A basic topographic survey at 1:25,000 scale was started in the 1950s by the former USSR, and renewed and completed by the Chinese during the period 1965-75. 1:10,000 scale maps of the lowland areas were also compiled. The present government mapping organization is the Army Topographic Institute, (Institutin Topografik të Ushtrisë (ITU)), Tiranë, established in 1975.
The country is completely covered by topographic maps at scales of 1:25,000, 1:50,000, 1:100,000 and 1:200,000, and 1:10,000 scale mapping currently covers the western part of the country. Maps are in six colors, with contour intervals ranging from 80 m on the 1:200,000 scale series, via 40 m on the 1:100,000 and 20 m on the 1:50,000 to 10 m on the 1:25,000. Sheets are graticule-based with a 7.5′ x 5′ format for the 1:25,000 scale sheets, 15′ x 10′ for 1:50,000 scale and doubling again for 1:100,000 and 1:200,000 scales. The projection is Gauss, Krassovsky ellipsoid. Recently, NIMA and NATO made agreements with the Albanian government to aid revision of the 1:50,000 scale mapping.
Soviet military topographic mapping of Albania exists at the following scales: 1:1,000,000 (2 sheets, complete coverage, published in 1990); 1:500,000 (4 sheets, complete coverage, published 1982-1989); 1:200,000 (12 sheets, complete coverage, published 1978-1988); 1:100,000 (37 sheets, complete coverage, published 1976-1988); 1:50,000 (106 sheets, complete coverage, published 1974-1988) and city (1:10,000) topographic mapping of Durres and Tirana published between 1973 and 1975. These products are available in print, digital raster and digital vector GIS formats from East View Geospatial.
The Forest and Pastures Research Institute, (Ministria e Bujkësisë), produces forest management plans, and a general map was issued in 1988. A new project to produce more detailed forest inventories may go ahead with support from the German aid organization, GTZ.
Prior to the moves towards democracy, only small scale maps of the country were published. The main source of these was the government’s educational publisher Mjetve Mësimore Kultorore e Sportive ‘Hamid Shijaku’, established in 1950. This organization is now called Byroja e Studimeve dhe e Projektimeve te Mjeteve Didaktike (BSPMD), the (Enterprise of the Production of Teaching, Sports and Cultural Means). It continues to publish useful general and educational maps, and a number of thematic maps on environmental themes. The Institute of Geology and Geodesy, Tiranë, has been mainly concerned with urban rather than geological mapping. Other thematic mapping, including the climatic atlas, has been published by the Academy of Sciences, (Akademia e Shkencave (ASh)).
A new national rural cadaster is in progress with funding from the European Union and USAID. It is called the Immovable Property Registration System (IPRS) (‘immovable’ because it is parcel-based, not owner-based), and is in the form of a GIS which will record information about ownership and property rights for about three million land parcels in order to effect and control the redistribution of land nationalized at the end of World War II by the communist government. In 1994, a company specializing in digital mapping and GIS, GeoComp Company (GCC), was established, and has been contracted to create a digital cadastral map and design a database to link cadastral records with the map.
A map of the rail network is published by the Quail Map Company, and tourist maps are published by HarperCollins, Cartographia, and Ravenstein.