Brian Adams (right) receiving honorary membership of the Society from chairman Dr Christopher Board at 2005 AGM Photo:Yo Hodson
Brian Adams was the professional mathematician with Hydrographic Department from 1945, retiring in 1980 as a Principal Civil Hydrographic Officer with the organisation's Whitehall unit. His later researches made him the authority on the mathematical basis of Ordnance Survey mapping - he immersed himself in the literature recording the various projections reportedly used over the years, and resolved by computation some doubtful cases of what could have been used and what could not. He ascertained the number of national and county origins used in mapping both Great Britain and Ireland, and where necessary recomputed their co-ordinate values. He also left partly completed work on the mathematical basis of one-inch Old Series mapping and the large scale town plans.
Brian was made an Honorary Member of the Charles Close Society in 2005. Brian's research papers, together with his associated maps and books have now been deposited in the Charles Close Society Archives The collection contains two overlapping bodies of material, reflecting his work with Hydrographic Department, then as a private researcher into Ordnance Survey mapping (1980-2005) - his collection of source books (a mixture of original volumes and photocopies) that supported his research, as well as what survives of his research papers. Most of the work he completed, both published and unpublished, has been gathered together in the volume Projections and Origins.
Fundamental to all this are Brian's private note books containing his "computations". Some material is held on other subjects which interested him, such as lettering styles of the Ordnance Survey, meridian marks, administrative areas.
His important collection of railway system diagrams and papers relevant to his railway interests are held by the Map Department of Cambridge University Library.
- C Ian M O'Brien's appreciation from Sheetlines 75, April 2006
- David Archer's appreciation from Projections and Origins, 2006
- See also Brian Adams, '"Parallel to the Meridian of Butterton Hill” – do I laugh or cry?’, Sheetlines 38 (1994)