Namibia’s modern map base dates from the 1960s when the South African Chief Directorate of Surveys and Mapping (CDSM) began a new survey of South West Africa.  The basic scale was 1:50,000 and based on a Gauss conformal projection, Bessel ellipsoid.  The 1:50,000 scale maps showed relief with a 10 m contour interval, with 5 m in areas of low relief, and were similar in style to South African specifications, incorporating cadastral information. Orthophotomaps were published for the less populated areas of the Namibia desert.  The sheet numbering for this series followed South African practice and sheets covered quarter-degree quadrangles.  The first maps were issued in 1975 and the series was completed in 1,218 sheets by 1979, with compilation largely carried out in South Africa.  Since 1973 the Surveyor General’s Department (SGDN) in Windhoek has been responsible for the publication of all topographic mapping of the country, and has continued to use South African aid since full independence in 1990.  A limited revision program has been carried out, using super-wide angle aerial photography.

A 1:250,000 scale map was started in 1960, derived from 1:100,000 scale mapping.  The current specification uses a 50 m contour interval with 300 m hypsometric tints and is derived from 1:50 000 coverage. South African practice is followed and sheets cover two degrees longitude by one degree latitude.

Since 1977 South African 1:500,000 coverage has included Namibia. 14 sheets are required to cover the country and are available as either topographic or aeronautical editions, with a 100 m contour interval and 300 m hypsometric tints.  Other SGDN coverage includes a wall map using the Albers equal area projection and showing cadastral data on a relief base, and 1:10,000 scale orthophoto mapping around Windhoek and Walvis Bay, which conforms to South African standards.

Soviet military topographic mapping of Namibia exists at the following scales: 1:1,000,000 (10 sheets, complete coverage, published 1977-1986); 1:500,000 (28 sheets, complete coverage, published 1978-1983) and 1:200,000 (146 sheets, complete coverage, published 1979-1982).  These products are available in print, digital raster and digital vector GIS formats from East View Geospatial.

The earth science mapping agency in Namibia is the Geological Survey (GSN) in the Namibia Ministry of Mines and Energy.  A 1:250,000 scale series has been compiled for the whole country, using the topographic sheet lines. Most maps are available as ammonia prints in an open file programme, only five have been published as colour printed maps.  A limited amount of 1:50,000 scale mapping is also available, and four-sheet 1:1,000,000 scale mapping has been published.  Three sheets are also available as Bouguer anomaly overprints.  Many provisional maps are available on-demand in an open file publication programme, including a wide variety of geophysical mapping, notably aeromagnetic, contour and aero-radio-metric maps at 1:250,000 and 1:50,000 scales and geochemical mapping.

The soils laboratory in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Rural Development is compiling digital soils mapping of the country for use in a land resources geographical information system.  An FAO-funded project is producing agro-ecological mapping of the country at 1:1,000,000 scale, with the North East region mapped at 1:250,000 scale and three case study areas at 1:100,000.  Institut Cartogràfic de Catalunya is carrying out this work, sourced from LANDSAT TM data and aerial coverage, and subsequently incorporated into a GIS.

The national atlas of the country was issued in 1983 by the Director of Development Coordination (now Namibia Development Corporation) for SGDN, and was compiled in the Institute for Cartographic Analysis of the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa.

Shell Namibia Limited issues a number of tourist maps, and a road map of the country including a street plan of Windhoek.

Overseas agencies providing small scale and general coverage include Freytag-Berndt (FB), Macmillan, International Travel Maps (ITM), Lonely Planet, New Holland, and the United NationsIntratex publishes Braby’s street maps and directories for eight towns in Namibia – A.C. Braby also still maintains a local office in Windhoek.  An indexed 1:20,000 scale street plan of Windhoek is issued by the Department of the City Secretary.

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