Augustus Heinrich Petermann (1822 - 1898)
In 1847, Petermann moved to London and in 1850 founded his own establishment: The Geographical Establishment, Engraving, Lithographic and Printing Office. In 1852 Ernst Georg Ravenstein (1834–1913) was apprenticed to him, before he went in 1855 into the service of the Topographical Department of the British War Office.
Petermann's firm published, among other things, maps for the Journal of the Royal Geographical Society and thorugh this he established lifelong relationships with many scientists, politicians and explorers. In 1847, he became a member of the RGS. When he was 28 in 1850 he was elected under-Secretary. In 1868 he was awarded with the prestigious 'Founders medal' of the RGS. Queen Victoria, at the suggestion of Robert Bunsen, appointed him 'physical geographer-royal'. Early in his career, Petermann already wanted to further the cause of geographical exploration as shown by his concern for and interference with James Richardson's expedition. The purpose of this expedition, which was supported by the British government, was to negotiate trade treaties with the rulers of the middle Sudan. Petermann, supported by Carl Ritter and Robert Bunsen, pleaded with the British government to let Heinrich Barth and Adolf Overweg join up with Richardson’s expedition to assure that geographical and scientific aspects which they might encounter were taken care of. When still affiliated with the Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Erdkunde, he published their progress in this journal, and when he started his very influential, Petermanns geographische Mitteilungen.
This journal, which still exists today, greatly influenced the development of scientific geography and cartography in Germany in the nineteenth century. Numerous articles have been published by recognized experts in this field, along with a multitude of illustrations, showing maps, prints and photographs. The journal developed into an important publication, setting the standard in the history of the great expeditions and discoveries, and European colonial matters.
His long stay in Britain made him familiar with the best in British and German geography, and as he was fluent in both languages and having learnt French helped him to read widely.