South Africa’s national mapping agency proposes changes to its map series, calls for input

The Chief Directorate: National Geospatial Information’s (CD: NGI) produces maps and other geospatial information for South Africa. To improve its products and keep up with trends and universality, the directorate has embarked on a map design project to update symbologies, annotations, map languages, graticules and other aspects on its 1: 10 000 Orthophoto and 1: 50 000 Topographic map series.

The natural language used in the maps will be reviewed in the context of the official languages of South Africa, the language policy of the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD), and usability. The four proposed languages to be used on 1: 10 000 and 1: 50 000 maps are extracted from the country’s national anthem. The proposal therefore calls for one Nguni language (isiZulu) and Northern Sesotho language (Sepedi) to be used in addition to English and Afrikaans.

The following annotation changes are proposed for both map scales:

  • Place of Worship: “Pw”
  • Police Station: “Ps”
  • Post Office: “Po”
  • School: “Sc”
  • Store: “St”

A standard map in the 1:10 000 scale Orthophoto map series currently covers 3 by 3 minutes. An alphanumeric reference, divided into a 30-seconds by 30-seconds grid, providing 36 reference blocks, is proposed to ease referencing. Similarly, a standard map in the 1:50 000 scale Topographic Map series covers an area of 15 minutes by 15 minutes. For easier referencing, a 1 minute by 1-minute graticule is proposed, which will provide 225 reference blocks on standard maps in this series.

It is further proposed that the 1:10 000 scale Orthophoto Map series depict the boundary line and boundary name for International and Provincial boundaries as well as District and Local Municipal boundaries on the face of the map. To standardise the 1: 50 000 Topographic Map series with those on other mapping products (1: 2 000 000, 1: 250 000 1: 500 000 and the country’s National Land Cover), the colour yellow is proposed to depict built-up areas. This should also ease users in making comparisons.

Another change, certain and not proposed, will see the inclusion of the merged department’s corporate branding at the bottom left corner of national mapping products.

Users can provide their input by completing the CD: NGI’s questionnaire:

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