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The first satellite image of Earth was taken in 1959. At that time, as far as I can tell, aerial photography and stereoplotters were used to produce topographic maps with accuracy that I imagine would have depended mostly on the quality of the aerial photographs, but probably down to a few meters. For larger maps depicting the Earth, I think the answer ...


The maps were almost as accurate as they are after the launch of satellites. And this has little to do with air photography. And celestial navigation ("sextants" hinted in the previous message) was responsible only for mapping of remote islands. The main method of making accurate maps was geodesic survey. One begins with laying a base, that is measure ...

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