Struve Geodetic Arc

The Struve Geodetic Arc represents one of the largest and most spectacular attempts to explore and determine the size and shape of the planet, carried out by the astronomer Professor Friedrich George Wilhelm Struve (1793-1864) in 1816-1855. The Geodetic Arc is a chain of survey triangulations, composed of 258 triangles with special marks at the vertexes. It stretches from Hammerfest in Norway to the Izmail on the Black Sea in Ukraine – through 10 countries and over 2,822 km. Precise details of the Earth’s parameters were important not only in geodesy, but also astronomy, navigation and cartography. Length of arc is 2822 km. Triangulation chain is composed of 258 triangles with special marks at the vertexes. Mean side length of triangle is 27 km, but there are sides with length over 50 km. It passes through 10 countries: Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russian Federation, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine. The Struve Arc in total consists of 265 points. The largest number of points – 83 is in Finland, while in Lithuania – 18.

The Struve Geodetic Arc was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2005 under the three criteria:

- the first accurate measuring of a long segment of a meridian, helping in the establishment of the exact size and shape of the world exhibits an important step in the development of the Earth sciences. It is also an extraordinary example for interchange of human values in the form of scientific collaboration among scientists from different countries. It is at the same time an example for collaboration between leaders of different countries, for scientific benefits;

- the Struve Geodetic Arc is undoubtedly an outstanding example of technological ensemble – presenting the triangulation points of the measuring of the meridian, being the non movable and non tangible part of the measuring technology;

- the measuring of the Arc and its results are directly associated with men wondering about his world, its shape and size. It is linked with Sir Isaac Newton‘s theory that the World is not an exact sphere.

This Arc complements to the variety of the World Heritage. The Struve Geodetic Arc is a first cross boarder international nomination in the World Heritage List proposed by 10 countries. This is one of the first nominations of a very great significance to the development of geodesy, cartography and astronomy sciences.