Observations of the large-scale organisation of matter in the Universe are of great importance in present day astronomy. In the visible part of the spectrum such observations are mainly of the distribution of galaxies on the plane of the sky.
Direct and objective prism plates obtained using large Schmidt telescopes form the bulk of the material used. The direct plates provide the observations from which the surface distribution of galaxies may be determined and the prism plates and FLAIR, via redshifts, yield extragalactic distances and hence the three dimensional distribution of galaxies.
For large-scale surveys the measuring machines used need to be multi-purpose and fast such as COSMOS and SUPER-COSMOS at the Royal Observatory Edinburgh. More specific programs can make use of smaller, slower machines such as iris photometers and microdensitometers.
The method of analysing the data produced rely on seeking density enhancements in the general field of galaxies for cluster detection or using correlation techniques for analysis of the galaxy distribution.
A description is given of a southern sky catalogue containing 109 objects recently completed and an outline of some of the extragalactic projects underway using this large body of data.