Buying maps of South Africa

article020If you’re looking for topographical maps (1:50 000), topo-cadastral (1:250 000) and orthophotos of South Africa, this is where to go.

The 1:50 000 topographical maps are the largest scale maps providing full coverage of South Africa. The series consists of a total of 1916 sheets. They accurately depict the location of natural and man-made features by means of symbols and colour, and elevation by means of spot heights and contours (20m interval). Additional information added are place names, boundaries, magnetic data, etc. The 1:50 000 topographical maps are generally compiled from aerial photographs. A standard 1:50 000 map sheet covers a rectangle of 15 minutes of latitude by 15 minutes of longitude or approximately 640 square kilometres.

The 1:250 000 topo-cadastral maps show topographical detail with the addition of names, numbers and boundaries of original farms, the boundaries of magisterial districts, and provincial and international boundaries. Elevation, depicted by means of contours at 50m intervals, is further enhanced by hypsometric tints, i.e. shades of brown becoming progressively darker as elevation increases. These sheets are generally derived from the larger scale 1:50 000 topographical maps with some detail of necessity being generalised, i.e. thinned out to show only the more important features. 70 maps of this series cover South Africa with each sheet generally covering an area of one degree of latitude and two degrees of longitude.

The 1:10 000 orthophoto maps combine all the advantages of conventional line maps and aerial photography. The photographic background has been rectified to remove image displacements and enlarged to a scale of 1:10 000. Unlike a conventional aerial photograph, accurate measurements can be made on the orthophoto map. Cartographic elements that cannot be derived from the photographic background have been added, namely: a co-ordinate grid, contours and spot heights, place names and route numbers.
The orthophoto maps cover all metropolitan and peri-urban areas and growth areas. At present, about 25% of the country is covered by these sheets.

National Geo-Spatial Information (NGI) (formerly called Chief Directorate: Mapping and Surveys)

Order directly from them for printed and digital maps. They have offices in Cape Town and Pretoria.

  • Cape Town: 021 658-4300
  • Pretoria: 012 341-2682



  1. Try the website and the contact number listed there – and then please let us know the new contact numbers so that we can update this page. No need to contact me (Lisa). I have no connection to the SA mapping department people (National Geo-Spatial Information)

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