150 years Austrian Geodetic Commission

On June 2, 1863, Kaiser Franz Josef I. authorized the accession of Austria to the Central European arc measurement commission and appointed the following commissioners: the director of the Military-Geodetic Institute of the Austrian-Hungarian Monarchy (Militärgeographisches Institutes, MGI) major general August v. Fligely, the director of Vienna’s university observatory (Wiener Universitätssternwarte) Karl v. Littrow and Dr. Josef Herr, professor for geodesy at the Polytechnisches Institut Wien (later known as Vienna Universit of Technology).

Thus, Austria was the third state – after the founding states Prussia and Saxony – that recognized the importance of the determination of the Earth’s figure by utilizing geodetic methods in the frame of an international collaboration.

Two years later already 16 member states joined the first general meeting of the Central European arc measurement commission. 1867 the Central European arc measurement was extended and renamed to European arc measurement (“Europäische Gradmessung”). Hence, following the initiative of the Prussian lieutenant-general Johann Jakob Baeyer in 1981, throught Europe a firm political foundation for the determination of the Earth’s figure was established.

Accordingly, June 2, 1863, can be considered as the hour of birth of the Austrian arc measurement commission, which was followed by the successor organisation the Austrian commission for international Earth measurement (Österreichische Kommission für die Internationale Erdmessung, ÖKIE) in 1887. In 1995 the ÖKIE was renamed to its present notation Austrian Geodetic commission (Österreichische Geodätische Kommission, ÖGK).

The 150th anniversary of the ÖGK was celebrated on November 7, 2013.