Colonel Sir George Everest was a Welsh surveyor and geographer and Surveyor General of India between 1830 and 1843. Everest was largely responsible for leading the completion of the Great Trigonometric Survey of India, which ensured the accurate mapping of the subcontinent.

Everest was relentless in his pursuit of accuracy, making countless adaptations to surveying equipment, methods and mathematics in order to minimize problems specific to the survey.

Surveying, from India to Nepal

Accurate instruments could not always be purchased through standard government contracts, so Everest personally supervised the construction of new instruments. As a result, he and his team successfully measured the meridian arc from Southern India to Nepal; an immense distance of roughly 2,400km.

Sir George is best remembered thanks to the world’s highest mountain which came to bear his name. George and his team were the first to properly study the height of the Himalayan Mountain in 1852, using his own triangulation system.

When scientists revisited the data he had collected 160 years later, with the benefit of GPS and laser technology, they found that he was accurate to within 0.09%. That equates to just a couple of feet. Accurate measurement is, clearly, a valued and crucial contribution made by surveyors.

Arise Sir George

Considering the equipment available to him in the mid-19th Century – consistently used in tough weather – this was an extraordinary achievement,  one that makes Everest worthy of celebration as RICS heads into its 150th year.

Sir George was dubbed a knight in 1861 and elected as the vice-president of the Royal Geographical Society the following year. In 1865 the Royal Geographical Society officially adopted Mount Everest as the name for the highest mountain in the world, despite Sir George’s humble objections.

Pride in the Profession

2018 marks the 150th anniversary of RICS. To celebrate this milestone, we're launching our Pride in the Profession initiative to showcase the significant and positive impact surveyors have made to society. We've already dug into the archives to find some exceptional examples, like the one above. By promoting these incredible people and projects we want to demonstrate how varied and rewarding a surveying career can be.

To make it happen, we need you to nominate the people and projects you admire most.

Nominate now

Comments (1)

  1. Sounds like an amazing man.

    Gordon Hendry Gordon Hendry, 9 November at 21:42PM

Only Registered Members and Registered site users can comment on our content.

Please use the log in button to sign in and leave your comment.


Read the next page in this section