Plane table outfit, 1745-1755.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
This plane table was made by Benjamin Cole. Plane tabling is a method of survey which allows observations to be plotted directly on a map by a surveyor in the field. Modern versions are still used today for filling in or updating detail on street plans; in the 18th century it gave a rapid map without requiring the transfer of notes and measurements from a notebook.