Danson, Edwin 1948-
Danson, Edwin 1948-
Born June 10, 1948; son of Arthur and Muriel Danson; married Linda Danson, August 21, 1977; children: Dominic, Peter. Education: University of East London, master's degree, 1995. Hobbies and other interests: Writing and drawing.
Home—England. Office—Swan Consultants Ltd., Deers Leap, Bubwith Farm, Wookey Hole, Somerset BA5 1BA, England.
Surveyor and writer. Wimpol Ltd., Swindon, Wiltshire, England, development manager, 1983-1994; Kongsberg AS, Norway, communal director, 1994-1995; Fugro NV, Leidschendam, Netherlands, business manager, 1996-2000; Swan Consultants Ltd., Wookey Hole, Somerset, England, managing director, 2000—. Work-related activities include, University of Plymouth, external examiner, 2002; CEN Projects, United Kingdom, director, 2002; Island Fibre, Netherlands Antilles, consultant, 2002; Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors, vice president, 2004; Geospatial Engineering Board, London, England, chairman; ICES Hydrog Panel, London.
Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors (fellow; vice president, 2004); Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, Writers' Guild.
Drawing the Line: How Mason and Dixon Surveyed the Most Famous Border in America, John Wiley (New York, NY), 2001.
Contributor to professional journals.
Edwin Danson, a geodetic surveyor and a prominent authority in the field, has worked on assignments in numerous countries, including the United States. In his first book, Drawing the Line: How Mason and Dixon Surveyed the Most Famous Border in America, Danson examines the historical achievement of Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon, who, between 1763 and 1767, measured the 233 miles that form part of the borders of Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, and West Virginia (which was then part of Virginia). The accomplishment settled a border dispute between the British colonies, namely Lord Calvert's Maryland and the William Penn family's Pennsylvania. Long considered an impossible feat, this effort to lay out boundaries in the New World, according to Danson, was a significant accomplishment. "The boundary marked the end of the wilderness, and the beginning of America's Manifest Destiny," noted David Walton in the New York Times Book Review.
In his book, Danson, who scoured Mason's journal as a part of his research, follows the duo's trek in what was then the wilderness of America. "Their extraordinary attention to detail in the most challenging of circumstances was the most surprising," Danson noted in an interview in Point of Beginning. "For me, and I have yet to find anything to the contrary, the merger of the skills, methods, knowledge and characters of these two men and their American colleagues symbolizes the birth of geodetic field surveying." Drawing the Line received many favorable reviews. Ludwell H. Johnson III, writing in the Historian, commented that "the author has produced an expert and readable study of a difficult and important subject."
Danson's next book, Weighing the World: The Quest to Measure the Earth, also focuses on the art of surveying from about the 1660s on through the 1780s.
In this instance, the author provides a history of the efforts to resolve questions concerning the Earth's true shape in relation to map making. Beginning with the growth of scientific surveying in France in the 1660s, the author recounts many surveying accomplishments, such as surveying the length of longitude in the Andes in 1735. The author also profiles many of the French and British surveyors involved in the field in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Gilbert Taylor, writing in Booklist, noted that the author "enlivens data about geodetic surveying, transforming them into greatly interesting dramas of science." The author "has an excellent feel for the practicalities of surveying," wrote London Times contributor John North.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Biography, fall, 2001, David Walton, review of Drawing the Line: How Mason and Dixon Surveyed the Most Famous Border in America.
Booklist, December 1, 2005, Gilbert Taylor, review of Weighing the World: The Quest to Measure the Earth, p. 19.
Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, January, 2002, G.W. Franz, review of Drawing the Line, p. 900; July-August, 2006, C.G. Wood, review of Weighing the World, p. 2014.
Geotimes, October, 2006, Bill Carter, "Historical Deflections," review of Weighing the World, p. 49.
Historian, winter, 2002, Ludwell H. Johnson III, review of Drawing the Line, p. 446.
Isis, June, 2005, Silvio A. Bedini, review of Drawing the Line, p. 279.
New Scientist, January 14, 2006, Jeff Hecht, "The Great Game," review of Weighing the World, p. 52.
New York Times Book Review, August 19, 2001, David Walton, "Books in Brief: Nonfiction," review of Drawing the Line.
Point of Beginning, October, 2002, "An Interview with Author Edwin Danson: Pob Asked about His Book, Drawing the Line," p. 14.
SciTech Book News, June, 2006, review of Weighing the World.
Times (London, England), January 10, 2007, John North, "Weather Men," review of Weighing the World.
Wiley,http://www.wiley.com/ (November 27, 2007), brief profile of author.