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RICS 150

5 DEC 2018

Martin Hotine: Ordnance Survey

Brigadier Martin Hotine, born in June 1898, was best known for his work with the Ordnance Survey, remapping the entirety of Britain between the mid-1930s and 1962. He was a true pioneer of British surveying, leading the remapping of Britain in the middle of the 20th Century.

Martin worked for the Ordnance Survey from 1933 where he was appointed the head of the trigonometrical and levelling division of the Ordnance Survey. While conducting the retriangulation of Britain, Martin had the idea to construct solid pillars upon which to conduct the theodolite readings.

The work took 17 years to complete and another 11 years to refine. The pillars, commonly referred to as "Hotine pillars," were constructed on top of Ben Nevis, Cadair Idris and thousands of other obscure and hard to reach places. The concrete pillars improved the accuracy of the readings, and thereby the triangulation and mapping.

As a result of his work, the one-inch-to-the-mile map was created and became a best-seller in the 1960s. It turned an entire generation onto the great outdoors. It was only metrification and the creation of the "Landranger" series of maps that usurped the one-inch-to-the-mile series.

Martin was educated at Southend High School and the Royal Academy Woolwich. He was then commissioned into the Royal Engineers in June 1917 and during the First World War saw active service in Persia, Iraq and India.

After the Second World War he was appointed as the Research Officer of the Air Survey Committee of the British War Office. He then began to apply his mathematical ability and enthusiasm to devising practical methods of using air photographs for topographical mapping by using simple methods and equipment.

During his time with the Air Survey committee he came up with the Radial Line technique and also wrote four book-length papers, as well as a textbook.

Martin Hotine was honoured with a plaque and stone listing his many achievements at the Ordnance Survey head offices.