Detail from the frontispiece of 'The Surveyor', 1616.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Engraving by W H. This frontispiece is taken from 'The Surveyor', a book in four parts by Aaron Rathborne, published in London in 1616. This detail of the top half of the frontispiece shows a man using a theodolite. The theodolite, was one of the greatest innovations in the 16th century, and along with the plane table enabled the first truly accurate measurements to be made in geometrical surveying. First described by Leonard Digges in his work 'Pantometria' in 1571, it consisted of a horizontal circle divided into 360°, onto which an adjustable semi-circle was placed at right angles. Printed by W Stansby for W Burre.