As the Director/ Senior Deputy Surveyor General (Training) of the Institute of Surveying & Mapping, Diyatalawa (ISMD), I am privileged to introduce the Institute of Surveying and Mapping as the backbone of the Survey Department of Sri Lanka in producing of qualified professional surveyors to the country. ISMD is wholly committed to its services to the nation since its inception. Hence its worthwhile to context a brief historical overview of the institute.
The initiating idea of formal training for Surveyors was in the mind of Mr. G.Snider (1811-1833) when he was a Principal Surveyor in charge of Colombo district. He personally taught mathematics and astronomy for Apprentice Surveyors. The first formal training was started by Mr. W.C.S. Ingles on 19th October 1896. Those who successfully completed the training were offered the opportunity to either join Survey Department, as Apprentice Surveyors or to pass the Surveyor General’s licensing exam and practice as Licensed Surveyors.
With the introduction of the first tertiary education establishment in the country, the Maradana technical college, training of Surveyors was handed on to Maradana technical college in 1908. Surveyors trained at Maradana Technical College were provided a practical training at the Survey Department and recruited as Trainee Surveyors. However, this training process was found not up to standards and Surveyor General decided to have a Training School run by the Survey Department. As a result the Surveyor General’s Training School was established in 1910 at uplands, Modara. As the building occupied as training school at Modara was in dilapidated condition, a new location had to be found out.
Finally, an ideal location was found for the training school, which was the deserted Boer war prisoner’s camp located in Diyatalawa. Accordingly, the Surveyor General Mr. A.J. Wickwar ordered the inception of Surveyor’s Training School in Diyatalawa on 1st March 1924. Over the time, It was necessary to introduce new technologies such as Photogrammetry, Electromagnetic Distance Measurements etc. to uplift the surveyors technical capacity. As a result, the Surveyor General’s Training School was upgraded as the Institute of Surveying and Mapping on 21st of February 1967 with the assistance of the United Nations Development Programme. Later, Institute of Surveying and Mapping was established under the Parliamentary Act no. 21 of 1969.
With the rapid development of technologies of Land Surveying, Satellite Positioning, Remote Sensing, Photogrammetry and Geographic Information Systems, the introduction of the Bachelor Degree Course in Surveying was very much in demand. The Institute of Surveying & Mapping commenced the first Bachelor Degree Course in Surveying in the country as empowered by the Gazette no. 620/4 issued by the Higher Education Ministry on 24th July 1990.
Institute of Surveying & Mapping has been serving the nation as the pioneer in education of Geo Informatics and Land Management. Our focal point is to be the best educational institute in Land Management and Geo Informatics in the Asian region.
N. J. Wijenayake,
Director/ Senior Deputy Surveyor General (Training),
Institute of Surveying and Mapping,