Gambia is a linear West African state extending 150
miles inland along the Gambia river. The Department of
Lands and Survey (GDLS) in Banjul is responsible for
surveying and mapping and has published topographic
and cadastral maps with support from British, German and
American aid in the years since World War II.
The British Directorate of Colonial Surveys (later Directorate
of Overseas Surveys (DOS) and now Ordnance Survey
International (OSI)) initiated modern mapping of the
country with an uncontoured 30-sheet map. This was superseded
by a 20-sheet photomap also on the Transverse
Mercator projection, Clarke 1880 ellipsoid (Series DOS
415P), compiled from 1972 aerial coverage and published
between 1975 and 1977 with hachures and spot heights
indicating relief. Since the 1970s photomaps have been
extensively used to enable rapid creation of a modern map
base of the largely flat flood plain topography. Other DOS
mapping at this date included a 1:25,000 scale eight-sheet
topographic map of the Kombo Peninsula with 10 m
contours. This series was derived in part from photogrammetric
plotting and in part from a 1:10,000 scale coastal
strip map, published with a 5 m contour interval. Larger
scale programs of cadastral maps were updated using
aerial coverage in the DOS programmes and cover all the
main settlements in the country at 1:1,250, 1:2,500 and
1:5,000 scales. These sheets are available from GDLS as diazo
prints. DOS also published a two-sheet 1:250,000 scale map
of Gambia. A map of electoral districts at this scale is also published.
In the 1980s a new basic scale map was surveyed for the
whole country in 526 1:10,000 scale sheets. This diazo land
use photomap was produced by the German Agency for
Technical Cooperation, in conjunction with other German
agencies. Urban growth centers were also mapped in this program and published as full
topographic editions in 44 1:10,000 scale sheets. Other
mapping in the late 1980s included
the publication of a number of 20-sheet 1:50,000 themes
and four-sheet 1:125,000 scale resources series. Land use,
forest cover, agriculture and rangelands were compiled.
Since 1992 Gambia has used American, and German funding to establish an integrated environmental
action plan, building upon these resources maps. It has been
proposed to establish a decentralized environmental information
system under the aegis of the new National
Environment Centre, with existing 1:50,000 scale
mapping captured and held in a structured digital database.
New 1:25,000 scale colour aerial coverage was flown in
1993, and new black and white coverage a year later. It is
intended to use the information system to derive 1:125,000
scale datasets for environmental management and to extend
digital mapping to cadastral systems. A number of land use
scales have already been compiled, including new 1:30,000
scale coverage of Banjul.
Soviet military mapping of Gambia is available at the following scales: 1:1,000,000 (1 sheet, complete coverage, published in 1986);
1:500,000 (2 sheets, complete coverage, published in 1985) and 1:200,000 (8 sheets, complete coverage, published 1985-1986).
These products are available in paper, digital raster and digital vector GIS from East View Geospatial.
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