The national mapping agency in Malawi is the Survey
Department (MSD) which is responsible for the publication
of official mapping of the country including topographic and
some thematic surveys. MSD was set up in its present form
in 1950, but prior to independence in 1960 mapping was
largely carried out in British colonial programs administered
through the Federal Surveys of Rhodesia and Nyasaland
by the British Directorate of Overseas Surveys (DOS) (now
Ordnance Survey International (OSI)). 1:50,000 scale
mapping was instigated in the 1950s, on the Transverse
Mercator projection, modified Clarke 1880 ellipsoid, and
using quarter-degree sheet lines. Contoured editions were
introduced in the 1960s, the latest specification of this series
had 50 ft intervals and the series was completed in 1971.
Revision continued until the mid-1980s, when sheets in a
new metric series on UTM grid zone sheet lines started to
appear. This new map has 20 m contours and will eventually
replace the old quarter-degree mapping, but sheets from
the older series will continue to be available until the new
series is completed.
New 1:250,000 scale mapping in 10 sheets was
completed between 1991 and 1996, replacing earlier
mapping at this scale on different sheet lines. This scale also
conforms to UTM specifications, and has 100 m contours.
New single-sheet 1:1,000 000,scale mapping also follows
UTM specifications and is published as a tourist edition,
complete with inset town plans and a smaller scale map on
Soviet military topographic mapping of Malawi exists at the following scales: 1:1,000,000 (3 sheets, complete coverage, published in 1985);
1:500,000 (8 sheets, complete coverage, published 1983-1985) and 1:200,000 (30 sheets, complete coverage, published 1981-1984). These products are
available in print, digital raster and digital vector GIS formats from East View Geospatial.
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