Survey of India is the oldest government department in India. Here is an interesting post about one of the complex surveys it took in 1800 to measure the curvature of the earth as well as the Indian sub-continent.
Originally set up in 1767, the Survey of India is the government's oldest department and in charge of all of the its mapping and surveying efforts. Since coordinating the Great Trigonometric Survey, it has expanded over the years to 23 geospatial data centers and 18 divisions that range in responsibilities from tides to aerial survey. The agency uses GIS extensively in its mapping activities.