Mapping of the wealthy Gulf state of Qatar is coordinated through the Center for Geographic Information Systems (QCGIS), established by the Cabinet of Ministers in 1990. The map base of the peninsula was created in the period between 1947 and 1984 by Hunting Surveys in response to oil exploration needs. Modern photogrammetric surveys were carried out in the 1970s and a new geodetic framework was established, including the Qatar national grid, and mapping standards based upon the use of UTM specifications. Grid-based sheet lines have been used for series at scales from 1:100,000 through to 1:500 urban mapping. Basic scale mapping in the 1980s was carried out by the Engineering Services Department which produced maps at 1:5,000, 1:2,000, 1:1,000 or 1:500 scales depending upon the area. 1:5,000 and 1:2,000 scale maps showed relief with 1 m contours; the larger scale plans used spot heights and were uncontoured. Data were revised on a regular basis. Derived printed maps were in four colors with English and Arabic lettering. National coverage at 1:10,000 scale required 281 sheets, with 2 m contours, 1:50,000 scale maps covered Qatar in 15 sheets with contours at 2 m or 4 m intervals, while 1:100,000 scale mapping needed four sheets and showed relief with 4 m contours. A single 1:200,000 scale map of the state was also maintained.
The best available coverage of Qatar is Soviet military topographic mapping, it exists at the following scales: 1:1,000,000 (1 sheet, complete coverage, published in 1983); 1:500,000 (4 sheets, complete coverage, published 1977-1982); 1:200,000 (9 sheets, complete coverage, published in 1975); 1:100,000 (18 sheets, complete coverage, published 1978-1984) and a city (1:10,000) topographic map of Doha published in 1979. These products are available in print, digital raster and digital vector GIS formats from East View Geospatial.
From 1988 an ambitious program of digital conversion was started by the Ministry of Industry and Public Works Survey Unit, which led to Qatar being the first country in the world with a nation-wide and completely integrated GIS. QCGIS now coordinates all mapping activity carried out by 16 different government agencies and maintains the ARC/ INFO and ORACLE-based national online base map, captured from hard copy maps and 1:5,000 scale aerial photography. Regularly flown aerial coverage is used to maintain the currency of these data. Digital elevation models of the country were captured from 1:30,000 and 1:54,000 scale aerial coverage flown in 1995, with a vertical accuracy of 1 m, and digital ortho-imagery of the country has been captured, with 1 m pixel resolution. The system was fully operational by the end of 1998, and is being updated on a daily basis. An electronic place finder for Doha, with English or Arabic place names is also derived from the digital data.
Hydrographic charting of Qatari waters is published on charts from the British Hydrographic Office (HO), Taunton.
The Department of Industrial Development in the Ministry of Energy and Industry is responsible for earth sciences activities in Qatar.
Commercially published mapping from GEO-projects provides the best overview of Qatar.