think of the role surveyors played in the Civil War. They laid out bridges, sketched pre-battle maps (often done in haste) and scouted, but their main role was in creating post-battlefield maps. These surveyors, in the midst of battle, would map their surroundings and give reports to the generals. They spent nights in tent making notes and creating maps by candlelight. They had to create the most accurate map they could under the constant fear of being shot at, with no time or safety to set up a nice grid system. Their work might define the general’s plan, which would dictate the lives of men. All this would happen while working from a tent. To honor the sesquicentennial of the Civil War, the museum has created several new displays highlighting the role of surveyors in the war. This tent was donated by Ron Bolser, surveyor and member of the Vermillion County Military Museum.

For more info on surveyors in the Civil War, click here.

July Trivia Answer:
How many of the more than 350 unique NOAA Science on a Sphere datasets are directly related to surveying?

Of the 350 unique datasets, only ONE of them really fits surveying. This picture shows all of the routes taken by ships equipped with multi-beam echo-sounders. Mapping the bathymetry of the sea floor is a daunting task since there are 139,400,000 square miles of it. Naturally, most of the ocean is still in the dark, but it is vitally important to build this database for shipping and science. We don’t let the one dataset fact stop us from showing the role of surveying in Earth sciences.

Abraham Lincoln’s National Museum of Surveying is the only museum and tourist attraction of its kind in the country. Located in Springfield, Ill., the hometown of Abraham Lincoln, the museum preserves the legacy of surveying while ensuring its future through vivid images, superb storytelling and dynamic multimedia. Through the Reaching Our Orbit Capital Campaign launched in March 2012, the museum is raising funds to pay down its mortgage and expand its educational programs. An undisclosed source has pledged to match every donation received, up to $200,000, by the end of 2012. For more information and to find out how you can support the museum’s efforts, visit www.surveyingmuseum.org.

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to POB

Recent Articles by Matthew Parbs

You must login or register in order to post a comment.

Multimedia

Videos

Image Galleries

HxGN Live

More than 3,500 attendees from more than 70 countries attended HxGN Live, the annual Hexagon AB user conference, at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas on June 3-6. About 450 keynotes and panel discussions were held, and several companies from around the world exhibited their geospatial products. Here are a few snapshots from the event.

9/30/14 2:00 pm EDT

Technical Workflows on the Job Site Using 3D Laser Scanning

The purpose of this webinar is to dig into different laser scanning workflows and techniques.

POB

POB September 2014

2014 September

In this September 2014 issue of POB, we take a look at a book that reveals how a rare-map dealer made millions stealing ancient maps. Also, discover the secrets of a 21st-century surveyor and how technology enables small surveying businesses to ease growing pains and maximize their potential.

Table Of Contents Subscribe

Surveying Career

Would you recommend surveying as a career to a current college student?
View Results Poll Archive

Point of Beginning Store

M:\General Shared\__AEC Store Katie Z\AEC Store\Images\POB\epubsite\Statues-pic-large.gif
Surveyor Statues

The perfect gift or award for any special occasion.

More Products

Clear Seas Research

Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications, Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.

Geo Locator

Buyers Guide

The #1 buyers' guide for land surveyors and geomatics professionals. Search listings for software and equipment manufacturers, equipment dealers and professional services. CLICK HERE to view GeoLocator.

STAY CONNECTED

Facebook logo Twitter logo  LinkedIn logo  YouTube logoRPLS small logo

Google +