Coffee with ICE and a talk on The Newlyn Datum – lead speaker Kimble West
All heights recorded on maps are defined as being AOD – Above Ordnance Datum. It is the nationally recognised reference point, the zero, the fixed point from which all heights are measured and expressed. This fixed point has been the reference for engineers, surveyors, architects, cartographers and millions of map readers for nearly a century.
Between the 1st May 1915 and 30th April 1921 a series of measurements of highest and lowest astronomical tide levels were taken at Newlyn. This exercise was carried out in order to provide the UK with a new fixed datum to be used in our understanding and adaptation of the built and natural environment.
The Greenwich Meridian is marked by a sky-splitting laser beam. Anybody who has experienced the joys of Greenwich on a warm summer’s evening will have gazed skywards and wondered at the green slash marking another datum point in a different plane; the point at which all time across the planet is referenced – Greenwich Mean Time.
Ordnance Datum is every bit as important. It is an almost unrecognized partner in the world of our civilization. The parameters of Time and Level are key to any major engineering project and it is time that Ordnance Datum was recognized.
OD was established in 1921. It is now 2018 which means we have around 2 years in which to come up with a fitting centenary event to celebrate and recognise this important piece of history and one of the defining points of our civilisation as we know it.