The History of Surveying in Iran
In the Qajar era, with the efforts of Abbas Mirza, the son and crown prince of Fath Ali Shah, some individuals were sent to Europe to learn new sciences. At the time of the chancellorship of Mirza Taghikhan Amirkabir, the famous Chancellor of the Qajar era, Dar-ul Funun School was established to expand and utilize the new sciences and technologies.
At this newly established school, the Austrian professors were teaching accompanied by Iranian graduates from Europe. One of the subjects taught at Dar-ul Funun was surveying. The surveying students of Dar-ul Funun parallel to their education were preparing some maps of the villages around Tehran and some of them later started teaching at Dar-ul Funun.
Graduates such as the late Abdorazaq Baqayeri have provided outstanding services in foundation of surveying and mapping, especially in determination of the boundaries of the country.
As surveying is the prerequisite for constructional measures and defense and development; due to familiarity with the application of surveying, some units were gradually established in military organization as well as in ministries and other organizations which required surveying and map services to meet their needs. These units sporadically prepared some maps by land surveying method.
After the establishment of Tehran University, some faculties such as the Technical Faculty, the Faculty of Agriculture, the Faculty of Science and … included the course of surveying in their curricula.
The History of National Cartographic Center (NCC):
During the first seven-year development program (1948-1955), an office named “Engineering Agency” was established in the Planning Organization of the time which surveying was also a part of its activities.
From 1951, foreign consultant engineers attended in the country for consultation and implementation of different projects. They received heavy charges for the cost of surveying operations.
During these years, a group Planning Organization experts (including Engineer Hami, Engineer Khanbaba Iravani and ... collaborating with Colonel Notash) came to the idea to establish an organization with the ability to meet all the surveying needs of the country.
On 27 May 1953, by pursuing the case to prepare a map of the whole country and conformity with all surveying operations done by all government bodies and institutions throughout the country, the government of the time enacted the law to establish National Cartographic Center affiliated to the Planning Organization of the time.
After this decision, the late Engineer Ebrahimi, who had completed his postgraduate studies in photogrammetry in the Netherlands, was given the mission to establish National Cartographic Center.
After providing the groundwork, He was appointed as the first director general of National Cartographic Center.
This newly established organization began its work initially by recruiting surveyors from other organizations as well as by providing equipment, and then by holding educational courses for training work force, provided the groundwork for achieving the up-to-date surveying technology which was common in developed countries at that time through aerial photography and aerial photo restitution.
Local and foreign professors were teaching in these classes and during four of these courses, many students managed to pass, by the help of the United Nations and the scholarships awarded by other countries as well as the finance from NCC, some of these graduates were sent to educational centers of developed countries to study higher education and gain experience.
It is necessary to mention that in 1965, after several years of training recess, the High School of Surveying was established by obtaining the necessary licenses from the authorities of higher education of the country and continued its activities up to the victory of the Islamic Revolution.
By the establishment of National Cartographic Center and utilization of modern technologies based on the aforementioned trainings and equipping it with advanced equipment such as aircraft, photogrammetry instruments, printing tools, distance meters, surveying cameras, cartographic equipment and … effective steps were taken in implementing construction plans.
NCC has always played an important role in all construction plans of the country such as urbanization, dam construction, irrigation, road construction, electric power transmission, mining and preparation of cadastral maps by surveying, aerial photography and preparing different maps.
During the Holy Defense, NCC has provided valuable services for preparing border maps.
Preparation of maps at the scale 1:10,000 of Abadan Island (Faw to Chazaba) can be mentioned during this period of time as an example.
In the construction period after the holy defense, National Cartographic Center initiated to perform extensive activities including manpower training, purchase of equipment, planning of various projects and plans including the preparation of national coverage maps of 1:25000 scale and national Atlases, completion of base networks, preparation of marine charts, preparation of digital maps of different cities of the country at 1:2000 scale, establishment of national spatial database, preparation and publication of various thematic maps of the country which are still continuing.
Over the past five decades, NCC has proved its place as the main producer of maps and spatial information in the country.
In the glorious years after the Islamic Revolution, NCC succeeded in presenting maps and spatial information as one of the key elements of planning, management and Knowledge-Based Development which were defined for the twenty year vision and five-year development plans of the country by expanding the users domain as well as map and spatial information application.
At present, through using maps and spatial information provided by National Cartographic Center, different databases with numerous applications have been established in the country and concerning the offered activities and services, NCC has had the support of a wide range of users while performing the governance role of advocating the private sector in surveying tasks.
Based on the available documents in maps and spatial information production, the ability and place of the country is evident compared to developing countries and some developed countries. To prove this, the preparation and revision of more than 9000 sheets of country coverage maps at 1:25000 scale, as well as preparation of digital maps of most parts of the cities of the country at 1:2000 scale can be mentioned.
NCC is legally an independent organization affiliated to the Plan and Budget Organization of the country.