The Fram Museum has several theodolites from the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth. This one has the inscription: C. H. G. Olsen, Christiania, nr. 2.
Cartographers, surveyors and different engineers use them to find the specific topography of a certain location.
A theodolite is an instrument that measures horizontal and vertical angles.
In its form it consists of a telescope mounted to swivel both horizontally and vertically. After the telescope is adjusted precisely, the two accompanying scales, the vertical one and the horizontal one, are read.
The Fram theodolites were indispensable instruments during the great period of discoveries in the Polar Regions. On board the Fram, it was an essential part of the scientific equipment.
During the second Fram Expedition in the years 1898-1902, more than 150 000 square kilometres of new land was mapped. The participants went on extraordinary long sledge journeys to make maps - some of these were more than 1000 kilometres long.
The traditional theodolites are today replaced by electronic ones, so called total stations, and different forms of laser instruments. Reading is done electronically, and not with a microscope as in the old days.
Cartography and surveying are sciences and activities that aim at making maps or profiles of an area on the surface of the Earth. Contemporary surveying is mostly carried out with the use of GPS and the mentioned total stations. GPS stands for ‘global positioning system’.