Fourcade: the Centenary of a Stereoscopic Method of Photographic Surveying

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Abstract:

In the Preface to his book, The Four Faces of Fourcade, Clare Storrar (1990) wrote: “It is di.cult to appreciate the breadth and depth of Henry Georges Fourcade's intelligence and creative power. He was an intellectual giant, a phenomenon, whose theoretical and practical achievements have never received proper recognition. These were all the more remarkable because he began his original work on photogrammetry when science in South Africa was in its infancy, and he laboured alone far from libraries and other research facilities. His only higher academic training was in land surveying. He was adept in each of four sciences at various stages in his life, but, mainly because of his natural reserve, his reputation was highly compartmentalised. To foresters he was ‘the most brilliant forestry officer of his time’ to surveyors, he was exceptionally learned in theory and skilled in practice. Photogrammetry was a new subject, unheard of, except by a handful of scientists. In botany, which he took up seriously at the age of fifty-five, his work was highly regarded by leading botanists in South Africa and in Europe. All stood in awe of his extraordinary talent and ability. Some were frightened of him. But few were able—in fact, not even the best brains were wholly qualified—to grasp fully the tremendous intellectual stature and potential of this protean man.”

This paper briefly describes the historic achievements of Henry Georges Fourcade, with the emphasis on his land surveying and, in particular, his photogrammetric contributions to science. The centenary of one of these, his proposal of a stereoscopic method of photographic surveying, occurs in October 2001.

Keywords: history of Fourcade (botanist, forester, land surveyor, photogrammetrist); theory of relative orientation; theory of stereophotogrammetry

Document Type: Original Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/0031-868X.00181

Affiliations: Nettleham, Lincoln ladams@tokai.fsnet.co.uk

Publication date: October 1, 2001

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