The Survey of Bangladesh (SB) founded in 1973 is the official surveying and mapping organization. It carries out geodetic and topographic surveys, and compiles and publishes topographic and smaller scale maps. The country was mapped by the Survey of India prior to 1947, and in the years between the partition of the subcontinent and the establishment of an independent Bangladesh in 1971, by the Survey of Pakistan. Map specifications are therefore similar to those established elsewhere in South Asia.
The basic scale series remains the 1:50,000 series in 266 sheets, on a Transverse Mercator projection, Everest ellipsoid. This map was completely revised by the mid-1990s, from 1:30,000 scale aerial photographic coverage flown under Canadian aid programs in 1975. Sheets cover 15′ quadrangles, show relief with 50 ft contours and are printed in six colors. From this map are derived smaller-scale series, including a 27-sheet 1:250,000 scale map, revised to 1995, six sheets at 1:500,000 scale and four-sheet 1:1,000,000 scale coverage. All these series are published in English language editions. .
Soviet military topographic mapping of Bangladesh is available at the following scales: 1:1,000,000 (4 sheets, complete coverage, published 1960-1973); 1:500,000 (7 sheets, complete coverage, published 1959-1971); 1:200,000 (35 sheets, complete coverage, published 1955-1965) and city (1:10,000 to 1:25,000) topographic mapping of Chittagong and Dhaka published between 1980 and 1983. These products are available in print, digital raster and digital vector GIS formats from East View Geospatial.
The Department of Hydrography, established in 1959, publishes charting of coastal and inland waters.
The Geological Survey of Bangladesh (GSB) has carried out basic geological surveying and mapping of the country since its establishment in 1972, but there has been little progress since the end of the 1970s. Three small scale maps were published in 1990, in conjunction with the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and map geology, gravity anomalies, and aeromagnetic anomalies, at a scale of 1:1,000,000. A program to digitize these and other larger scale surveys was started in 1996.
Larger scale resources mapping has been prepared by the Soil Research Development Institute (SRDI), formerly the Department of Soil Survey. SRDI has compiled coverage for 74 of the 460 Thanas in Bangladesh, in two 1:50,000 scale series, depicting soil and land types, and geology and landscapes.
A number of other small-scale thematic projects were carried out in the 1970s and 1980s, notably sponsored by the World Bank, which also issued 1:500,000 scale image mapping of the country, overprinted with land use and land cover information. The Bangladesh Space Research and Remote Sensing Organization (SPARRSO), which coordinates image interpretation and remote sensing in the country, published a series of 1:1,000,000 scale LANDSAT-based maps with thematic overprints for cover types, land zones and systems, land use and forest areas. Other thematic mapping of Bangladesh has been sponsored by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Manila. Resources mapping of forest areas, notably in the Sundabans, was completed in the 1980s by the British Land Resources Development Center, now Natural Resources Institute (NRI). The Irrigation Support Project Asia and the Near East (ISPAN), established with American funding after the devastating floods of 1987, has developed a 1:250,000 resolution GIS using ARC/INFO, ERDAS and IDRISI software to monitor and plan for future flood emergencies.
Cadastral mapping is the responsibility of the Directorate General of Land Resources and Survey. Rural areas are covered at 16 inches to the mile, with Dhaka mapped in an 80-inch series. Over 120,000 maps are maintained, but many are increasingly outdated. Large scale pre-census mapping of enumeration districts in the country is carried out by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics.
Other coverage at one inch to 16 miles is published in English to map ancient monuments, police stations and administrative boundaries. Bengali versions of administrative mapping are also published at this scale, and at one inch to 32 miles, and Bengali language district series are published at 1:250,000 scale (15 sheets) and 1:125,000 scale (64 sheets). Series of city and town guide maps are published at scales of 1:15,000 and 1:20,000, and Dhaka was mapped in an 18-sheet 1:10,000 scale series revised to 1989. In addition to these series Survey of Bangladesh intends to publish 1:25,000 scale mapping of the country in order to give a more detailed depiction of flood risk areas.
Commercially published mapping of Bangladesh is published by Dhaka based Graphosman, established in 1975 and the only significant commercial publisher in the country until 1987. It issues small scale coverage of Bangladesh, including a six-sheet set depicting natural hazards, a rivers map and a number of political and relief-based maps. Geodesec issues a similar range including small scale transport, district and thana based mapping as well as city maps of Dhaka and Chittagong. Few western agencies cover Bangladesh, notable exceptions being the tourist map of the North East India, covering Bangladesh, from Nelles Verlag and the tourist atlas from Lonely Planet.