Modern topographic mapping of North Korea was established after the end of the Korean War and following partition of the peninsula. A new national triangulation was carried out between 1958 and 1965 and the Gauss Conformal transverse cylindrical projection, Krassovsky ellipsoid, was adopted by the National Bureau of Geodesy and Cartography, which assumed responsibility for official map publication. Mapping was carried out with Russian aid by Glavnoe Upravlenie Geodezii Kartografii (GUGK), now Federal’naya Sluzhba Geodezii i Kartografii Rossii (Roskartografija), and specifications followed Soviet practice, but with Cyrillic names replaced by Korean characters. Basic scale mapping at 1:25,000 was carried out and completed for all of the country with a 10 m contour interval relative to the Wonsum Gulf datum. This map was compiled using photogrammetry, apart from a few areas close to the border with the south. Smaller scale series were derived from this survey and published at 1:50,000, 1:100,000, 1:200,000, 1:500,000 and 1:1,000,000 scales. A revision program was implemented using aerial photography and satellite imagery.
Soviet military topographic mapping of North Korea is available at the following scales: 1:1,000,000 (4 sheets, complete coverage, published 1976-1987); 1:500,000 (11 sheets, complete coverage, published 1982-1991); 1:200,000 (41 sheets, complete coverage, published 1977-1992); 1:100,000 (122 sheets, complete coverage, published 1978-1992); 1:50,000 (405 sheets, complete coverage, published 1978-1991) and city (1:10,000 to 1:25,000) topographic mapping of Chongjin, Dandong, Hamhung, Kaesong and Pyongyang published between 1975 and 1981. These products are available in print, digital raster and digital vector GIS formats from East View Geospatial.
Hydrographic charting of North Korean coastal waters has been carried out by the Hydrographic Department in Pyongyang. A range of 200 charts for domestic use are maintained, with 15 charts for foreign vessels. The best available charting of these waters is Russian coverage compiled by the Soviet Chief Administration for Navigation and Oceanography, Glavnoe Upravlenie Navigatsii i Okeanografii (GUNO), which is available in print, digital raster and digital vector GIS formats through East View Geospatial.
Small scale mapping of the whole Korean Peninsula is the best available earth science coverage of North Korea. This includes a geological map from the Russian Ministry of Geology (Roskomnedra) and South Korean coverage from the earth science mapping agency Korea Institute of Geology Mining and Materials (KIGAM) in Seoul. Larger scale earth science mapping programs in the past have been sponsored by the Geology and Geography Research Institute of the North Korean Academy of Sciences in Pyongyang.
In 1997 a two-volume atlas of North Korea was published by the South Korean Kyung-In Publishing Company which included complete 1:50,000 scale North Korean coverage.
North Korea is covered on commercially published general maps of the whole Peninsula from Chungang and Nelles Verlag.
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