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International cooperation on the SGA
August 12, 2021 PDF Печать

The sad news came about the passing of my longtime colleague James R. Smith, an honorary member of the International Federation of Surveyors, and a permanent honorary secretary of the International Institute for the History of Surveying and Measurements under FIG.

The name of James R. Smith is inextricably linked with the appearance of the first scientific and technical as well as the first multinational transboundary object - the Struve Geodetic Arc - on the map of the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage.

My correspondence acquaintance with Smith took place in 1994 at the very beginning of the long-standing and various activities of the Institute for the History of Surveying and Measurement to give the surviving field sites of the Russian-Scandinavian degree measurement (Struve Arc) the status of World Cultural Heritage. Smith carried out an enormous amount of informational and organizational work at the first stage of the process that had lasted from 1994 to 2002.

Then a new stage began, associated with preparation of the corpus of necessary documents. And also here Smith's great preparatory work played an important role, providing numerous - from ten European countries - participants in the process with basic information on the Struve Arc, on the composition and content of documents due to be submitted to the UNESCO experts. He constantly advised the process of preparing the documents and provided great assistance to most of the participants in the process, among others also to me, the representative from Russia. An important part of the final nomination document is the scientific supplement (Appendix I) written by Smith.

Today it is important to emphasize that the completion in 2005 of the long-standing work that was crowned by the appearance of a substantially new and largely unprecedented object on the World Cultural Heritage List could take place thanks to the titanic work of J.R. Smith. His contribution to an epoch-making event for surveyors must be recognized as fundamental.

After 2005, the intense research and organizational work of Smith on the Struve Arc did not stop. Visits to sites located in different countries; scientific study of the genetic and geodetic links of the Struve Arc with the trans-African degree measurement along the arc of the 30th meridian; translation into English, in cooperation with J. De Graeve of both volumes of the immortal work of F.G.W. Struve "Arc of the Meridian"; collection and ordering of huge historical information on world degree measurements for almost three thousand-year history of their perfoming - this is only what I know about, but far from everything that has been done by an outstanding surveyor. J.R. Smith has published numerous articles and has written several books on subjects of the history of geodesy.

His most recent lifetime publication, in collaboration with J. De Graeve - that should also be called titanic in terms of time coverage and duration of the authors' work - are 5 volumes under the discreet title "Notes on the History of Determining the Size and Shape of the Earth Using Meridian Arcs"; the edition is supplemented by another two volumes, especially devoted to degree measurements in Africa, the Arc of the 30th meridian and its connections with the Struve Arc.

The passing of J.R. Smith is a huge loss for the International Institute for the History of Surveying and Measurement and for the world geodetic community, loss of an active and irreplaceable worker who developed the theme of the enduring historical and cultural aspects of geodesy.

Vitali B. Kaptüg,

in 2003-2004 executive representative of Roskartografiya on the preparation of national documents for the "Struve Geodetic Arc" project.



2014 PDF Печать


October 7-8, Vilnius: a regular meeting of the International Coordinating Committee for the management of the trans-European World Heritage 'The Struve Geodetic Arc'. The meeting was attended by the Board member of the St. Petersburg Society for Surveying & Mapping V.I. Gleyzer. He presented a comprehensive report to the Committee, speaking about Society's 2012-2014 activities in preservation of the geodesic heritage.
The audience was informed about visiting the two 'Struve Arc' basic points (in central Finland and on the island of Gogland), on Society's participation in the international conference in Kaliningrad devoted to 'The Year of Struve', on stations of the Spitsbergen measurements of degrees visited by travelers from Ryazan who had been supplied by the Society with relevant information, on restoration of the 1888 Moloskovitsy baseline, on preservation of the benchmarks of the 1872 first vertical geodetic reference net of St. Petersburg. V.I. Gleyzer also gave members of the Committee discs with videos, copies of the magazine of the Society as well as the booklet 'The Struve Arc Necklace', issued for the international conference 'Struve - The European Surveyor of 2014'.


Public organization "Association of Estonian Surveyors" (Eesti Geodeetide Ühing) published an anthology of articles of authors from different countries on the work and legacy of the prominent astronomer and surveyor F.G.W. Struve. The release was done as part of the CLGE activities of the current year to promote the heritage and significance "of the European surveyor" F.G.W. Struve. Among the authors of the anthology - the Board secretary of the St. Petersburg Society for Surveying & Mapping VB Kaptüg.        


At the initiative of the Russian representatives in the international organization CLGE (European Council of Geodetic Surveyors) F.G.W. Struve was nominated  'The European Surveyor of 2014'. In accordance with the action plan, the Russian NGOs - 'Chamber of Cadastral Engineers' and 'Cadastral Engineers' organized in Kaliningrad the Fourth European 'Conference of the European Surveyor and GeoInformation', it took place on July 1. The conference was attended by delegates of 16 European states, including several ones represented in the Committee on 'Struve Arc'.
The St. Petersburg Society for Surveying & Mapping actively participated in the preparation and holding of the conference: it organized visits to the two basic 'Struve Arc' points  in central Finland (Kilpimeki) and on the island of Gogland (Mäkipäälys and Point Z); the Board secretary  V.B. Kaptüg advised preparation and publication of information materials and souvenirs for the conference as well as read the opening report: 'V.Ya.Struve - outstanding surveyor of XIX century'.

2013 PDF Печать

On September 6, 2013 a joint Belarusian-Latvian GNSS-experiment was held, to measure the Tenner "Lithuanian arc" of the meridian (1816-1827) - a part of the trans-European Russian-scandinavian arc of the meridian (widely known as "the Struve arc"). During the measurements original arc terminals were used - in 2011 these have been found surviving in the villages of Belin (Belarus) and Bristen (Latvia). Either terminal was marked in 1827-1828 as centre point of a lead insert into a small cube-shaped stone monoliths. In the experiment participated: in Belarus, experts of the state enterprise "Belaerokosmogeodeziya" and the company "Credo-Dialogue", in Latvia - surveyors with the Latvian Geospatial Information Agency. Observations lasted for 8 hours, the length of the measured vector being almost 505 km. After finalizing the computation the processed results of the GNSS measurements will be compared with those obtained by Tenner surveyors in the 19 c.

2012 PDF Печать

July, 4th. The 5th meeting of the international Coordinating committee for management of the WH "Struve Geodetic Arc" was held in Oshmyany, Belarus. Resolutions.

2011 PDF Печать

THE "STRUVE MISSION", SOUTHERN PART OF THE ARC. The Russian-Ukrainian off-road car expedition “Struve Mission” started in the afternoon July 19 from the southern terminal of the “Struve Geodetic Arc” which is situated in Staraya Nekrasovka - the old-believers' village in the mouth of the Danube. The mission is organized by the International Off-Road Tourism Club. By midnight the car mission had passed the principal Bessarabian point “Wodolui” and had its rest in the surroundings of the Moldovian town of Vadul-lui-Voda. On July 20 the extremal motorists were in the territory of Moldova. By midnight 21/22 of July the "Struve Mission" has reached Ukrainian town of Kremenets - that is the principal point of the Volyn segment of the Arc. In the evening July 22 the motorists reached "Belin" - the principal point of the Belarus segment of the Arc. There they were hospitably met by the local residents (among them - the Mazurs, father and son who have put a lot of effort to search for traces and recover the Arc point). To have a night rest, the" Struve Mission" located near the village of Belin. On July 24: at 7-40 GMT: inspection of the place in the vicinity of Vilnius where the Lithuanian principal point "Nemesch" was constructed in 1818; by the way northward: inspection of the longest measured line (12 km) wherever on the Arc; at 15-55 GMT: at the Latvian principal point "Jakobstadt". On July 26, at 10-20 GMT the mission reached Estonian town of Tartu; here, at the old University observatory the central point of the "Struve Geodetic Arc" is situated. Since July 19, the motorists have covered about one half of the space once measured during the "Russo-Scandinavian" meridian arc measurements. Several stations of the Estonian Arc segment have been visited and by evening July 26, the mission reached the capital - Tallinn where it will be awaiting a ferry to Helsinki. THE SOUTHERN HALF OF THE "STRUVE ARC" has been driven in 7 days exactly.

THE "STRUVE MISSION", NORTHERN PART OF THE ARC. Having crossed the Gulf of Finland on board of a ferry, on July 27 at 13-00  GMT the car expedition started driving along the Finnish segment of the "Struve Geodetic Arc". During July 28, moving from south to north the car tourists were crossing the southern part of Finland full of lakes. On July 29 in the morning, they have driven west of the principal point “Kilpimeki” (in central Finland) the “Struve Mission” and then reached the city of Tornio (Torneo) at 16-40 GMT. The city (one of its churches) is the northern terminal of the Finland segment of the “Struve Arc” and also the northernmost milestone of the Russian geodetic work in the course of the famous measurements. Further north, at the suggestion by Struve the Scandinavian arc segment began, it was measured by Swedish and Norwegian surveyors and astronomers, with some help provided from Pulkovo (lead by Struve) observatory in Russia. During July 30, the off-road car mission was driving along the Swedish segment of the “Struve Arc”. The team has visited important geodetic points in these parts: “Avasaksa”, “Pullinki” and “Kittis”(“Kittis-vaara”), though, however, it could not reach the principal station of the Arc Swedish segment “Stuor-oivi” due to its deep location in tundra, rather far of any roads. On July 31, at GMT 8-00 a.m. the expedition has visited the point “Baeljatz-vaara” - actually the northernmost Swedish station of the arc measurements, already in Norwegian territory. Finally, at 16-00 GMT, the car expedition has reached the “Struve Arc” northern terminal “Fuglenaes” in Hammerfest, on shores of Norwegian sea. Thus, formally, it ends the car mission, though it has not yet visited the important Arc linking point which is situated on the Russian island Gogland in the Gulf of Finland. So far no touristic car has got on the island ... . Apart from this difficulty, the whole touristic travel along the 3000-km route of the first multinational WH monument has been driven exactly in 12 days, and, importantly, for the first time since the historic measurements. The Russian-Ukrainian team of the “Struve Mission” deserves our hot greetings and respect. After visiting famous Nordkap, the expedition turned home, however, different ways: the leading car reached St.Petersburg and on August 5 visited Pulkovo astronomical observatory - formerly F.G.W.Struve's "headquarters". In the evening it went to Moscow. Others of the team (the Ukrainians) cannot be traced ...  The unprecedented travel is through.


Chairman of the International Coordinating committee on management of the WH "Struve Geodetic Arc” S. Urbanas (Lithuania) expressed support for the forthcoming international off-road car expedition along the entire route of the Struve Arc ("Struve Mission”) and encouraged committee members to contribute to its success.

2010 PDF Печать

Surveyors from the Belarusian company Credo-Dialog directed by D.V. Chadovich in collaboration with the St. Petersburg SS&M (V.B. Kaptjug) conducted volunteer field surveys at the Belarus' principal Struve arc station “Belin”. Through measurements and excavations of their own, as well as questioning the local residents they proved safety, material appearance and the exact coordinates of the two main markers of the station. The results of the work have been reported in September at a meeting of the Coordinating committee on the WH "Struve arc”, then the event was highlighted in various media.

The 4th meeting of the international Coordinating committee for management of the WH "Struve Geodetic Arc" was held in Vilnius, Lithuania. Resolutions.

2009 PDF Печать

In June and July, the St. Petersburg SS&M has dispatched postal parcels to the state surveying agencies of Norway, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Belarus. Those contained copies of a commemorative issue of Society's magazine dedicated to the 150th anniversary of the publication of the outstanding work by F.G.W.Struve on the measurement of a 25-degree arc of the meridian. Additional copies of the issue were also sent to the main libraries in these countries' capitals. This action completed almost three years of organizational and research work carried out by the St. Petersburg SS&M in collaboration with the participating geodetic agencies of countries of the "Struve Geodetic arc”. The commemorative issue contained a 12-paged Abstract in English (PDF) which had been almost fully presented at the FIG Working Week in May 2009.

2008 PDF Печать

The 3rd meeting of the international Coordinating committee for management of the WH "Struve Geodetic Arc" was held in Jekabpils, Latvia. Resolutions.

2007 PDF Печать

Earlier this year, Secretary of the international Coordinating committee for management of the WH "Struve Geodetic Arc" (P.Tatila, NLS Finland) sent to member countries of the Committee specifications for the coordinates and descriptive data required for conducting a research work initiated by the St. Petersburg SS&M, with the ultimate aim to issue a commemorative booklet dedicated to the 150th anniversary of the publication of the Struve treatise “Arc du Meridien …" (1857). By June 1, required data on principal (astronomic-geodetic) SGA stations had been delivered by the state surveying agencies of Estonia, Finland, Norway, Lithuania and Belarus. Contributions are expected from the agencies of Latvia, Moldova and Ukraine.

2006 PDF Печать

Cooordinated actions by surveying agencies in inauguration of commemorative stations of the "Struve Geodetic Arc".

The 2nd meeting of the international Coordinating committee for management of the WH "Struve Geodetic Arc" was held in Haparanda, Sweden. Resolutions.

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