The western part of the Samoan islands gained independence from New Zealand in 1962 and comprises the two main islands, Savai’i and Upolu. The first modern mapping of Samoa was carried out by the New Zealand Mapping Service (now Land Information New Zealand (LINZ)) and Terra-link in 1954. Twenty-eight six-color 1:20,000 scale sheets were published between 1963 and 1971. This map is on the Cassini-Soldner projection, International ellipsoid, and includes the UTM grid with relief shown by 50 ft contours. Responsibility for maintaining topographic map passed to the national mapping agency in Apia, the Department of Lands and Surveys, now the Department of Lands and Environment (SDLE). Smaller scales include a 1:250,000 scale map in the Infomap series from Terralink, and monochrome 1:100,000 scale coverage of each main island. A town map of Apia was compiled by SDLE in 1980.
Soviet military topographic mapping of Samoa is available at the following scale: 1:1,000,000 (1 sheet, complete coverage, published in 1965). This product is available in print, digital raster and digital vector GIS formats from East View Geospatial.
New Zealand agencies have also been involved in the thematic mapping of Samoa. The New Zealand Geological Survey (now Institute for Geological and Nuclear Sciences (IGNS)) produced geological, hydrological and bathymetric mapping in the late 1950s. The New Zealand Soil Bureau (now Landcare Research) also carried out soil and land use mapping of the islands at this time, resulting maps were issued with explanatory text in 1963. These comprised a 1:40,000 scale soil map of Upolu in eight sheets on an orthophoto base, and 1:95,040 scale coverage.
Three thematic series were compiled at the end of the 1980s and published in six sheets each to cover the whole of Savaii and Upolu. Coverage includes soils, land capability, land use and tenure.
More recent mapping activity has been sponsored by the South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC) who recently issued coastal mapping of Upolu and a bathymetric chart of the islands’ Exclusive Economic Zone.
Samoa is mapped on commercial products by Hema, Universal, and University of Hawaii Press.