Formerly a British Crown Colony, Malta became fully independent in 1964, and in 1974 was constituted a Republic within the British Commonwealth. Modern mapping of the three islands of Malta, Gozo and Comino had previously been undertaken by the British Government in cooperation with the Office of Public Works, Valletta. Early in the present century, large-scale GSGS series at scales of 1:2,500 and 1:10,560 were published, together with a general map at 1:31,680 (GSGS 3859) which has served as a base map for soil and geological maps.
Soviet military topographic mapping of Malta exists at the following scales: 1:1,000,000 (2 sheets, complete coverage, published 1983-1984); 1:500,000 (2 sheets, complete coverage, published 1968-1992); 1:200,000 (2 sheets, complete coverage, published in 1988); 1:100,000 (4 sheets, complete coverage, published in 1987) and 1:50,000 (6 sheets, complete coverage, published in 1977). These products are available in print, digital raster and digital vector GIS formats from East View Geospatial.
A geological survey of the Maltese islands was carried out in 1955 for BP at 1:10,560, and published at 1:31,680 scale by Ordnance Survey. Resurvey was undertaken in the 1970s and again in the 1990s. A new map in two sheets at 1:25,000 scale, was published by the Oil Exploration Directorate, Valletta in 1993.
In the late 1950s, a new survey was initiated by the British Directorate of Overseas Surveys (DOS) (now Ordnance Survey International (OSI)). Air photography was flown from which provisional 1:2,500 scale mapping was compiled, while a 1:25,000 scale map in three sheets (DOS 352) was issued in 1962-63. 1:2,500 scale sheets of Gozo and Comino (DOS 152) with 10 ft interval contours were published between 1962-65. New aerial photography was flown in 1970 by the RAF and between 1970-1975, DOS issued a contoured series at 1:2,500 scale covering the island of Malta itself in 154 sheets. The last DOS edition of the 1:25,000 scale map, from 1972, was subsequently further revised by the Department of Works, Malta, in cooperation with the Italian Mission and published in 1984. A new revision is expected soon. The current map is on the UTM projection, International (Hayford) ellipsoid and has 25 ft interval contours.
In 1988, a new Mapping Unit was established within the Planning Services Division of the Department of Works, and now operates within the Planning Authority, Floriana. The Institut Géographique National, Paris, was contracted to provide new digital mapping of the country, and digital base maps now cover all the islands at 1:2,500 scale and partially at 1:1,000, based on photography flown in 1988. The data is used in the Planning Authority as a basis for a GIS system based mainly on MapInfo.
In 1993, a new geodetic network was observed using GPS and recorded in WGS 84 coordinates. New aerial photography was also flown in 1993─94.
A 1:31,680 scale soils map of Malta and Gozo was published in 1960 by the DOS.
The Department of Geography, University of Keele, UK produced an atlas of the 1985 census for the Central Office of Statistics. A social and economic atlas produced subsequently in their Occasional Paper series was also published. In 1995 a new census was conducted, but no atlas has so far been produced.
RMF Publishing and Surveys Ltd publishes road maps and gazetteers of Malta. Good quality tourist maps of Malta are also published by several foreign commercial companies, including Kümmerly and Frey (K+F), AA/ Macmillan, HarperCollins, Cartographia, Karto+Grafik and Ravenstein.
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