Surveying Empires: Archaeologies of Colonial Cartography and the Great Trigonometrical Survey of India

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

Abstract

This paper demonstrates the important contribution material culture makes to histories of cartography. Focusing on the tangible and intangible heritage of the Great Trigonometrical Survey (GTS) of India, and West Bengal in particular, the material landscape legacies of the GTS are analysed and interpreted. This reveals new insights into how surveys of the GTS were undertaken in the nineteenth century, under George Everest, and the infrastructure that was created to underpin the British mapping of India. The trigonometrical stations built by the GTS were of different designs and construction, adapted in response to local conditions and circumstances. Today, this ‘survey heritage’ is at risk, yet provides a basis for understanding more deeply the materiality of mapping and survey practices used in mapping empires. The paper connects the three-dimensional ‘spaces of survey’ with the two-dimensional ‘space of the map’, and concludes by arguing for greater consideration of the verticality of mapping.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMapping Empires: Colonial Cartographies of Land and Sea
EditorsAlexander Kent, Soetkin Vervust, Imre Demhardt, Nick Millea
PublisherSpringer
Pages101-120
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Geoinformation and Cartography
PublisherSpringer/ICA
ISSN (Print)1863-2246
ISSN (Electronic)1863-2351

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  • Cite this

    Lilley, K. (2019). Surveying Empires: Archaeologies of Colonial Cartography and the Great Trigonometrical Survey of India. In A. Kent, S. Vervust, I. Demhardt, & N. Millea (Eds.), Mapping Empires: Colonial Cartographies of Land and Sea (pp. 101-120). (Lecture Notes in Geoinformation and Cartography). Springer.