South Georgia is situated in the South Atlantic, some 800 miles (1,280 km) southeast of the Falkland Islands, while the South Sandwich Islands, a string of small volcanic islands, form part of the Scotia Arc between South Georgia and the Antarctic Peninsula.

Early exploratory surveys of South Georgia were carried out between 1951 and 1957 by the South Georgia Survey Expeditions, and resulted in the 1958 publication of a 1:200,000 scale, contoured map which accompanies a British Antarctic Survey Report on The history of place-names in the Falkland Islands Dependencies (South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands). 1:500,000 scale maps were published by the former British Directorate of Colonial Surveys (DCS 701) in 1949-50.

The islands have been included in the mapping program of the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), Cambridge, but no more recent topographic maps have been published. Although, 1:1,000,000 scale insets of both South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands appear on the 1:3,000,000 scale BAS map of the Antarctic Peninsula.

A geological map of South Georgia at 1:250,000 scale (GEO-MAP 1) was published in 1987 and shows the geology of outcropping rocks and inferred sub-glacial geology. Partial mapping of South Georgia includes a 1:25,000 scale map of Royal Bay surveyed by the Combined Services Expedition in 1964-65, printed in color with 100 ft interval contours. Two 1:50,000 scale geomorphological maps, of Stromness─Cumberland Bay and the St. Andrews Bay─Royal Bay area, based on field work by the University of Aberdeen were published in 1971 and 1980 respectively. A general geological map of the South Orkney, South Sandwich Islands and South Georgia (BAS 500G) was published in 1984 as one of a series of six geological maps covering the Antarctic Peninsula.

A 1:500,000 scale map of South Georgia has been published by the Institute Geográfico Militar (IGMA), Buenos Aires.

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