Survey of India: Specimens of Map Drawing


The Survey of India was established in 1767 to assist the British East India Company in carrying out survey work and to map territory for the purposes of administration, taxation, and defense. By the end of the 19th century, the survey had succeeded in mapping most of British India. This volume, published in 1904 under the direction of Lieutenant Colonel F.B. Longe, Surveyor-General of India, was intended as a guide to the styles of drawing employed in the Survey of India. The “Note for Guidance” on the opening page states that “lines must be sharp and clean, and the ink used must be perfectly black.” Meticulous care was needed in drawing maps that would be reproduced by photozincography, a process involving the use of zinc plates developed in Britain in the 1850s for the national Ordnance Survey, but which was little used in Britain after the 1880s. Officers were warned that “lines or names which are gray or in any way faint or broken, entail much labour in touching up on the plates,” and that “before submitting any map for publication it should be examined under a magnifying glass.” The work contains 44 specimens, for the most part taken from existing departmental maps produced by the Survey of India.

Last updated: September 19, 2013