New Zealand to support Everest height re-measurement

Kathmandu, August 1

New Zealand today announced that it would support the government’s effort to re-measure the height of Mount Everest.

According to a statement issued by the Embassy of New Zealand in New Delhi, the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade is supporting Dr Chris Pearson, a New Zealand geodesist who will spend four weeks working with the Survey Department of Nepal to assist them in planning the project and processing data from its early phases.

“The project led by the Survey Department of Nepal involves the use of both conventional surveying techniques similar to those used by George Everest (who surveyed Mount Everest in the 19th century) and a modern global positioning system receiver that will be taken to the top of the mountain to measure its height,” the statement said. The project is expected to be completed by mid-2019.

This year marks the 65th anniversary of Sir Edmund Hillary’s and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa’s successful ascent of Mount Everest. “The legacy of this historic achievement on 29 May 1953 continues to underpin New Zealand’s close and warm relations with Nepal, as well as support its further growth. It is, therefore, a proud moment for us at the New Zealand Embassy to support this important initiative to help us ascertain the correct height of this renowned geological landmark,” says Joanna Kempkers, the New Zealand Ambassador to Nepal.

“It is an honour for New Zealand to be assisting the Department of Survey and the Government of Nepal with this important and high profile task of re-measuring Mount Everest, the highest mountain in the world and an iconic tourism attraction for Nepal. We are also pleased to have been able to provide targeted technical support to Nepal following the earthquakes,” said Lisa Choegyal, New Zealand Honorary Consul to Nepal.

“We are absolutely delighted to have New Zealand’s help and Dr Chris Pearson’s expertise has been very valuable to our Department”, says Niraj Manandhar deputy director general of Geodetic Survey Division Department of Survey, Nepal.

Many geologists have argued that the April 2015 quake may have shrunk the mountain by about three centimetres, while the current officially recognised height of Mount Everest is 8,848 metres.

In addition to Dr Pearson’s contribution, Trimble NZ, which is a US-based firm that manufactures advanced positioning solutions, has donated a complimentary licence of their GPS processing software for use in analysing the data collected during the project. They also plan to lend two state of the art GPS receivers for use during the summit measurement, the statement read.

Prior to being involved with this project, Dr Pearson led a successful post-earthquake survey mapping project along with Nepal’s Survey Department in 2015 to help the country rebuild after the two massive earthquakes earlier that year. The earthquakes caused the ground to move by about 2 metres, sending coordinates in geographic information system and geodetic databases ‘well off’ their actual locations.