Formerly an overseas province of Portugal, Guinea-Bissau gained independence in 1973. Mapped by the Portuguese in the 1950s and 1960s, the country was covered by a 72-sheet 1:50,000 series on a UTM projection (Hayford International ellipsoid) with 10 m contours. Sheet lines are based on the International Map of the World system, with each sheet covering 15 minutes of longitude by 15 minutes of latitude. After independence, mapping responsibilities were passed to the Direcçâo de Topografía e Cadastro, Bissau.
In 1989, a Centro de Cartografia y Teledetecção (CCT) was established with the intention of making it the national mapping agency, but its future is heavily dependent on the availability of foreign aid. A French-sponsored program to provide SPOT imagery for the production of topographic maps was to begin in the early 1990s, and the French also provided 1:30,000 air photo cover of the country. However, there were insufficient funds to carry these projects through.
Soviet military topographic mapping of Guinea-Bissau is available at the following scales: 1:1,000,000 (complete coverage, published in 1986); 1:500,000 (4 sheets, complete coverage, published in 1985) and 1:200,000 (14 sheets, complete coverage, published 1983-1985). These products are available in print, digital raster and digital vector GIS formats from East View Geospatial.
Earth science mapping is the responsibility of the Direcção Geral de Hydrologia, Geologia e Minas (DGGM). A 1:100,000 scale geological map series began in 1982 in association with the Bureau de Recherches Géologiques et Minières (BRGM), but only two sheets have been published. In 1987, a gravity survey was conducted by a team from the Institut Géographique National, France. An earlier 1:500,000 scale geological map of the country published by the Portuguese Junta de Investigaçoes de Ultramar (now IICT).
During the 1990s, there have been several aid-funded initiatives in support of resource assessment. The Union Mundial pour la Nature (UMN) is an NGO which, with Swiss funding, has established an image processing and GIS system using ARC/INFO software for environmental monitoring. Several image maps were published in 1993, and aerial photography was flown in 1993 and 1994 for the purpose of forest mapping.
A pilot project has also been undertaken by the Swedish National Development Authority (SIDA) for the Gabinete de Planeamento (GAPLA) to investigate the use of SPOT panchromatic and multispectral images to supplement the collection of statistical data about agriculture.
Bissau city has been mapped by the French Institut Géographique National (IGN), who produced 1:10,000 five-sheet cover in 1990. Previously, IGN had produced large-scale maps for planning of numerous towns including Bissau.
Small-scale general maps of Guinea-Bissau exist, the best of these being one published by IGN, France in its series Pays et villes d’outre mer.