Engineer geographer

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Engineer- geographers or genieographers were military officials with officer rank who were active in land surveying .


Tasks and skills

The Prussian engineering-geographers were initially intended for cartographic drawing work in 1790 . Through their use on the campaigns from 1792 onwards, the engineering geographers also gained experience in topographical mapping . From 1821 knowledge of geometry , plane and spherical trigonometry , algebra , logarithmic calculation of geographical coordinates and topographical recording were required; the required knowledge also enables them to teach. Nevertheless, they were only intended for the compilation and drawing of the results of the topographical recordings made in the field by the general staff officers. However, it was inevitable that, due to their training and many years of experience, they were entrusted with higher-quality work that was actually the task of the General Staff officers.

Organization development

The service branch of engineering geographers was created according to the ideas of Frederick the Great by cabinet order of May 20, 1790 and comprised 12 budget positions (service posts); Their status corresponded to that of a lower official with the salary of about a portepée-ensign due to the intended limited tasks . They belonged partly to the general quartermaster staff and partly to the engineering corps . In case of war, e.g. B. in the First Coalition War 1792–94, half of them joined the staffs of the army corps . - Because of their lack of military training, they enjoyed little respect. In the budget for 1804 they were therefore deleted again and replaced by Adjoints II. Class (initially referred to as officer geographers), which obviously did not work.

At the beginning of the wars of freedom , an order of March 15, 1813 again ordered the recruitment of 12 engineering geographers for the duration of the war. Now they could become "real officers ". Her uniform was that of the engineer corps, with a portepee but no silver braids and no officer's armpit flaps. Essentially, conductors (civil surveyors) were hired for this. On November 24, the number was doubled to 24, and on April 15, 1815, after a temporary decrease, it was increased to 30. - The peace budget of 1816 then only provided for 6 posts.

When the General Staff was established (1821), 5 engineering geographers were assigned to the topographic and 1 to the trigonometric bureau. On March 18, 1841, they were raised to the status of a premier lieutenant and included in the ranking of officers. In 1847 they were given the uniform of the General Staff while retaining the black plume. - In 1849 they were again put on the extinction budget; In 1851 there were still 3 budget offices, the owners of which left the service in 1866.

During the German-Danish War of 1864, the number of positions was increased again, but now filled with fireworkers (artillery field weavers) who had retired from active service and who had been trained as trigonometers and topographers . 24 fireworkers and chief fireworkers were immediately made available to the Bureau for Land Strangulation , formed in 1865 , as well as one of the former engineering geographers ( Bertram ), who had made great contributions to the trigonometric measurements of the General Staff for over 50 years and was retired captain in 1867. D. resigned.

For the German war against Austria in 1866 the command staffs were given 6 fireworkers as field engineer- geographers, in the Franco-German War 1870–71 it was 10. The term "engineer geographer" was used for the last time in the Prussian army.

Eminent engineering geographers

Between 1790 and 1866 there were a total of 73 engineering geographers known by name in Prussia. Of these stand out:

Other countries

The famous French Corps des Ingénieurs Géographes was founded in 1744. In France and also in Austria-Hungary, the engineering geographers were responsible for the entire national survey.


  • Oskar Albrecht: Contributions to the military surveying and mapping in Brandenburg-Prussia. Military Geographical Service of the Bundeswehr, series of publications, issue 34, 2001