Greenland was given home rule in 1979 and acquired the
status of a district nation within the Kingdom of Denmark.
Although the Danish government decided to map Greenland
as early as 1878, the first genuine topographic surveys were
conducted by the Lauge Koch expeditions to the
north of Greenland from 1917 to 1923, in 18 sheets at 1:300,000 scale.
The Geodetic Institute of Denmark (now Kort- og Matrikelstyrelsen
(KMS)) began surveying the settled coastal areas
in 1927 which led to the production of a series of 1:250,000
scale topographic sheets, which remain the basic mapping
for most of the island. A primary geodetic network was
established based on an astronomical station at Qoornoq.
Originally, map detail was provided by plane table survey,
but from 1932 to 1938 an extensive air survey was made of
the coastal areas from which photogrammetric compilation
of subsequent sheets was made. By 1964, the ice-free areas
of the country had all been photographed, and sheets have
been completed for almost all these areas. Early sheets
showed relief by hill shading, and contours with a brown
tone for upland and green for lowland. Later sheets have a
revised specification, with no relief shading, although a green
tone is retained for lowland, and ice-free upland is shown
in pale yellow. Contours are at 50 m intervals. The projection
is Lambert conformal conical with one standard parallel,
or UTM, based on the International ellipsoid, and the
datum, originally the Qoornoq Datum, is being changed to
North American Datum 1984. Place names are in Inuit and
Danish. Sheets in the series each cover 1° of latitude, with
west coast sheets identified by a prefix V and east coast
with a prefix Ø. Revision of these sheets is limited to important corrections.
A new aerotriangulation of Greenland was completed in 1998.
Soviet military topographic mapping of Greenland is available at the following scales: 1:1,000,000 (22 sheets, complete coverage, published 1954-1983);
1:500,000 (47, primarily coastal coverage, published 1962-1980) and 1:200,000 (264 sheets, primarily coastal coverage, published 1955-1967). These products are available in
print, digital raster and digital vector GIS formats from East View Geospatial.
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