Somalia comprises the former territories of Italian and British Somaliland which merged to form the Somali Republic in 1960. Prior to independence British and Italian authorities compiled topographic and geological mapping of their colonies. A 1:125,000 scale uncontoured and single color series prepared by the British Directorate of Overseas Surveys (DOS) (now Ordnance Survey International (OSI)) covered the whole of British Somaliland in 68 sheets. This series was on the Transverse Mercator projection, and UTM grid, Clarke 1880 ellipsoid, and was also used as a base for a full color geological map compiled in the early 1970s and covering coastal areas of the territory. Italian series included 1:200,000 scale coverage and 1:50,000 scale mapping of settled areas.

After independence the National Cartographic Directorate (Hoggaanka Kartografiyada Wasaaradda Gaashaand-higga) was established and using Russian aid produced new mapping of the country. 1:50,000; 1:100,000 and 1:200,000 scales were set up. The 1:200,000 scale maps were completed for the whole country, and following Soviet practice are on the Gauss-Krϋger projection, Krassovsky ellipsoid, but with Somali placenames.

Soviet military topographic mapping of Somalia is available at the following scales: 1:1,000,000 (10 sheets, complete coverage, published 1958-1983); 1:500,000 (23 sheets, complete coverage, published 1963-1980); 1:200,000 (111 sheets, complete coverage, published 1978-1983); 1:100,000 (383 sheets, complete coverage, published 1978-1982) and a city (1:10,000) topographic map of Berbera published in 1978. These products are available in print, digital raster and digital vector GIS formats from East View Geospatial.

The best available hydrographic charting of Somali coasts is also Soviet in origin, compiled by Glavnoe Upravlenie Navigatsii i Okeanografii (GUNiO) and available through East View Geospatial.

Small-scale geological mapping of Somalia and Ethiopia was compiled by the Italian Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR). The Geological Survey Department in Mogadishu is currently responsible for earth science activities in the country. Some resources mapping of Somalia has been compiled for the British Land Resources Development Centre (LRDC) (now Natural Resources Institute (NRI)), including land use, land capability, and livestock distribution surveys of tsetse affected areas of the country, published at 1:500,000 scale and issued with a report and other thematic mapping.

A useful small scale tourist map of Somalia was issued by Magna Carta in 1993, and a 1:18,000 scale town map of Mogadishu was compiled by Clyde Surveys in 1986.

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