The progress of the Orcades survey, with biographical notes on Murdoch Mackenzie senior (1712–1797)
Murdoch Mackenzie senior (1712–1797) introduced new standards in British hydrographic surveying, recognizing the importance of a good land survey as the basis of an accurate sea survey. His first major work was the atlas of eight charts of the Orkney and Lewis Islands, Orcades , published in 1750, and this paper gives details of his early life and education, followed by a description of the setting up of the Orkney survey as revealed in contemporary manuscripts and Mackenzie's own correspondence. Of particular interest is an estimate of the costs of the survey, which includes a list of surveying instruments and prices and the survey methods which he intended to use. The success of Orcades led to Mackenzie's employment by the Admiralty as a civilian from 1751 to 1771, during which time he surveyed the west coast of Scotland and Ireland. After his retirement he wrote the standard work on marine surveying and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society.
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Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: National Museums of Scotland, Chambers Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1JF, U.K.
Publication date: 1987-05-01