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“The Great Arc asks you to imagine a world without maps, a world where distance, height and depth cannot be taken for granted and where any journey is largely guesswork. The Great Indian Arc of the Meridian, begun in 1800, was the longest measurement of the Earth's surface ever to have been attempted. By the time it was completed, 50 years later, more than 1600 miles of the Indian sub-continent from its southern tip to the Himalayas, together with the precise curvature of the Earth, had been surveyed inch-perfectly, effectively opening up the country to the present-day network of roads, railways and telegraph systems. Today, it still remains both one of the great scientific achievements of the 19th century. Mapping the sub-continent was a mathematical nightmare and the computations could have filled a library. However, it was also a technical nightmare. Each reading could be confirmed only from a location whose precise coordinates and height above sea-level were also known, so the operation involved a snail-like zig-zag through jungle and rivers and across mountain ranges. Death and disease stalked the operation, with countless casualties lost to malaria and wild animals. The Great Arc has a cast of eccentric characters--not least William Lambton and George Everest, the two commanders of the expedition. The result is an intelligent and highly readable account that fills one with awe for both the determination and the stupidity of our forebears.”

More very favourable reviews on

Paperback 2001.

182 pages + photographs and other illustrations.

Very good condition.

The cost of shipping is $4.95

There is of course no charge for shipping if you collect this book from my shop in Palmerston ?North following the auction.

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  • NZ Post$4.95
  • Seller allows pick-ups
  • Seller location: Palmerston North, Manawatu, NZ

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