The Sri Lanka Survey Department (SLSD) carries out
geodetic, cadastral and topographical surveying and publishes
official mapping of Sri Lanka. Its history can be traced
back to the establishment of a survey office in Colombo in
1800. Survey of India mapping of the island in the nineteenth
century included quarter-inch coverage and larger
scale cadastral mapping, and following reorganization of
mapping in 1897 a one-inch topographic map was started.
This series on a Transverse Mercator projection, Everest ellipsoid
was completed in 1924. The current specification uses 100 ft contours,
updated from aerial photographic coverage and is published
in seven colors.
New 1:50,000 scale maps started to appear in 1983 in the
Agricultural base mapping project. This series covers Sri Lanka
in 89 sheets and also uses the Transverse Mercator projection,
Everest ellipsoid, with relief shown by 10 m contours
in flatter areas and 20 m contours in hilly regions. This series
serves as a topographic map, but also gives a detailed breakdown
of land cover and land use. 1:10,000 scale mapping
of Sri Lanka has also been started. Some 25 sheets are
published for each 1:50,000 quadrangle; complete national
coverage would comprise of 1,835 sheets. By May 1997 334
sheets had been published, covering areas of highest development
potential. These multi-color maps also feature a
detailed land use classification, and show relief with a 2 m
contour interval on the plains and a 5 m interval in hilly
regions. A new 1:250,000 scale map in four sheets was
recently published to replace the regularly revised quarter-inch
Soviet military topographic mapping of Sri Lanka is available at the following scales: 1:1,000,000 (2 sheets, complete coverage, published in 1974);
1:500,000 (5 sheets, complete coverage, published 1963-1973); 1:200,000 (19 sheets, complete coverage, published in 1973) and a city (1:10,000) topographic map of Colombo
published in 1979. These products are available in print, digital raster and digital vector GIS formats from East View Geospatial.
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