Mapping in Malaysia continues to reflect differing organizational and cartographic histories. Sabah and Sarawak on the island of Borneo were British colonies until independence in 1963 and were mapped by British agencies, while peninsular Malaysia (Semenanjung) has a longer history of independent mapping. There has been a gradual process of standardization between different products and series, with a move to consistent use of metric specifications for all products. Official topographic and earth science mapping programs are now coordinated through national agencies.

The national mapping agency is the Department of Survey and Mapping Malaysia (Jabatan Ukur dan Pemetaan Malaysia (JUPEM)), which coordinates all official cadastral, geodetic, photogrammetric and topographic surveying and mapping activities for the whole of Malaysia from headquarters in Kuala Lumpur. Topographic mapping is carried out by the Directorate of National Mapping (Direktorat Pemetaan Negara) within JUPEM. The first survey office in the country was established in 1909 as the Federated Malay States Survey Department and plane-table surveying of the Malayan Peninsula was carried out in conjunction with British military agencies and the Survey of India until after World War II. By 1941 60 percent of Malaya was covered by one-inch scale topographic maps and the remainder of the series was completed by 1953 using photogrammetry. A new map at this scale (Series L7010) was initiated in 1950 and completed in 1974. This has now been withdrawn following completion of 1:50,000 mapping, but sheet lines continue to be used in thematic series. The 1:25,000 scale (Series L8010), initiated at the same time as (L7010), covers all developed parts of the country apart from mountainous areas, with neat lines conforming to grid lines. The current national map series for the peninsula is the 1:50,000 scale (Series L7030), based upon a rectified skew orthomorphic projection around a central meridian of 324° E and the Everest ellipsoid. This is a fully metric map, compiled by photogrammetric interpretation of aerial coverage, showing relief with 25 m contours and was completed in 177 sheets in 1995. Larger-scale topographic programs include (Series L905) which covers over 100 towns in West Malaysia, mostly at scales of 1:5,000 or 1:10,000. Since 1992 JUPEM has standardized the map size for sheets in this series. Revised 1:10,000 scale mapping of Kuala Lumpur has been carried out.

Topographic programs in Sabah and Sarawak were initiated after the end of World War II by the Directorate of Overseas Surveys (now Ordnance Survey International (OSI)). A 1:50,000 series began in 1960 using photogrammetric techniques, with contours in feet, and was completed for most of Sabah, and for all of Sarawak in 210 sheets. Each covered a 15 quadrangle and conformed to standard DOS specifications. With the completion of 1:50,000 scale mapping of West Malaysia effort has shifted to updating the map base for Borneo and the first sheets in a new metric 1:50,000 specification in (Series T738) have started to appear. A total of 278 maps will be needed to complete this series.

Soviet military topographic mapping of Malaysia exists at the following scales: 1:1,000,000 (8 sheets, complete coverage, published 1953-1960); 1:500,000 (19 sheets, complete coverage, published 1961-1987); 1:200,000 (41 sheets, complete coverage of Peninsular Malaysia, partial coverage of Sabah and Sarawak, published 1964-1983) and city (1:10,000 to 1:25,000) topographic mapping of Georgetown (Pinang) and Ipoh published between 1981 and 1983. These products are available in print, digital raster and digital vector GIS formats from East View Geospatial.

JUPEM has invested heavily in digital systems since the late 1980s. The Computer Assisted Mapping System (CAMS) was implemented in 1990 and is now used for conventional map publication and revision and for the maintenance of a growing national topographic database holding structured 1:25,000 scale data. Cartographic databases at 1:25,000 and 1:50,000 scales are also maintained and between 1994 and 1996 CAMS was also used to create and maintain a 1:5,000 and 1:10,000 scale database. Progress has been most rapid for Peninsular Malaysia, with about 25 percent of 1:50,000 and 1:25,000 data completed by 1999, but digital map data of Sabah and Sarawak is also being created. These data are being integrated with cadastral information captured in the Computer Assisted Land Survey (CALS) project, to form a national land information system. A pilot project started in 1997 in the federal Capital Territory of Kuala Lumpur and by 1999 a National Infrastructure for Land Information System (NaLIS) was being established, based in JUPEM. The NaLIS system is modelled on the American national spatial data infrastructure, and has been set up to support the sharing of information amongst producers and users of land data, at federal and state levels across Malaysia. NaLIS comprises the policies, standards and procedures for land related agencies to cooperatively produce and share land information.

A digital thematic mapping system was commissioned in 1995 to facilitate the creation of smaller scale digital map themes, and by 1999 60 percent of the database for Peninsular Malaya had been populated. It is planned to generate electronic maps on CD-ROM from this data and to implement a National Atlas Information System.

There are also plans for the production of a national 1:50,000 digital image map, in association with the Malaysian Center for Remote Sensing (MACRES). This map would use topographic sheet lines and be extended to cover the whole of Malaysia, with hard copy topographic mapping on an image base overlaid with contour data, as well as an ARC/INFO-based digital image map database.

The Hydrographic Department of the Royal Malaysian Navy is responsible for hydrographic surveying and charting of Malaysian waters, including the maintenance of 24 nautical charts.

Earth science mapping of Malaysia is coordinated by the Geological Survey Department (Kajibumi), which maintains headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, and carries out surveys for the Peninsula from offices in Ipoh. Separate offices in Kuching and Kota Kinabalu publish mapping of Sabah and Sarawak. 1:63,360 scale mapping is now available for about 85 percent of West Malaysia. Sheets are published on (L7010) sheet lines with accompanying explanatory bulletins. A variety of smaller-scale mapping is also published for the Peninsula including 1:500,000 coverage for geology, quaternary geology, hydrogeology and mineral deposits. Photogeological mapping has been compiled in association with the Malaysian Center for Remote Sensing (MACRES) in a project carried out with the Swedish Space Corporation Satellitbild. Reconnaissance 1:100,000 satellite image maps were compiled from LANDSAT TM and SPOT XS coverage of Selangor and Kedah, and were used as a base for raster plotting of earth science vector data relating to the states. MACRES was established in 1991 and has also been involved in resources mapping including the publication of 1:50,000 scale land use mapping of Selangor and Kedah states, based upon satellite imagery.

The Geological Survey Departments of Sabah and Sarawak (GSMSS) with offices in Sarawak and Sabah issue earth science coverage of Malaysian parts of Borneo. Large scale coverage is less systematic than in West Malaysia, maps are published at 1:50,000 scale, with about 20 percent of Sarawak and 15 percent of Sabah covered. 1:125,000 and 1:250,000 mapping is also available for many areas and most maps are issued with monographs. Small scale programs include geological and hydrogeological coverage at 1:500,000 scale.

Resources mapping of Malaysia includes extensive coverage of Sabah compiled by the British Land Resources Development Center (now Natural Resources Institute (NRI)) in the 1970s on Joint Operations Graphic sheet lines. 1:250,000 scale coverage of soil and land capability was published with accompanying texts. More recent thematic coverage includes land use, land classification and population mapping of Sarawak from JTU. Kementerian Pertanian (The Department of Agriculture) Kuala Lumpur maintains a GIS holding soil, land use, agroclimatic and crop map data, and has published a number of hard copy themes. The Irrigation and Drainage Department (Jabatan Pengairan dan Saliran (JPS)) maintains an ARC/INFO-based GIS for river basins.

Larger scale town mapping in (Series T931) is in production for significant settlements, either based upon earlier colonial surveys, or compiled as new photogrammetric mapping. The Lands and Survey Department, Sarawak, (Jabatan Tanah dan Ukur (JTU)) has produced a 1:250,000 scale map of the state with 10 sheet coverage, which was used as a base for land use mapping in the 1990s.

Small-scale tourist maps of the country are issued by the Automobile Association of Malaysia, by the Tourist Development Corporation of Malaysia and by several overseas commercial mapping firms, notably ITM, Macmillan, HarperCollins, New Holland, Nelles Verlag and Cartographia. The most extensive range is from Periplus who issue larger scale coverage of tourist destinations as well as a town map of Kuala Lumpur and state maps.

Copyright © 2014 De Gruyter for e-version of World Mapping Today, 2nd Edition | Copyright © 2019 East View Geospatial, Inc.

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