The Survey Department Nepal (NSD) in the Ministry of
Land Reform and Management is the central organization
for all mapping services in the country and undertakes cadastral,
geodetic and topographic surveys. It was founded in
1958, compiles cadastral, topographic, administrative and
land resource mapping and is establishing an active digital
mapping program with new topographic coverage,
following substantial Canadian, German, Japanese and
Finnish technical aid programs.
Until the 1960s mapping of the country was carried out in
conjunction with the Survey of India, and conformed to standard
specifications established across the sub-continent. A
one-inch map of Nepal in 266 15' quads was started under
the Colombo plan in the 1950s, based upon survey data completed
by NSD in 1962. This series was on a polyconic projection,
Everest ellipsoid, and showed relief with 100 ft
contours. The series was completed in 1980, and
photographically enlarged to 1:50,000 scale as an interim
measure pending modernization of the mapping infrastructure.
Meanwhile American 1:250,000 scale (Series U502) maps
were compiled from Survey of India quarter-inch coverage.
The final initiative is to update the topographic coverage
and establish a new geodetic framework for topographic
mapping. New basic scale mapping of the country has been
started by NSD, which will offer metric 1:25,000 scale
coverage of the terrain and lower mountain ranges and
1:50,000 scale coverage of the more mountainous parts of
Nepal. This program will result in polychrome hard copy
mapping on the UTM projection and was started in 1989.
1:25,000 scale coverage of the Lumbini zone has been
compiled in a cooperative arrangement with the Japanese
technical aid agency JICA and completed in 1992, while
Finland has been assisting in the compilation of 1:25,000
and 1:50,000 scale coverage of the eastern and central development
regions. This area has been used as a pilot for the
introduction of a new digital mapping system, and there are
plans to capture the whole of the new topographic mapping
and to institute a policy of continuous update based upon
recent aerial photography. Hard copy map publication of the
remaining western parts of the country should have been
completed by Year 2000.
High quality topographic mapping of East Nepal has been
carried out by the Arbeitsgemeinschaft fϋr Vergleichende
Hochgebirgsforschung. These were published in the Nepal
Kartenwerk series, mostly at 1:50 000 scale, in
German and English and with 40 m contours. The major
Himalayan summits and trekking areas are covered and the
series extends down to Kathmandu, with the valley and
Kathmandu itself covered.
Soviet military topographic mapping of Nepal is available at the following scales: 1:1,000,000 (4 sheets, complete coverage, published 1958-1973);
1:500,000 (8 sheets, complete coverage, published 1970-1987); 1:200,000 (38 sheets, complete coverage, published 1955-1987) and a city (1:10,000) topographic map of
Kathmandu published in 1979. These products are available in print, digital raster and digital vector GIS formats from East View Geospatial.
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