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  • Historical records of the Survey of India (Dehra Dun, 1945-58) by Reginald Henry Phillimore. Comprises 5 volumes. Available on open shelves at British Library shelfmark OIR.354.54. Includes biographical notes of persons involved in the geographical and historical survey of India (the Great Trigonometrical Survey of India) from 1777 to 1843. Also available to read online, refer "Historical books online" below.

Also see

External links

  • "Colin Mackenzie: Collector Extraordinary" by David M.Blake British Library Journal 1991 pages 128-150. Mackenzie was an officer in the Madras Engineers and had arrived in Madras in 1783. At the time of his death in 1821, he was Surveyor-General of India.
"Spies or Pandits? Colin Mackenzie’s Indian Assistants, 1788 to 1821" 29 September 2017 British Library Untold lives blog.
  • "The Trigonometrical Survey" by FC Danvers (a transcript of an article, possibly that in Quarterly Journal of Science VII 1870 pages 448-458) ( link)
  • "The Great Trigonometrical Survey of India in a Historical Perspective" by Rana Deb Roy Indian Journal of History of Science 21(1):22-32 (1986)
  • Man who mapped India sits forgotten under tree by M T Saju, June 10, 2013, Times of India. This article is about the bust of William Lambton, who launched his work for the Great Trigonometrical Survey on top of St Thomas Mount. On FIBIS on Facebook, Harshawardhan Bosham Nimkhedkar commented on 10 June 2013: Lambton died in Hinganghat, a small town in (the present-day) Chandrapur district of the western state of Maharashtra (about 100 kilometres from Nagpur). He was travelling up north, doing his survey work but fell ill near Hinganghat and died due dysentery. John Keay in his wonderful book The Great Trigonometrical Survey of India [see Historical books online, below] gives the details. Keay also discovered Lambton's crumbling tomb in a Moslem graveyard in Hinganghat and photographed it. Lambton was succeeded by George Everest (pronounced Eve-rest), after whom the world's tallest peak Mount Everest in the Himalayas is named.
  • "Making Mountains out of Molehills? George Everest and Henry Barrow 1830-39" by Jane Insley Indian Journal of History of Science 30 (1) 1995, pages 47-55. Henry Barrow was the first Mathematical Instrument Maker chosen by George Everest to set up and run a workshop for the repair of defective equipment for the Survey of India.
  • Land Surveys Banglapedia (National Encyclopaedia of Bangladesh). It is stated "The objectives of the revenue survey were to make accurate maps of the village boundaries and, sometimes, of the estate boundaries, showing topographical details, compiling certain statistical data for general administrative purposes, and making maps (usual scale: 4 inches = 1 mile and 1 inch = 1 mile) of each village and pargana"
  • A pioneering institution [The Madras Survey School] by S. Muthiah 13 November 2002 The Hindu
  • "Science in British India" by RK Kochhar Indian Journal of History of Science 34(4) 1999 pp317-346. Includes information about Surveys . Page 329 (page 13 of the link) states 'Madras Observatory ran a surveying school from 1794 to 1810 to train teenager European orphaned boys as practical revenue surveyors'.
  • From 1794 the brighter students at the Madras Male Orphanage, usually boys of mixed blood, were recruited to the Survey school.[1]
  • Sir Thomas Hungerford Holdich 1843 – 1929 His Life Story, Chapters 1-5 cover his time in India. (click on the drop down menu). He became a Royal Engineer and he was sent to India on attachment to the Survey Department. His first campaign was in Bhutan in 1865. This led to his permanent appointment to the Survey Department. He subsequently served in the 2nd Afghan War. he was appointed as Surveyor to the Historical Boundary Commission which was to settle the boundary between Russia and Afghanistan, and then Chief Commissioner to settle the boundary between Persia and Baluchistan He was involved with the 1898 campaign against the Afridis, but soon had to retire as he had reached the age of 55. The Holdich Family History Society, now archived. Thomas Holdich Wikipedia. For online books, refer below.
  • "The Spies Who Mapped Great Swathes of South Asia by Foot" by Eleanor Cummins April 17, 2017.
  • "The Troubled Land: Arunachal Dispute" by Anant Mishra Asia Times 22 February, 2015. Mentions some of the historical Boundary Lines, such as the Johnson Line, the McCartney-MacDonald Line, and the McMahon Line (scroll down).
  • Colonel Charles & Ida Ryder 1868 – 1945. Royal Engineers and Survey of India, served in India, Burma, China, Tibet, Turco-Persian Boundary Commission, 1917-1918 Mesopotamia in World War 1, Royal & French Geographical Societies, FRGS Gold Medalist, Surveyor General of India 1919-1924. From the drop down menu at the top of the webpage under Colonel Charles Ryder there are links to other sections, including Burma and China 1894-1903; Tibet [1904]; Turco-Persian Boundary Commission 1913-1914 Ryder Archives.
  • Obituary of Colonel Reginald Henry Phillimore 1879-1964 ( link)
  • "A British Boy in Wartime Burma" by Richard Hurley, 09 May 2005. The author's father was an official in the Survey of India, in Burma at the outbreak of war, who became part of a small Survey Group under Brigadier Guy Bomford, who was the Deputy Director of Survey in the 14th Army from 1942 to 1945.
  • "Some Survey Memoirs of South India" by Barry Lewis 24 July 2015. Details memoirs of topographical and revenue surveys sponsored by the East India Company (EIC).
  • Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors - RICS, with headquarters in London. Previously the website advised there was a Library enquiry service for Family History which would search the archives for a fee, for biographical details of chartered surveyors. (Previously, for the relevant website page, select Knowledge/Enquires & library/Library services/Library enquiry service). However at 2017/4, this information no longer seems to appear on the website.

Historical books online

Indian Pandits in the Land of Snow by Sarat Chandra Das 1893
Many other volumes of Records are also available on PAHAR.
The Indian Borderland, 1880-1900 by Colonel Sir T Hungerford Holdich 1901 edition, Second and cheaper edition 1909
India by Colonel Sir Thomas Hungerford Holdich 1904
The Gates of India, being an Historical Narrative by Colonel Sir Thomas Holdich 1910.
Political Frontiers and Boundary Making by Col. Sir Thomas H Holdich 1916
1990 Thomas Montgomerie and the Trans-Himalayan Explorers of the Survey of India by Waller. Pdf download, PAHAR Mountains of Central Asia Digital Dataset. If download button does not display, locate under Books/Survey of India/(end section). mirror version. Possibly 1983 article Annals Assoc.Asian Stud. Southeast Conf. 5: 27-35.[3]
Same underlying text, but with handwritten alterations, deletions etc, with a link to a pdf download. British Library


  1. West, Shirley. Revenue Surveyor Rootsweb India Mailing List 27 February 2011, archived.
  2., now an archived webpage.
  3. Page 278 Britain and Tibet 1765-1947: A Select Annotated Bibliography of British Relations with Tibet and the Himalayan States Including Nepal, Sikkim and Bhutan by Julie G. Marshall, Alastair Lamb 2005