The national mapping agency of Botswana is the Department of Surveys and Mapping (DSM) in Gaborone.  It was established with British support as the Department of Surveys and Lands (DSL) and has drawn extensively upon British aid in the creation of topographic mapping programs in the country.  After the end of World War II the Directorate of Colonial Surveys established 1:125,000 scale two-color mapping of Bechuanaland Protectorate, which continued to be produced for the developed areas of the state until independence in 1966.  The Directorate of Overseas Surveys (DOS) (now Ordnance Survey International (OSI)) issued the first sheets in 1967 of what is now the national basic scale map.  This 1:50,000 scale series is a photogrammetric map based upon the Transverse Mercator projection, modified Clarke 1880 ellipsoid. Sheets follow standard DOS numbering practice and cover quarter-degree quadrangles. Nearly 900 sheets are needed for complete coverage, and efforts have concentrated upon the mapping of developed parts of Botswana with nearly half of the country now covered in maps conforming to a number of different specifications. The first DOS mapping comprised conventional five-color line maps with a 50 ft contour interval, and some cadastral information. These were published for the developed south and east. In addition about 150 sheets were issued as uncontoured photomaps, covering more remote and flatter northern areas of the country. Monochrome planimetric maps have also been issued for some areas in an attempt to speed completion of the series, and DSM now revises about 25 sheets a year, to a metric specification, with 10 m contours. The remaining areas of Botswana are available as uncontrolled 1:70,000 scale photo-mosaics and as print laydowns based upon 1970s and 1980s aerial photographic coverage.

Other photo-mapping has also been carried out, notably in a DOS series of full-color 1:100,000 scale maps of northwestern areas, supplemented by monochrome 1:100,000 scale coverage using SPOT image bases compiled by DSM in the 1990s. These areas extend the coverage of controlled mapping. The country is completely covered by 41 maps published at 1:250,000 scale.  Again a number of different specifications have been followed. DOS issued a single photomap, and DSM issued a further eight maps as conventional line maps with layer-colored relief.  In the east of the country maps are available as either ground or air editions of Joint Operation Graphic specifications, with relief depicted according to the reliability of available information as contours, form lines, hachures and color tints. The sparsely settled areas of the Kalahari desert are published as monochrome sheets derived from LANDSAT imagery.  This series has been under revision over the last decade.  Other national scales are 1:500,000 (11 sheets), also used for administrative mapping, 1:1,000,000 (two sheets) as well as single-sheet 1:1,500,000 and 1:2,000,000 scale coverage.

Soviet military topographic mapping of Botswana exists at the following scales: 1:1,000,000 (6 sheets, complete coverage, published 1977-1983); 1:500,000 (18 sheets, complete coverage, published 1978-1983) and 1:200,000 (107 sheets, complete coverage, published 1979-1985).  These products are available in print, digital raster and digital vector GIS formats from East View Geospatial.

Geological mapping of Botswana is the responsibility of the Department of the Geological Survey (DGS).  A full color 1:125,000 scale series is published for areas in the south and east of the country – coverage is being extended further into the desert and a revision program is in operation.  Sheets are issued with bulletins or district memoirs explaining the geology of the area.  It is intended to cover the rest of the country by unpublished provisional 1:250,000 scale Kalahari mapping, in a provisional and open file program.  In addition to these series DGS also issues a number of smaller scale earth science themes, including gravity, groundwater, hydrogeological and aeromagnetic maps at 1:1,000,000 scale as well as a number of scales of geological coverage.  Current programs include more detailed aeromagnetic mapping of the whole country, with data becoming available in hard copy and digital forms at 1:50,000 and 1:500,000 scales.

Soils mapping of the country was established in an aid project funded through FAO and UNDP and carried out in the early 1980s.  1:250,000 scale two-color soils sheets began to be available in 1984 and 26 maps covering the non-desert areas were issued from the Soils Mapping and Advisory Service in the Ministry of Agriculture.  Smaller scales were also derived from the GIS established in this project, including 1:2,000,000 scale carrying capacity, soils and vegetation maps, and 1:1,000,000 scale soil and land suitability for crop production coverages.  The Ministry of Local Government Lands and Housing issued a single sheet 1:1,500,000 scale land use map of Botswana in 1996.  Other resources mapping of Botswana was carried out in the 1960s by the British Land Resources Development Centre (now Natural Resources Institute (NRI)).

DSM publishes a wide variety of urban mapping.  Settlements are mapped either as orthophoto plots or as line maps at 1:2,500, 1:5,000, or 1:10,000 scale. A special sheet covering Gaborone at 1:25,000 was issued in 1991.

Since 1990 there have been significant changes in Botswana’s mapping infrastructure.  DSM was created out of the much larger DSL, with much more focused mapping responsibilities, and demand for modern mapping encouraged the introduction of digital production flow lines.  The first phase in the modernization involved the creation of digital village mapping: initially by Swedesurvey, but increasingly in-house by DSM.  All large and medium settlements in Botswana are now mapped with 1:5,000 scale digital coverage.  A digital production flowline was also established by Swedesurvey for all scales smaller than 1:50,000 using SOS-MAP and OCAD.  This has involved the capture of digital 1:50,000 data, and the redesign of the sheet format for the printed 1:50,000 map.

Small-scale general maps of Botswana have recently been published by Lonely Planet, New Holland, Macmillan, Map Studio, and ITM, as well as the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).  South African street directory publisher Intratex issues six indexed street maps of the most important settlements in its Braby range.  B&T Directories published a useful street and plot index atlas of Gaborone in 1997.

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