150 Years of Modern Surveying in Japan

Japan 2019-06-03

On June 3, 2019, in honor of the annual Surveying Day, Japan Post issued a sheet of 10 stamps marking 150 years of modern surveying in Japan. The horizontal formatted stamps all have JPY 82 (USD 0.75)  denominations. The images on the stamps depict important surveying instruments, infrastructure, and surveying processes in Japan. Images depicting surveying tasks and historical surveying events during the 150 years are shown in the selvedge.   The sheet marks 150 years since the Meiji Government, in 1869, established a modern surveying institute within the Ministry of Civil Service. The institute was tasked to compile a uniform land survey of Japan that would promote national governance. New offices in the government were setup to augment the family register with map data, collect information on place names, and compile a gazetteer. Teams were sent into the field to carry out comprehensive triangulation and leveling using Western surveying techniques. Work on compiling and maintaining a nation-wide 1:50,000 scale series of topographic maps was also initiated. After World War II and the end of the allied occupation, Japan entered a period of social and economic growth. The need for surveying increased to meet the demand in the areas of road maintenance and construction, housing and urban development, and the enhancement of disaster prevention infrastructure. The Ministry of Construction and the Geographic Survey Institute oversaw these projects and continued development in both technical and legal aspects of surveying. This period also saw the start of the private sector surveying companies in Japan. During the last 20 years significant advances from the field of information and communication technology have been incorporated into the surveying domain and those advances continue today and will for the foreseeable future.

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