Fact Box: Who was William Lambton?

Lieutenant-Colonel William Lambton was a British soldier, surveyor, and geographer.

  • He made remarkable contribution as the Superintendent of the Trigonometrical Survey of India, which he began in 1802.
  • He launched his work from St Thomas Mount in Chennai and mapped the south India.
  •  Trigonometrical Survey of India was launched by the British who had conquered vast territories in India but didn’t have geographic knowledge of the areas they conquered. An extensive survey was essential for their administrative purposes, which eventually became the Great Trigonometrical Survey.
  • He took part in the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War in 1799. After the capture of Mysore Lambton proposed that the territory be surveyed, using the new techniques of geodesy employed by William Roy in Great Britain, and this was approved.
  • It was Lord Wellesley who realized the necessity of a survey in the southern part of India after the fall of Srirangapatnam in 1799. Three surveys started simultaneously. While Francis Buchanan started the agricultural survey of Malabar and Mysore, Colin Mackenzie began a survey based on topography. William Lambton, who participated in the Mysore war in 1799, was made the superintendent of the Trigonometrical Survey.