Tunisia became independent of France in 1956, and declared itself a republic the following year. The official mapping organization is the Office de la Topographie et de la Cartographie (OTC), Tunis, established in 1974. OTC is responsible for geodetic, topographic, aerial photographic and cadastral survey and publishes topographic and cadastral maps and urban plans. Prior to the establishment of OTC, topographic series had been produced at scales of 1:50,000; 1:100,000 and 1:200,000 by the French Institut Géographique National and its predecessor, the Service Géographique de l’Armée. The former are in the IGN’s Type-1922 style, on a Lambert conformal projection, Clarke 1880 ellipsoid, and date from the 1950s. Earlier sheets from the 1930s, were often based on plane-table surveys undertaken in the 1890s; these maps were on the Bonne projection. The 1:50,000 scale mapping covered the northern half of the country, while 1:100,000 scale maps covered the middle zone and extended further south. The 1:200,000 scale map covered the whole country in 46 sheets on the Bonne projection.
New mapping programs using photogrammetric techniques were initiated by OTC in the 1970s, and new series were in progress at scales of 1:25,000; 1:50,000 and 1:200,000 during the 1980s with the help of the Japanese Geographical Survey Institute, and with new aerial photography flown by the Pacific Aerial Survey Co.
In 1992, a revised program was established to map the country at scales of 1:25,000; 1:50,000 or 1:100,000 according to economic development of the region, and with the addition of a complete modern cover at 1:200,000 scale in 2006. The fruition of this plan, however, depends on securing funding.
Soviet military topographic mapping of Tunisia is available at the following scales: 1:1,000,000 (3 sheets, complete coverage, published 1975-1984); 1:500,000 (7 sheets, complete coverage, published 1970-1987); 1:200,000 (46 sheets, complete coverage, published 1977-1988); 1:100,000 (116 sheets, primarily complete coverage, published 1973-1986) and a city (1:25,000) topographic map of Tunis published in 1976. These products are available in print, digital raster and digital vector GIS formats from East View Geospatial.
Geological mapping is undertaken by the Service Géologique de Tunisie (SGT) of the Office National des Mines. A series of 1:200,000 scale geological maps was published in the period 1924-35 under the direction of M. Solignac and covered most of the northern part of the country in 22 sheets. In 1986 new geological mapping began to appear at 1:100,000 scale for the south of the country, 28 sheets have so far been published, some with explanatory texts. 1:50,000 scale geological sheets have been published for much of the north of the country, with many new sheets published in the 1990s. A new series of 1:200,000 scale geological sheets on new sheet lines has also been initiated. A geological map of the whole country at 1:500,000 scale in three sheets was first published in 1931. The third edition was published in 1987. Two sheets of a companion map of mineral occurrences were published in 1968.
The Centre National de Télédétection (CNT) at Tunis was established in 1988, and has been engaged in a number of mapping projects using remote sensing techniques. This includes the mapping of ecologically sensitive areas, areas susceptible to erosion and to desertification, and the cartography of pollutant dispersion in the Gulf of Gabès.
Soil mapping was undertaken in the 1960s and 70s at scales of 1:100,000 and 1:50,000 by the French Institut Français de Recherche Scientifique pour le Développement en Coopération (ORSTOM) and the Division des Sols of the Ministry of Agriculture. Some maps of soil suitability for irrigated agriculture were also produced at this time. 1:1,000,000 scale maps of soil, soil capability, soil erosion, and sensitivity to desertification, were published in the series Bulletin de la Division des Sols. The Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique de Tunisie (INRAT) undertook some ecological mapping in the 1960s (Cartes phyto-écologiques), mainly at 1:200,000 scale.
Vegetation maps were produced in the 1960s by the Service Botanique et Agronomique de Tunisie. A sheet in the international series of vegetation maps at 1:1,000,000 scale was published by the Institut de la Carte International du Tapis Végétal in 1958 with accompanying text.
Useful thematic coverage is provided by the Afrika Kartenwerk series, edited by the German Research Society during the late 1970s and early 1980s. This thematic sampling of four areas in Africa (described in the introductory section to Africa) includes a northern area which covers most of Tunisia. The 13 published themes for this area cover topics of both physical and human geography. Monographs accompany some themes. The scale is 1:1,000,000 and the maps are published by Gebrϋder Borntraeger, Berlin.
The national atlas, Atlas nationale de Tunisie has been in progress since 1986. It is being prepared by the Centre d’Études et de Recherches Économiques et Social (CERES), under the Ministry of Education, and the maps are printed by OTC. It is planned as a series of 91 sheets organized into eight thematic sections. SBy 1997, however, only nine had been published including a satellite image map, a relief map, a metallogenic map and maps concerned with demography and with transport. Most maps are at 1:1,000,000 scale, occupying a whole sheet, and there is a text in French on the reverse of each sheet.
A number of small scale maps are published by the Office National de Tourisme, from commercial houses, including Éditions Tanit and Éditions de l’Enterprise, Tunis, while overseas publishers include Michelin, Karto+Grafik, Kϋmmerley + Frey, Berndtson and Berndtson, Ravenstein, Cartographia, HarperCollins and Freytag-Berndt (FB).
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