The French Overseas Territory of French Polynesia comprises four archipelagos: Society, Tubuai, Tuamotu / Gambier and Marquesas, and has been mapped by the French Institut Géographique National (IGN). The first phase of French mapping took place in the period between 1955 and 1967 and saw the publication of topographic surveys of the Society Islands, and Tuamotu. These sheets are three-color preliminary editions, 1:50,000 scale, on the UTM projection, International ellipsoid. New mapping programs were initiated in the late 1970s, and carried out by IGN in conjunction with the Service de l’Urbanisme (SU) in Papeete on Tahiti. The other local mapping agency for French Polynesia is the Service du Cadastre.
The best map coverage is published for Tahiti and the other larger islands in the Society group. A four-color UTM-based series at 1:20,000 scale, with a 10-25 m contour intervals is in progress by SU. Tahiti will be covered by twelve maps at this scale. Coastal areas of Tahiti are covered by 83 monochrome 1:5,000 scale sheets. Bora Bora, Huahine, Maupiti and Raiatea are also mapped with 1:5,000 scale diazo coverage. IGN publishes a 1:100,000 scale tourist map of the Society group, and a regularly revised raised-relief map at this scale of Tahiti.
Three islands in the Marquesas group are mapped in a 1:50,000 scale series with 25 m contours, compiled by SU in conjunction with IGN in the 1980s. The Tubuai archipelago is being mapped by SU at scales of 1:10,000 or 1:20,000 with 10 m contours. Differing scales and varying specifications have been used in the Gambier group: Ahe is now covered with a full-color 1:25,000 scale map, Mataiva in a 1:20,000 scale color edition, Manihi in a 1:50,000 scale image map, and Makatea at 1:10,000 scale in a monochrome map. Since the mid-1980s SU has experimented with the publication of black and white image maps designated Spatiocartes, three of which have been published to cover previously unmapped islands.
Soviet military topographic mapping of French Polynesia is available at the following scale: 1:1,000,000 (14 sheets, complete coverage, published in 1965). This product is available in print, digital raster and digital vector GIS formats from East View Geospatial.
Hydrographic charting of the island archipelagos of French Polynesia is published by Service Hydrographique et Océanographique de la Marine (SHOM).
Six multi-colored geological maps of the Society Islands were published by the French Bureau de Recherches Géologiques et Minières (BRGM) in the mid-1960s at 1:40,000. SU has more recently collaborated with BRGM in the compilation of new geological mapping of Tahiti. Three areas have so far been issued as 1:25,000 scale geological and geomorphological editions and as 1:50,000 scale hazards maps.
The French Institut Français de Recherche Scientifique pour le Développement en Coopération (ORSTOM) has compiled resources mapping of French Polynesia, including the 400-page national atlas, issued in the early 1990s and including many full-color maps, mostly at 1:150 000 scale. ORSTOM has also compiled 1:40,000 scale soil and land capability mapping of Tahiti, and coverage has recently been extended to other islands in the Society group. Soil on Mangareva is mapped at 1:20,000 scale.
Smaller scale bathymetric maps of the whole of the area of French Polynesia were compiled by the French Centre National Pour l’Exploitation des Oceans (now Institut Français pour l’Exploitation de la Mer (IFREMER)) as a five-sheet 1:1,000,000 scale series with 100 m isobaths.
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