The first accurate mapping of the mainland of Tanzania and
offshore islands Pemba and Zanzibar was carried out when
the state was administered as a trust territory by Great
Britain. The Directorate of Colonial Surveys (later
Directorate of Overseas Surveys (DOS) and now Ordnance
Survey International (OSI)) started a photogrammetric
1:50,000 scale series in 1947, which like other British
African mapping was based upon the Transverse Mercator
projection, Clarke 1880 ellipsoid, and quarter-degree quadrangles.
Early editions were planimetric. DOS established
full-color topographic mapping on the same sheet lines,
with 50 ft contours. The national mapping agency in
Tanzania, the Surveys and Mapping Division (SMD)
founded after independence in 1964, has continued to maintain
and revise this series as the basic scale for most of the
country. The current specification shows relief with a 20 m
contour interval and is available for the whole country in
1,250 sheets. SMD has received technical aid from Japan,
Poland, France, Britain, Italy and Canada to enable completion
and updating of this map, which is used to derive
A 1:250,000 scale map covers the country in 49 sheets,
conforming to DOS East African specifications in Series
Y503. Since 1970 these have been compiled from 1:50,000
scale data to show relief with metric layer tinting, but earlier
editions used imperial contours. Smaller-scale maps include
six sheets of the International map of the World, dating from
the 1960s. A single map on these sheet lines was produced
by DOS in the mid-1980s as an experimental LANDSAT-based
image map. 1:2,000,000 scale coverage from SMD is
regularly revised and a series of district maps is also
published, with the scale varying according to the size of
the administrative unit. About 60 settlements in Tanzania are mapped at
1:2,500 scale, and 1:5,000 scale coverage is derived from this
source for some areas. A full-color 1:20,000 scale map of
Dar-es-Salaam was published with Norwegian aid in 1995.
This is derived from 1992 aerial photographs, also includes
1:10,000 scale mapping of the city centre, and shows relief
with 10 m contours.
The island of Zanzibar has its own survey authority, the
Department of Surveys and Urban Planning in the
Ministry of Water Construction Energy Lands and
Environment, and Zanzibar and Pemba are mapped in
greater detail than most of the mainland. A seven-color
1:10,000 scale series was compiled by DOS to cover Zanzibar
in 58 sheets and issued between 1982 and 1986. This is on
the UTM projection and shows relief with 5 m contours.
Pemba was covered to similar specifications in 44 sheets
from 1985 to 1987. 1:50,000 scale maps were derived from
this source material. DOS urban mapping of towns on the
islands was also revised in the 1980s.
Soviet military topographic mapping of Tanzania is available at the following scales: 1:1,000,000 (7 sheets, complete coverage, published 1958-1977);
1:500,000 (22 sheets, complete coverage, published 1962-1985); 1:200,000 (46 sheets, primarily southern country coverage, published 1983-1984) and a city (1:10,000)
topographic map of Dar es Salaam published in 1980. These products are available in print, digital raster and digital vector formats from East View Geospatial.
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