Scottish surveyor and cartographer whose maps established a standard of excellence for his time and probably inspired the early 18th-century surveys of Scotland. Between 1680 and 1686 he completed maps of the counties adjoining the River Forth as well as charts of the Firth of Forth, the River Clyde, and the west of Scotland. Manuscripts of these are in the National Library of Scotland and other libraries. Other maps and charts prepared by Adair also exist in manuscript. In 1703 he published the first part of his Description of the Sea-coast and Islands of Scotland, With Large and Exact Maps, for the Use of Seamen. The second part was never printed. Judging from his scrupulous delineations, Adair's search for perfection may have delayed completion of his work, but he was also hampered by the inadequacy of the public funds available for his work. In 1723 an annuity was granted to his widow for unpublished manuscripts that were later deposited in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, and in the British Museum.
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