Posted on: 9 January 2013

Digital Rare Book:
A Memoir On The Indian Surveys
By Clements R. Markham
Published by W.H.Allen & Co., London - 1878

Book review by Shyamal:
This is an early British work on the great trignometric survey that started in Madras and went to Bangalore and then on to find the height of Mt Everest. The survey was one of the first large scale geographical surveys or mapping efforts in the world and was partly motivated by English defeats at the hands of Tippu Sultan.

Scans of some pages are missing and others are cut or not correctly aligned, but all acceptable given that libraries are mostly inaccessible in India. Ironically maps are not prominent in India either in daily usage (public transport) or in state planning. Indeed most maps are restricted for use and copyrighted.

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Water-colour drawing of a view of Vallam near Tanjore, dated 1817, copy of a sketch made in 1784 by Mackenzie. Inscribed on front in ink: 'Vellum near Tanjore, 1784, by C. McK. Carnatic. Copy at Madras (?) by Ignatio, 1817.'

Colin Mackenzie (1754-1821) was the first Surveyor General of India. Originally from Scotland, he came to India in 1782 as a member of the Madras Engineers. He took part in numerous map surveys, mainly in Southern India, before he was appointed to the post of Surveyor General in 1815. During his surveys in South India he collected and recorded innumerable details concerning every aspect of South Indian history, architecture, language, life and religion, resulting in possibly as many as 2,000 drawings and over 8,000 copies of inscriptions.

Copyright © The British Library Board

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Excellent initiative! Thanks a lot for providing link of the book in pdf format.


One of the best initiatives in the recent times, Pradeep. Please go ahead and contribute more!

beautiful sight!!!