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John Adair


c.1655 - 1722

Map-maker and surveyor. Born in Leith, Adair's first recorded work was a map of Clackmannanshire (1681). Commissioned by the privy council in Scotland to map the nation, he was so poorly paid he had to undertake surveys of private estates, such as Sir William Bruce's formal garden at Craigiehall, near Edinburgh. Adair was particularly noted for his mapping of the Hebrides, assisted by Martin Martin (1660 - 1718). Adair's work represented the first survey-based mapping of Scotland since that of Timothy Pont in the late 16th century and was noted for its quality and accuracy. Adair was described by Sir Robert Sibbald as a "Mathematician and skilful Mechanick".

He became a Fellow of the Royal Society (1688), Geographer to the King and a Burgess of Stirling (1685), the Canongate (1699) and Aberdeen (1706). He died at his home in the Canongate (Edinburgh).


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