History of  Surveying and Measurement


International Institution for the History of Surveying and Measurement

A Permanent Institution within the International Federation of Surveyors (FIG)

  

Paying Tribute to the Struve Arc

Hammerfest, Norway, 16-18 June 2006

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Head of Norwegian Mapping and Cadastre Authority Mr Knut Flåthen (left), Professor Jan De Graeve, Mr Bjørn Geirr Harsson, the Norwegian Minister of Fisheries and Costal Affairs Helga Pedersen, Honorary Secretary Mr Jim Smith, and the Mayor of Hammerfest Mr Alf E. Jakobsen.

On the weekend of 16–18th June ten countries in Europe marked the occasion of 34 triangulation points of surveying importance being accepted by UNESCO for inscription on the World Heritage List.

These triangulation points form a part of the Struve Arc established between 1816 and 1852 to measure the size and shape of the globe.

Celebration at the meridian monument

In Norway the official gathering took place at the meridian monument at Fuglenes in the city of Hammerfest in the county of Finnmark. Professor Jan De Graeve from Belgium and Honorary Secretary of the International Institution for the History of Surveying and Measurement, Jim Smith from England, were guests of honour.

Twelve years ago under the aegis of a Resolution to FIG they initiated the work of trying to get the Struve Arc on the World Heritage List. The UNESCO decision is the result of hard work, interest and enthusiasm amongst the ten countries in Europe urged on by Mr De Graeve and Mr Smith.

The ceremony in Hammerfest was led by the Mayor Alf E. Jakobsen. Mr Jan De Greave sent regards from UNESCO and the Norwegian Minister of Fisheries and Costal Affairs, Helga Pedersen, unveiled a plaque in front of the meridian monument.

Four Norwegian Struve points

For the Norwegian leader, Bjørn Geirr Harsson from the Norwegian Mapping and Cadastre Authority, this was a very happy day. He had singled out the four Norwegian triangulation points now being a part of the world heritage. These are:

  1. The meridian monument in the authority of Hammerfest
  2. The mountain peak Lille Raipas in the authority of Alta
  3. The mountain peak Lodiken (Luvdiidcohkka) in the authority of Kautokeino
  4. The mountain peak Bealjasvarri in the authority of Kautokeino

The day before the official gathering at the meridian monument there was a smaller gathering at the mountain peak Lille Raipas in the authority of Alta. Many local people joined the 45 minute walk to the top. Here the Mayor unveiled the UNESCO plaque in front of the cairn.

Spreading consequences

Both in Alta and Hammerfest the value of being a part of the world heritage is of great importance for the local authorities and population. Hopefully the four triangulation points of surveying importance will give extended effects related to tourism and, not least, extend knowledge to the public about the profession.

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Several locals joined the celebration at Lille Raipas in Alta.
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Mr Jan De Graeve (left), Mr Jim Smith and Mr Bjørn Geirr Harsson at the mountain peak Lille Rapias in Alta.
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Mr Jim Smith (left), Mr Bjørn Geirr Harsson and Mr Jan De Graeve next to the UNESCO plaque in front of the cairn on the mountain peak Lille Raipas.
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Mr Jim Smith (left) and Mr Jan De Graeve at the monument statue at Fuglenes in Hammerfest.
 

Hege Sælid, Norwegian Mapping and Cadastre Authority
29 June 2006



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