The Commonwealth of the Bahamas has been an independent
nation since 1973. It consists of about 700 islands (only
22 of them inhabited) and numerous small cays, spread over
a 1200 km stretch of ocean.
Topographic survey was initiated by the British Directorate
of Overseas Surveys (DOS) (now Ordnance Survey International),
who began publishing a 1:25,000 series (DOS
358) from 1962. These map sheets were issued as multi-sheet
sets for each island group, and the DOS completed
mapping of Cat Island, Eleuthera, Grand Bahama, Abaco
and New Providence. The five-color maps were all on a
Transverse Mercator projection (Clarke 1866 ellipsoid) with
UTM grid and, where there was sufficient relief, contours
at 25 ft intervals. DOS also published, in 1961-63, 11 sheets
of contoured urban mapping at 1:2,500 scale covering Nassau (DOS 158).
Since 1972, topographic survey has been the responsibility
of the Department of Lands and Surveys (BLS), Nassau,
and mapping of all the remaining island groups was
completed in the 1970s with new BLS series designations.
Maps were compiled and drawn by Fairey (later Clyde)
Surveys from 1967 air survey cover. The maps differ somewhat
in specification from the DOS maps, and have 20 m
interval contours. The maps are all at 1:25,000 scale with
the exception of the Bimini Island Group, for which
1:10,000 scale maps were published. A total of 182 sheets
at 1:25,000 scale and 10 at 1:10,000 are needed to give
complete coverage of The Bahamas. BLS has also issued
1:10,000 scale maps of most islands. Nassau and other
built-up areas have been published at 1:2,500 scale.
The BLS maps are listed in the island group
series by which they were published. The most recent official
mapping appears to be a large general map of the islands
at 1:1,000,000 produced for BLS in 1988 by Clyde Surveys,
together with a companion hydrographic chart at a slightly
smaller scale. Both are on the Mercator projection.
Soviet military topographic mapping is available at the following scales: 1:1,000,000 (4 sheets, complete coverage, published 1963-1966);
1:500,000 (10 sheets, complete coverage, published 1979-1983) and 1:200,000 (43 sheets, mostly complete coverage, published 1976-1983).
These products are available in print, digital raster and digital vector GIS formats from East View Geospatial.
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