The Royal Jordanian Geographic Center (RJGC) (until 1984 the Jordan National Geographic Center) was established as the national mapping agency in 1975, with French and later American aid. It carries out geodetic, aerial and topographic surveying of the country and publishes topographic and thematic maps, as well as providing maps for other official agencies in the country. RJGC serves both military and civilian mapping needs.
The modern topographic mapping of Jordan was established by allied military forces during World War II, but geodetic frameworks and mapping remained unrevised until the new national mapping agency established primary and secondary geodetic control in the mid-1970s. Work continues to update a tertiary control network covering the whole country. A 1:50,000 scale series provides the basic mapping and is complete in 184 sheets. This photogrammetric series is on the Transverse Mercator projection, modified Clarke 1880 ellipsoid, and shows relief with 25 m contours. It is under regular revision, using aerial photographic coverage, and is being captured as digital data for inclusion in a national topographic database held in ARC/INFO. An 84-sheet 1:100,000 scale map is derived from the basic scale, and 1:250,000 scale coverage is also available in 17 sheets, with 100 m contours, the 1:250,000 map is already captured as digital data. A new program of topographic mapping of populated areas has also started, and is based upon the UTM projection and International ellipsoid, with maps being published at scales of 1:10,000 and 1:25,000.
Soviet military topographic mapping of Jordan exists at the following scales: 1:1,000,000 (4 sheets, complete coverage, published 1973-1990); 1:500,000 (8 sheets, complete coverage, published 1987-1989); 1:200,000 (27 sheets, complete coverage, published 1979-1986); 1:100,000 (73 sheets, complete coverage, published 1983-1986); 1:50,000 (68 sheets, primarily western country coverage, published 1983-1993) and city (1:10,000) topographic mapping of Amman and Irbid published between 1975 and 1984. These products are available in print, digital raster and digital vector GIS formats from East View Geospatial.
In 1985 RJGC began to produce a 1:50,000 scale geological map of the country for the National Resources Authority (JNRA). Coverage of this full-color series is concentrating initially upon the more western parts of Jordan, with about 20 percent of the country mapped by 1997. JNRA also produces a number of other geoscientific map themes. Jordan was mapped in five 1:250,000 scale full-color geological sheets published with English, German and Arabic texts in the late 1960s by the German Bundesanstalt fϋr Bodenforschung (now Bundesanstalt fϋr Geowissenschaften und Rohstoffe (BfGR)) 1:100,000 scale geological coverage was compiled under the same aid agreement, three sheets covering the Jordan valley were taken to full-color editions, the rest were published as monochrome compilations in the Geologisches Jahrbuch.
In the early 1990s a national soil and land use survey of Jordan was carried out by Hunting Technical Services for the Jordanian Ministry of Agriculture, with funding from the European Development Fund of the European Community. LANDSAT and SPOT satellite imagery were used for preliminary interpretation and supplemented by detailed soil sampling, with data held in a GIS.
Other mapping available includes a recently revised English-language 1:750,000 scale road map of the country with hypsometric tints for relief, as well as 1:250,000 coverage of Palestine (in an Arabic language road map and English topographic map showing archaeological sites). Outline 1:250,000 scale Arabic language base mapping of the country is also available and Arabic administrative maps are also issued. Two volumes of a projected national atlas series were issued in the early 1980s, one of which is still available. Other smaller scale World and Middle Eastern mapping is published, and a full-color large-scale series of maps of archaeological and tourist sites is available in bilingual editions, including an indexed town map of the capital Amman, revised in 1996 and published in English and Arabic versions.
Cadastral mapping of Jordan is the responsibility of the Department of Lands and Survey. It is involved in a major conversion project to establish an ARC/INFO-based digital land information system, which has included the capture of 23 000 cadastral maps in the period 1995-2000.
Small scale mapping of the country is published by Lonely Planet, HarperCollins, Freytag-Berndt, and GEOprojects. Maps of Israel and of the Middle East also often offer useful small scale coverage of Jordan.