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    Re: London symposium
    From: George Huxtable
    Date: 2006 Nov 24, 23:42 -0000

    Peter Fogg quoted from Wolfgang K�berer -
    
    "In the afternoon Jeremy Spencer from the National Museum of Australia
    presented his findings on Cook's mapping methods on the coasts of New
    Zealand in 1769. From what I understood � and I admit that the 
    Australian
    accent sometimes baffled me � he thinks that Cook was essentially 
    making a
    running survey from aboard ship."
    
    and adds-
    
    "It is well known that Cook (and his crew) mapped the coasts of 
    eastern New
    Holland (Australia) and New Zealand as he meandered along them, and 
    being a
    sailor he also recorded water depths and other information (weather, 
    winds,
    fires burning along the coast, etc). His voyages were so valuable 
    because he
    brought back such detailed information about little known lands. I am 
    a
    little puzzled myself about what new point Jeremy Spencer could have 
    been
    making."
    
    Well, it isn't so simple to make a map of an unknown coastline as you 
    "meander" along it. Land surveyors can measure a baseline and take 
    bearings from its ends and triangulate from that. From sea, any 
    baseline is somewhat fluid. For a coast that tends North-South, it can 
    be done by creating a baseline between two sea-positions with spacing 
    determined by precise celestial latitude measurement. Where it tends 
    East-West, it's much harder, when the surveyor lacks a chronometer, as 
    Cook did on that first circumnavigation, and had only lunars, and dead 
    reckoning, to rely on for longitude differences.
    
    Jeremy has studied Cook's original chart-sheets as they were made on 
    the spot, with deletions and pasted-in insertions, and lots of 
    bearing-lines and construction-lines still remaining. One conclusion 
    he has drawn is that Cook used a plane-table, out on deck, to plot his 
    bearings directly. I must say that to me that seemed a bit unlikely. 
    Plane-table surveying requires that the table be planted firmly on the 
    ground, and levelled. On a ship, it will be subject to inevitable 
    rolling and yawing. It seems to me much more likely that bearings will 
    have been taken by an azimuth-compass out on deck, then relayed to the 
    great cabin where the chart was being assembled. But I am no expert on 
    Cook, or on surveying.
    
    Peter continued-
    
    "As to being 'baffled' by an Australian accent, now that is a 
    wondrously
    strange notion. Surely it is everyone else who has an accent; not us? 
    When
    Australian films are shown on American TV the voices are dubbbed, but 
    the
    English in this are made of sterner stuff: Australian Soapies (Soap 
    Operas;
    emotionally charged ongoing espisodic tales of trivia)  are quite 
    popular on
    British TV and viewers just have to cope. It gets easier with 
    practice,
    apparently."
    
    Jeremy is actually a Kiwi (New Zealander) by origin, though now in 
    Australia, and the accent is subtly different from Australian. I must 
    say that I didn't share the difficulties that Wolfgang reports; 
    perhaps Kiwi speech presents special problems to a German speaker. 
    However, I have a sister who has become a Kiwi, so that may have 
    helped.
    
    George.
    
    contact George Huxtable at george@huxtable.u-net.com
    or at +44 1865 820222 (from UK, 01865 820222)
    or at 1 Sandy Lane, Southmoor, Abingdon, Oxon OX13 5HX, UK. 
    
    
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