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From the northern coast of Norway to the southern coast of Ukraine runs a chain of survey triangulation points that together forms the Struve Geodetic Arc. It stretches from Hammerfest (Norway) on the shores of the Arctic Ocean to Nekrasivka (Ukraine) by the Black Sea, a distance of 2,820 km, snaking in and out of numerous territories, that today belong to ten different countries. The arc was established by the German-born Russian scientist Friedrich Georg Wilhelm von Struve, who undertook a thirty-nine-year-long survey, between 1816 and 1855, to determine the shape and size of the earth. The survey yielded the first accurate measurement of a meridian arc, which in turn allowed the first precise measurement of the earth’s diameter.

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The northernmost station of the Struve Geodetic Arc is located in Fuglenes, Norway. Photo credit: Francesco Bandarin/Wikimedia

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