The Department of the Surveyor General (Zimap) was established in 1891 as a land registration agency and has grown into the national mapping agency with responsibility for geodetic, topographic, cadastral and aerial surveying. It publishes topographic, thematic and cadastral maps of Zimbabwe.
Topographic mapping of the country was established by British agencies when the country was part of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. A 1:50,000 scale map, compiled from aerial photography, was completed between the end of World War II and 1970 when the last of 561 sheets was published. This series still uses quarter-degree sheets and is plotted on the Transverse Mercator projection, Clarke 1880 ellipsoid, but other specifications have changed. A metric standard was introduced in the 1970s and relief in second or third edition sheets is now shown with 20 m contours. The detail of the current five-color topo-cadastral specification includes land ownership in purple. It is intended to maintain currency of the series to within 10 years by a regular revision program. In the 1980s a Canadian-funded aid programme flew complete aerial photographic coverage and installed new digital map production systems, so as to allow the generation of monochrome 1:25,000 scale orthophoto maps of the most densely settled parts of the country. The aim was to provide mapping with 10 m contours and a cadastral overprint. First maps were published in 1983, but only a few sample areas have been taken to publication, notably of the Harare area. Instead this map is now used to derive revisions of 1:50,000 mapping.
A 32-sheet 1:250,000 scale map is derived from the 1:50,000 scale series. Two versions of this topo-cadastral map were published between 1973 and 1980, with layered or unlayered relief and 100 m contours, both also using hill shading and with a UTM grid overprint. A revision program since completion is resulting in fourth edition coverage of the country. Other smaller scale mapping includes a four-sheet 1:500,000 scale wall map enlarged from 1:1,000,000 scale coverage. Both this and the parent map show relief with 300 m contours, but other versions are also published at 1:1,000,000 scale. This includes; an outline edition of the relief map, an aeronautical version compiled in association with the Directorate of Civil Aviation with air over-print conforming to ICAO standards, and a recently published road map with tourist information.
Soviet military topographic mapping of Zimbabwe exists at the following scales: 1:1,000,000 (6 sheets, complete coverage, published 1977-1985); 1:500,000 (16 sheets, complete coverage, published in 1983); 1:200,000 (73 sheets, primarily complete coverage, published 1981-1982); and city (1:10,000 to 1:25,000) topographic maps of Bulawayo and Harare published in 1982. These products are available in print, digital raster and digital vector formats from East View Geospatial.
The Geological Survey of Zimbabwe (GSZ) was founded in 1910 and a series of maps accompanying geological bulletins has been issued since the 1920s. These maps are mostly at a scale of 1:100,000, spatial coverage is irregular and numbered chronologically by Bulletin number, rather than systematically organized, but most of the country (with the exception of the Kalahari desert) is now mapped in full-color series, or is still available in reconnaissance versions. Recent geophysical mapping has been carried out, with coverage at 1:250,000 and 1:50,000 scales on topographic sheet lines. Smaller scale publications include geological maps and hydrogeological coverage, in association with the hydrology section of the Ministry of Energy and Water Resources and Development (MEWRD). Minerals mapping has been carried out with the German Bundesanstalt fϋr Geowissenschaften und Rohstoffe (BfGR). French, British and Korean aid has also been used by GSZ. A program of aeromagnetic survey was carried out in conjunction with the Canadian International Development Agency between 1983 and 1991. 1:50,000 and 1:250,000 maps are available for the whole of the country, except for the extreme eastern fringes, as individual sheets or in four large blocks.
Amongst other mapping agencies in Zimbabwe are the Forestry Commission (ZFC), which is producing a 28-sheet 1:250,000 scale vegetation map, in conjunction with Zimap. This vegetation map is compiled from the Vegetation resources information system, established by ZFC and the Environment and Remote Sensing Institute, and based upon remote sensing and GIS technologies. The Ministry of Lands and Agriculture carries out project-oriented soils mapping, but maintains no formally published national series mapping programs.
Larger scale programs include photogrammetric 1:5,000 scale mapping of settlements. The current specification of these topo-cadastral maps includes a 4 m contour interval. A 1:2,500 scale map of Harare is also published.
Commercially published mapping of Zimbabwe includes a street atlas of Harare from Mapping and Promotional Services and road mapping from the Automobile Association Zimbabwe, who regularly update a national single sheet map, and also maintain ranges of touring maps of national parks. General maps of the country are released by a number of overseas publishers including South African Map Studio, International Travel Maps (ITM) Vancouver, Cartographia Budapest, Freytag-Berndt (FB) Vienna, (also marketed by New Holland), Lonely Planet and the French Institut Géographique National (IGN).
Zimap also issues small scale thematic mapping of the country, depicting administrative boundaries, population, land classification, soils, hydrology and climate. Population mapping presents the results of decennial censuses carried out by the Central Statistical Office. Zimap also issues full-colour town maps of Bulawayo and Harare.