The History of National Cartographic Center of Iran (NCC)
The History of National Cartographic Center of Iran (NCC)
During the Qajar era and by the efforts of Abbas Mirza, the son and crown prince of Fath-Ali Shah, some individuals were dispatched to Europe to learn new knowledge. At the time of the chancellorship of Mirza Taghikhan Amirkabir, the famous Chancellor of the Qajar era, the new School, Dar-ul Funun was established to expand and utilize the new sciences and technologies.
In this newly established school, the Austrian professors accompanied by Iranian graduates from Europe were teaching. One of the subjects taught at Dar-ul Funun was surveying. The surveying students of Dar-ul Funun, who some of them started teaching at that center thereafter, had been preparing some maps of the villages around Tehran parallel to their education.
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, defense, development and planning measures; due to familiarity with the application of surveying, some units were gradually established in military departments as well as in ministries and other organizations which required surveying and mapping services to meet their case requirements. 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.
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 of experts of the Planning Organization (including Engineer Hami, Engineer Khanbaba Iravani and ... cooperating with Colonel Notash) came to the idea of establishment of an organization with the ability to meet all the surveying and mapping demands throughout country.
On 27 May 1953, to prepare the overall map of the country and conform all surveying operations done by all government bodies and institutions throughout the country, the government of the time, enacted the law of establishment of National Cartographic Center affiliated to the Planning Organization of the time.
After the 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 the preliminary arrangements, he was appointed as the first Director General of National Cartographic Center.
This newly established organization initially started by recruiting some surveyors from other organizations as well as by providing tools and equipment, and then to provide the groundwork to achieve the up-to-date surveying technology which was common in developed countries of that time through aerial photography and aerial photo restitution, it made measures to hold educational courses for training work force.
In these classes, local and foreign professors were teaching and many trainees managed to pass during its four held courses. Later, by the support of the United Nations and the scholarships awarded by other countries as well as the finance from NCC, some of these graduates were dispatched 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 higher education authorities of the country. This center 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 facilities such as aircrafts, photogrammetry instruments, printing tools, distance meters, surveying cameras, cartographic equipment, etc. effective steps were taken in implementing of 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 provided valuable services for preparing borderline maps. Preparation of maps at the scale of 1:10,000 of Abadan (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 also initiated to perform extensive activities including workforce 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 the scale of 1:2000, establishment of national spatial database, preparation and publication of various thematic maps of the country.
Over more than five decades of being active, NCC has proved its role as the main leader of map production and spatial information in the country.
By expansion of the domain of users and applications of maps and spatial information in the last decade, NCC has also been successful in introducing spatial information as one of the key elements for planning, management and knowledge-based development in the direction of twenty-year development vision and five-year development plans of the country.
By continuing the present routine of producing different map and spatial information services by public and private sectors and establishment of different databases with various applications in the country in the coming years and considering the offered services and activities of NCC, the aim is to better enable this organization in interacting with its wide range of users and clients in offering optimum services.
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 supports a wide range of users and clients while providing the bases for the government supporting role in advocating the private sector in surveying activities.
Investigations show that the position and potential of the Islamic Republic of Iran in map and spatial information production is prominent comparing to other developing and developed countries. To prove the claim, the production and update of 9000 sheets of the coverage maps of the country at the scale of 1: 25000 and production of digital maps of most of the cities of the country at the scale of 1: 2000, can be mentioned.
NCC also undertakes the chairmanship of the Iranian National Committee on the Standardization of Geographical Names which its task is to coordinate and standardize the nomenclature of different places of the country.
Complete establishment of National Basic Location Information System and National Spatial Database Infrastructure (NSDI) are of other missions of NCC as the policy maker which enhances its role from being a mere spatial information producer to a coordinating and supervising organization that provides the necessary infrastructure for standardization of spatial information throughout the country and also the bases for sharing and exchange of spatial information in a national level.
Monitoring of land geometrical changes such as changes in elevation, gravity and surface which are of prominent importance in natural hazards management in plain subsidence and earthquake-prone areas, are also of the main tasks of NCC
NCC is legally affiliated to the Plan and Budget Organization of the country and its governing tasks are imparted by this organization, hence the role of NCC in supporting the activities of other ministries such as Ministry of Road and Urbanization, Ministry of Power, Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Agriculture is also considerable.