On this Anzac Day let us remember now, more than ever to pause and reflect on the service and sacrifice of generations. One of the services that are lesser known are the Royal Australian Survey Corps.
As one of the principal military survey units in Australia, the role of the Royal Australian Survey Corps was to provide the maps, aeronautical charts, hydrographical charts and geodetic and control survey data required for land combat operations.
The Royal Survey corps were an active part of the Australian Army from 1 July 1915 – 1 July 1996, whose motto was “To see is to prepare”.
The Australian Survey Corps mapped for the defence of Australia, and used basic survey triangulation. They also provided training cadres for new fields and training units in World War II. Without the service of the Royal Australian Survey Corps in the active area of operations there would be no update of the topographic base, or additions to the tactical operational and intelligence information. The surveyors provided clear information for the ground troops and provided what was required by the combat force.
After the Second World War the Corps reverted to its peacetime role of the military survey of Australia retaining a capability in the Permanent Force Interim Army in 1946. In 1945 the National Mapping Council (NMC) of Australia, comprising Commonwealth and State authorities, was formed to coordinate survey and mapping activities after the Second World War. Despite the huge wartime mapping achievements of producing 224 'four-mile' strategic maps and 397 'one-mile' tactical maps, there was much to be done for a basic coverage of reliable topographic maps for national development and defence.
The Australia Survey Corps impact on Australia can be measured all around us. With strong participation in the National Survey and Mapping Programs, Defence International Cooperations and Defence survey and mapping programmes after World War II. In 1996 the Royal Surveying Corps integrated with the Royal Australian Engineers to form a joint task force and increase the geomatic and geospatial wings of the defence force.
Lest we forget.