Formerly part of French West Africa, Mali was mapped at scales of 1:500,000 and 1:200,000 by the French Institut Géographique National (IGN) and its predecessors as part of the Carte de l’Afrique de l’Ouest program. Following independence in 1960, IGN mapping support continued in association with the Direction Nationale de la Cartographie et de la Topographie du Mali (DNCT), and by 1977 the whole country had been covered in 133 sheets at 1:200,000 scale. This map is on a UTM projection, Clarke 1880 ellipsoid, and each sheet covers one degree of latitude and longitude. The southern part of the country (mainly the area south of 17°N) was published in a six-color regular edition with 40 m contours, while the northern part has been published only in the fond topographique version. The latter has no contours, but many sheets are in the type régions désertiques, which use colors to show much desert landform and surface material information. Some new editions appeared in the 1980s and 1990s.
Until recently, very little mapping had been done at the 1:50,000 scale. A block of 16 sheets around Bafoulabé was published in 1960 in a four-color provisional edition, and a further 22 sheets, including six around Bamako, were published as photomaps between 1983 and 1992. In 1998-2000, 42 new 1:50,000 scale sheets were being prepared with aid from the Japanese International Co-operation Agency (JICA).
Soviet military topographic mapping is available at the following scales: 1:1,000,000 (13 sheets, complete coverage, published 1979-1986); 1:500,000 (32 sheets, complete coverage, 1977-1987); 1:200,000 (205 sheets, complete coverage, published 1980-1986) and city (1:10,000) topographic map of Bamako published in 1979. These products are available in print, digital raster and digital vector GIS formats from East View Geospatial.
The Direction Nationale de la Géologie et des Mines (DNGM), Bamako is responsible for earth science mapping, and this has been carried out with the help of the French Bureau de Recherches Géologiques et Minières (BRGM), which has an office in Bamako. A 1:1,500,000 scale geological map of the country in two sheets was published in 1981, and a 1:500,000 scale geological map of Adrar des Ifores published in colour in 1982. More recently, a block of mainly photogeological map sheets at 1:200,000 scale has been produced covering the southwest of the country. A mineral plan of Mali was published in 1978, including a map of mineral occurrences. A map depicting Quaternary and Holocene deposits, geomorphology and associated flora and fauna was produced in 1988 by the Laboratoire de Géologie du Quaternaire of the French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique.
A comprehensive assessment of soil and water resources, Projet Inventaire des Ressources Terrestres was undertaken by the Mali government with funding from USAID and help from overseas consultants. Published in 1983, the three volumes included an atlas with 1:500,000 scale maps of soil, land cover and water resources, and with overlay maps indicating agricultural potential and irrigation requirements. Some mapping has also been undertaken by the Institut Français de Recherche Scientifique pour le Développement en Coopération (ORSTOM), including geophysical mapping of the Adrar des Ifores.
In 1980 IGN, in cooperation with DNCT, published a four-sheet 1:20,000 map of the Bamako area with 5 m contours.
Small-scale maps include a general map in the IGN Pays et villes du monde series on a Lambert conformal conic projection, a locally produced tourist map by B.A. Alassane, and a road map by SIRVENSAE.