Karl Ramsayer

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Karl Heinrich Ramsayer (born September 29, 1911 in Schwäbisch Gmünd , † December 24, 1982 near Stuttgart ) was a German geodesist and long-time professor at the University of Stuttgart. He is considered the doyen of geodetic astronomy and the first connection between electronics , navigation and geosciences .


Ramsayer, the son of a machinist, studied geodesy at the TH Stuttgart from 1931 and became a qualified engineer in 1935. From 1938 to 1941 he was a research assistant at the German Aviation Research Institute in Berlin - Adlershof . In 1943 he became head of the group for terrestrial and astronomical navigation. He headed the group until 1945.

Ramsayer received his doctorate in Berlin in 1940 with the dissertation The change in the elements of magnetic interference areas with altitude and their influence on flight navigation .

University professor and researcher in Stuttgart

From 1946 Ramsayer was a lecturer, in 1947 first extraordinary, then full university professor for surveying and institute director at the Geodetic Institute of the TH (later the University of Stuttgart ). As such, he founded the Institute for Flight Navigation in the 1960s . Under his leadership, the latter developed into a global contact for positioning in aviation and its beginning of automation .

Development of global and German flight navigation

In the late 1970s, the flight navigation group mostly had over 30 employees in research, development and teaching. Up until that time it was the only institution within the industrialized countries that had specialized in new methods of navigation and flight guidance .

Research into dead reckoning was groundbreaking, including the development of the first automatic coupling card based on measurements with Doppler radar . This enabled the pilots to be relieved of "annoying" but important locating tasks on the one hand, and on the other hand the accuracy of the position determination increased by more than 50%.
Other important topics of the Institute for Flight Navigation were astronomical navigation , the development of functional calculating machines (several patents) and the further development of sextants and optimal map projections for flight maps . Ramsayer founded the new, demanding field of integrated navigation : this is understood to mean a combination of 5 to 10 very different location methods for the optimal combination of their advantages and compensation for their weaknesses. Several large projects within the framework of NATO and numerous test flights with various developments showed the importance of this work.

Ramsayer led the Geodetic Institute until May 1980 and the one for flight navigation until 1981. Erik Grafarend was the successor to the former , while the latter was led by the physicist Philipp Hartl into the age of GPS and remote sensing .

Ramsayer and geodesy

Ramsayer appeared strict, reserved and extremely determined to his assistants and employees. In his private life he was reportedly extremely amiable. He lived in a suburb of Stuttgart after his retirement, but died relatively soon afterwards.

On May 21, 1976 , the Agricultural Faculty of the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn awarded him the title of Dr. "in recognition of his exceptional services to the development of the methodology of astronomical-geodetic observations and the solution of the height problem in three-dimensional geodetic networks". -Ing. honoris causa . Shortly before his death in 1982 , he received the greatest honor in Austrian geodesy, the Friedrich Hopfner Medal from the Vienna University of Technology .

He published several specialist books and several hundred articles in specialist journals and at congresses. Among the diversity of his research topics are: three-dimensional and integrated geodesy , numerous precision studies for surveying and navigation as well as the standard work on geodetic astronomy listed below .

Specialist literature

  • Geodetic Astronomy (1969): Geodetic Astronomy . Handbook of Surveying Volume IIa, JB Metzler-Verlag Stuttgart; with 900 pages and to date unsurpassed completeness.
  • Ceremonial colloquium on May 9th, 1980 on the occasion of the farewell to o. Prof. Dr-Ing. Karl Ramsayer from the Geodetic Institute of the University of Stuttgart. DGK series E, issue 19, Munich 1981, ISBN 3-7696-9664-6 .
  • Ceremonial lecture at the Vienna University of Technology (1982), and overview of Ramsayer's life's work: Österr. Journal for Surveying and Photogrammetry (ÖZfVuPh), 70th year, pp. 231–233, Verlag Rohrer, Baden near Vienna.


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Large district town of Schwäbisch Gmünd. Personnel. In: ostalb unicorn. Quarterly issues for Heimat und Kultur in Ostalbkreis , No. 37/38, Arbeitsgemeinschaft Einhorn-Verlag E. Dietenberger GmbH and Ostalbverlag - Schwäbischer Heimatverlag Dietenberger & Theiss oHG, Schwäbisch Gmünd / Aalen 1983, p. 148
  2. ^ Honorary doctorates from the agricultural faculty of the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn . Compiled in November 2013 from doctoral files from the Faculty of Agriculture and from chronicles from the University of… Erich Weiß , updated in May 2018. Bonn-Poppelsdorf 2018, p. 16, serial no. 59 ( PDF ).
  3. ↑ Ceremonial speeches and lecture in the Austrian magazine for measurement and photogrammetry (ÖZfVuPh), 70th year (1982), pp. 231-233. Portrait of the honored is also on the website of the Austrian Geodetic Commission . Retrieved July 18, 2018.