What's New
at
www.MadMappers.com

Find out here on latest developments and data releases at www.madmappers.com


12 November 2006: Tracks4Africa on Google Earth

More than 6 years of efforts by the Tracks4Africa community (www.tracks4africa.com) have today culminated with the release of a Tracks4Africa layer on Google Earth.

The T4A layer was been compiled using only GPS tracklogs contributed by the T4A community: it covers the whole African continent and it has been recognized by Google as world class data suitable to go alongside very high resolution imagery.

MadMappers is proud in the small contribution given to this remarkable mapping exercise. Due to the nature of this voluntary effort data coverage is excellent in some places but less so in others.

We invite everyone with a GPS to join this pan African mapping initiative aimed at creating a popular African GIS culture where everyone can give a contribution towards the re-mapping of Africa. To contribute: e-mail your GPS tracklog at the end of your journey

Please note that this initiative is not aimed at mapping major urban centres (often for cities very good quality data already exists) but rather to put on the map rural roads and tracks (together with a road surface description)

Some examples of the T4A layer in East Africa:

Dar Es Salaam
Serengeti
Killimanjaro
Addis Abeba


To access the T4A layer on Google Earth activate "Tracks4Africa" within "Layers" > "Primary database" > "Featured Content" i.e. where the National Geographic layer is.

More instructions are available at "T4A Maps on Google Earth"

To the T4A guys: well done!



2 October 2006: South African 50k and 250k maps are back on-line

Thanks to Global Mapper (www.globalmapper.com) the South African raster maps (250k and 50k) are once again back on-line for free download.

The data server is now running on Linux and hopefully the problems of the past will be history.

Please report any problem in file download. Particularly "file not found" messages.

We thank everyone for the understanding and numerous offers of assistance.



2 October 2006: South African 50k and 250k maps are back on-line

Thanks to Global Mapper (www.globalmapper.com) the South African raster maps (250k and 50k) are once again back on-line for free download.

The data server is now running on Linux and hopefully the problems of the past will be history.

Please report any problem in file download. Particularly "file not found" messages.

We thank everyone for the understanding and numerous offers of assistance.



27 September 2006: South African 50k and 250k maps server down again

Once more the server hosting South African 50k and 250k maps is down.

We do not know the nature of the problem, last month all SA data was deleted, what about this time?
We do not know what to hope for. One fact is certain: we cannot afford to upload every month >10Gb of maps, not with a 3Gb cap.

Fortunately website proper and 500k Russian maps are on a different server which is not affected.

Watch this space for updates on the server status.



24 August 2006: South African 50k and 250k maps are back on server

Thanks to Mike of Global Mapper (www.globalmapper.com) the South African raster maps (250k and 50k) are back on-line for free download.

We never stop to be surprised by Mike: not only he has developed a brilliant piece of GIS software but his efficency and response time in crisis is unmatched by any standard. While some of us are busy thinking of ways to solve a problem, Mike has already found and implemented the solution.

Please report any problem in file download. Particularly "file not found" messages. Some file names will need to be corrected so that they are compatible across both Windows and Linux platforms.

Finally: some users have been quite distressed by the non-availability of free downloads. We remind everyone that this is a free service, financed by no-one but ourselves. It would be nice to hear a "thank you" from time to time. Impolite e-mails are definitely out of place and do not deserve any reply.


22 August 2006: South African 50k and 250k maps no longer available for download

For the last few weeks the server hosting the SA maps has been the target of a hacker. Unfortunately yesterday he/she eventually managed to get in and actually deleted everything that was hosted on that server.

Our compliments to him/her for proving to everyone how stupid he/she actually is. Most of us learn during our childhood that to break is very easy, that the challenge is in building not in breaking. I guess some parents have not been succesful in putting this point across and as a parent I feel sorry for them, my 6 year old son has understood this ... is the hacker maybe younger than 6?

From a practical point of view it might take some considerable time to re-upload the 9Gb of SA data.

On the bright side: the deletion only affects the sgSA250k and sgSA50k mapset, the MadMapper website and other data (e.g. Russian 500k maps) are not affected by the "deletion" since they are hosted on a different server.

We will do our best to reload data as quickly as we can.


4 August 2006: The African set of Soviet military topographic maps scale 1:500.000 released for free download

Soviet military maps were regularly updated until the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s and remain still among the best available maps for Africa. The Military Topographic Directorate (V.T.U.) was probably the most comprehensive mapping organization in the world. It is estimated that 35,000 to 40,000 cartographers worked for the Russian mapping program in 1996 - a time when the program was hardly at its zenith. The program extended to a number of African countries including Angola, Mozambique, Somalia and Libya.

In the quest for "African GIS data accessible to all" MadMappers have released for free download the topographic 1:500 000 scale map collection covering the whole African continent. The 515 maps have been re-projected to geographic (lat/lon) WGS84 and collar clipped so that a continental mosaic could be compiled. Files are geo-referenced and in the compact ER Mapper ecw format characterized by wavelet compression and indexed zoom levels which result in fast loading and low random memory requirements.

We have divided the maps according to the hemisphere:

Northern Africa: 334 maps

Southern Africa: 181 maps


Also available: a
Cyrillic alphabet chart, a list of Russian map terms, a Map legend and a DVD set.


21 November 2005: AfricaGIS 2005: Beyond Talk: Geo-information working for Africa

Over over 600 delegates and exhibitors from various parts of the World converged on the CSIR International Convention Center in Pretoria (Tshwane - South Africa) to attend the biennial continental GIS conference. One week (31 October to 4 November 2005) during which government, industry and international institutions met to assess the situation, look at new ideas and identify a way forward.

Madmappers was there to listen and learn how "things" are working out and what the future will bring us. And to present to an international audience the World Wind Africa initiative in association with NASA LT.

You can find more on our AfricaGIS2005 page


21 November 2005: Africa GIS2005: World Wind Africa: African GIS accessible to all

This is the title of our contribution to AfricaGIS 2005. The paper was co-authored by Patrick Hogan, the NASA LT World Wind project manager and attracted positive response by the African community. A number of African countries have expressed an interest in a customized World Wind country version.

You can view the paper by clicking here!

More information on the World Wind Africa initiative can be found at

WORLD WIND AFRICA link


5 September 2005: AfricaTopo now available!
5 September 2005: MadMappers is seven month old

28 March 2005: South African 50k complete set for FREE download!

23 March 2005: South African 50k mapset: Kwazulu-Natal for FREE download!

17 March 2005: South African 50k mapset: Mpumalanga for FREE download!

12 March 2005: South African maps 250k now available for FREE download!

Image of the month: Victoria Falls by Quickbird

3 March 2005: Zulu 7 on DVD set now available!
3 March 2005: MadMappers is one month old

25 February 2005: African Index Maps for OziExplorer added


23 February 2005: South African 50k on DVD set now available!

10 February 2005: Maps download system tests

8 February 2005: Software update
8 February 2005: MadMappers is one week old

1 February 2005: MadMappers site goes public
1 February 2005: GIS data update

1 February 2005: Software update




U P D A T E S


5 September 2005: AfricaTopo now available!

AfricaTopo is a Mad project aimed at creating a 20m contour map of the African continent for use as a background map on a GPS. The project is well under way and the first step has now reached completion: South Africa.

The mapset includes 20m contour lines, elevation points, trig beacons, rivers, water areas and coastline. The set is compiled transparent so that it can be used in conjunction with other GPS maps e.g. overlaid on road maps on the GPS. More information can be found at

http://www.madmappers.com/AfricaTopo/AfricaTopo1.htm

As a bonus we have included on the AfricaTopo CD the latest version (ver.1,32) of NASA World Wind free 3D interactive map of the Globe with the plug-in for your GPS.

We thank the Chief Directorate of Surveys & Mapping of South Africa for providing the data thus making this first step possible and all their staff, Sue and Raoul in particular, for being extremely patient and helpful. It is remarkable how much passion for GIS and mapmaking can be found at CD:SM, it is rare to meet someone who has fun at work! to top


5 September 2005: MadMappers is seven month old

For the past 5 months the website has been remarkably quiet. Those who are close to the MM community know that this has been because MadMappers' commitments have grown to such an extent that we have had little time for the website.

This is actually not correct: for financial reasons first (too much traffic!) and technical reasons later we have had to move (and set-up) our servers 3 times in the last 5 months, so in reality we have spent lot of our time learning to do ourselves all sorts of "web stuff" we knew nothing about.

And then ... we spent lot of energies in many different projects which will come to some concrete results in the next few weeks. We are very excited on the future, great things are on the pipeline and we will try to update you one project at the time in the next few days. A few keywords to keep you wondering: AfricaTopo, WorldWindAfrica, Space, AfricaGIS2005, UNO ....

As some of you might have noticed that the MadMappers' forum has been moved on Yahoo!

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MadMappers/

and it now consists of 122 members. We receive an enormous amount of mails at info@madmappers.com and it would help us immensely if some of the "how do I ..." would be directed to the forum.

Finally we would like to thank many MadMappers who have actively helped in the past months, in particular Hans, Peter, Duncan and Christian.
to top


23 March 2005: South African 50k mapset:

Complete set for FREE download!

The complete 1:50.000 South African map series is available for download: 2175 maps totalling more than 7Gb

Courtesy of Surveys and Mapping of South Africa, the electronic maps are in geographic (Lat/lon) projection and collar cropped for mosaicking. They are geo-calibrated for use in OziExplorer. In addition a world file is also present.

This is not a quick download task and if your web connection is not so fast or you have a cap do not despair: the complete MadMappers South African collection scale 1:50.000 on DVD set is only R 450 plus postage. Check the mapsets on CD section for more details.to top


23 March 2005: South African 50k mapset:

Kwazulu-Natal now available for FREE download!

More of the 1:50.000 South African map series is available for download.

The second province to be released is Mpumalanga with 167 maps for a total of 650Mb.
Courtesy of Surveys and Mapping of South Africa, the electronic maps are in geographic (Lat/lon) projection and collar cropped for mosaicking. They are geo-calibrated for use in OziExplorer. In addition a world file is also present.

This province is the second of the 9 South African provinces to be released, for a total of over 2000 maps.  Watch this space for news on the release of other provinces.

And if your web connection is not so fast, do not despair: the complete MadMappers South African collection scale 1:50.000 on DVD set is only R 450 plus postage. Check the mapsets on CD section for more details.to top


17 March 2005: South African 50k mapset:

Mpumalanga now available for FREE download!

The 1:50.000 South African map series is finally available for download.

The first province to be released is Mpumalanga with 152 maps for a total of 560Mb.
Courtesy of Surveys and Mapping of South Africa, the electronic maps are in geographic (Lat/lon) projection and collar cropped for mosaicking. They are geo-calibrated for use in OziExplorer. In addition a world file is also present.

This province is the first of the 9 South African provinces to be released, for a total of over 2000 maps.  Watch this space for news on the release of other provinces.

And if your web connection is not so fast, do not despair: the complete MadMappers South African collection scale 1:50.000 on DVD set is only R 450 plus postage. Check the mapsets on CD section for more details.to top


12 March 2005: South African maps 250k now available for FREE download!

MadMappers makes history for the African Continent!

In an unprecedented move, MadMappers has become the first web provider of free African topographic maps.
The question which comes to our mind is: who else is providing free maps in the world? We do not know of many: USGS in the USA, then ... well, not many more, and for sure no-one without a multimillion dollar budget. We feel in good company, why spoil the moment with budget matters!

It all started on Tuesday 3rd September 2002 when a group of friends attended in Johannesburg a symposium at the World Summit titled "Global Mapping - SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AND GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION".
Between many notable speakers, Derek Clarke, Chief Director of Surveys and Mapping of South Africa stood out. He highlighted the importance of easy access to mapping information, more so in less developed countries than in developed ones.
Then he spoke about the common perception that development creates the resources needed for compiling good maps while the opposite is in fact true: good, easily accessible maps are the foundations of development. On the African continent, politicians constantly search for ways to stimulate development but too often overlook the need for maps. NEPAD is the perfect example: maps are mentioned no-where in the economic programme: what kind of renaissance are we supposed to achieve?

With a few exceptions most African maps were compiled in the colonial years. "Why need new maps when there are old ones?", Simply because the world changes and so do maps. And the few old available maps are too often regarded by government departments as confidential information, not only almost inaccessible to the general public but also not shared between government departments. Similarly the private sector is unwilling to share information, with a sort of satisfaction at the prospect that others, including their own Governments, will be unable to make informed decision.

It was quite astonishing to hear these words: a few days earlier we had received a quote of about R20.000 (almost $3.400) for the set of South African maps scale 1:250.000 in electronic format (which are the same set we are now offering for free download).

A few months after the World Summit, the South African Government took the decision that maps had to become freely accessible to everyone.

But how could this be achieved in practice? Simple: MadMappers!
Actually not that simple, as we found out later. But where there is the will, there is a way and finally an idea has become reality.

All this would have not been possible without the support  of the Chief Directorate - Surveys and Mapping (CDSM) of the Republic of South Africa. Thank them before thanking us.
And then thank Louis Cretier (Turin, Italy; mail: clovis@libero.it), who made it technically possible, and Mike Childs (www.globalmapper.com) who, not only is the developer of a brilliant piece of GIS software, but who has also put at our disposal his web servers.

This is the first real step of MadMappers. In the next few days MadMappes will be releasing more than 2000 maps of South Africa scale 1:50.000 in electronic format province by province. So watch this space for news on the release.

And if your web connection is not so fast, do not despair: MadMappers South African collection scale 1:250.000 on CD is only R 100 ($17) plus postage. Check the mapsets on CD section for more details.to top

Image of the month: Victoria Falls by Quickbird
High resolution satellite imagery with Quickbird has reached a level of detail previously only achieved by aerial photography. MadMappers brings you a taste of what Quickbird is capable of, by means of an aerial view of the Victoria Falls at the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe (courtesy of Digital Globe). Resolution was decreased by 50% to 1m/pixel and calibration of the image  was achieved with OziExplorer using GPS waypoints collected by MadMappers. The Image was then oriented to true north using GlobalMapper.

Download Victoria Falls by Quickbird (1,3Mb), load it in OziExplorer or GlobalMapper and compare it with your own GPS tracklogs or vector data. Let us know if you agree with the calibration. to top


3 March 2005: Zulu 7 on DVD set now available!
MadMappers has now available on DVDs the African collection of Zulu 7 False colour mosaics, over 30Gb of highly compressed satellite images at a resolution of just over 14m/pixel from Landsat 7.
We have chosen False Colour because of the high contrast and crispiness of the images, which allows finer features to be identified.

Price for each DVDs is R150 (US$25). For the set of available DVDs, postage charges (anywhere in the world) will not be applicable!
Check the mapsets on CD section for more details.
to top


3 March 2005: MadMappers is one month old
February has been a long/short month.
Short  for the number of days in the calendar but mostly because many of the targets were not achieved. I guess we were over-ambitious: time, time, time.
Long, because as our monthly traffic cap shrunk very quickly and was exceeded extremely quickly: we would have liked this February to be only 10 days long!
In truth we had never hoped to have so much traffic, there are more MadMappers out there than expected. Very surprising to us was the area distribution of the traffic, truly international, with only 26% share for South Africa. All Continents were well represented except Asia.

We have succeeded in finding a bandwidth sponsor in North America and we are confident to have a reasonable amount of downloadable maps shortly. Data is on its way to the USA and should be loaded on the server any time soon.

We have also received some interesting data contributions from academic institutions. Data will require extensive processing but will enable MadMappers.com to offer some unique products not available anywhere else.

You might have noticed that search for Vector data returns "no such data available". This is does not mean that that data does not exists, just that it has to be entered in the MM archive. Before doing that we have to find the most practical way to list it, possibly in graphic form, and most importantly it should be presented in a standard projection and format suitable for everyone to fulfil the aim GIS data accessible to all.
If you have any particular requirement enquire with us

Finally a big thanks to all the guys who have been helping: without you it would not have been possible. to top



25 February 2005: African Index Maps for OziExplorer added
Behind any map archive, no matter how small it is, there should be a set of index maps: overview country maps and national map-list indices. By the use of index maps the required correct map will be identified and located in a matter of seconds.
If you are an OziExplorer user you are lucky, the index map system is fantastic.
In the Raster Maps - Africa Index Map section you will find overview maps for every African country in ozf2 format. Store them in the Index Maps folder of your OziExplorer program directory and you will never loose a map again.
If you are not an OziExplorer user do not despair: tell us which program you use and which image format you prefer and it will be added. In the meantime you'll be able to use the index maps in the free Trial version of Oziexplorer.

We have included 2 national maplist maps: Namibia and South Africa. With them it is possible to identify the name of any 50k map in these countries. If you have maplists of other countries please send them to us and they will be included in the National Maplist section. to top

23 February 2005: South African 50k on DVD set now available!
Is it possible to compile 30Gbs of digital maps into a simple, easy to use set?
2 DVDs is the result we are proud of. By virtue of this achievement MadMappers is now able to offer the SA 50k mapset at a cost lower than anyone had hoped for and ready to use with OziExplorer and Global Mapper: all it is required is to place the DVD into the DVD drive and load the maps. As simple as that.
Price for the 2 DVDs set containing over 2000 maps is R550 (US$90). DVDs are also available separately. Check the mapsets on CD section for more details.

Unfortunately (or ... fortunately?) after only 15 days we have exceeded our traffic threshold for the month. Nevertheless, we are making available some free sample maps of the SA 50k set for those who are not familiar with them:

2528CC Centurion
2628AA Johannesburg
3318CD Cape Town
3418AB&AD Cape Peninsula

Keep watching: more sets are to be released soon. to top

10 February 2005: Maps download system tests
We are conducting system tests. Please keep it in mind if something unexpected occurs.
3 maps of South Africa scale 1:250.000 are currently available for free download:

3318 Cape Town
3319 Worcester
3320 Ladismith

You will notice that pages relative to these 3 maps differ from all others map pages not yet available for download, in that a grey "download" button is now present. Note that maps which are not available for download no longer have the "download inactive" button. This note was removed to avoid the impression that certain maps in archive were about to become available for download without author's consent.
Once unzipped the above mentioned maps are ready-to-use and calibrated for  OziExplorer and Global Mapper (see
"GIS Tools" section). If you wish to use in other GIS software please enquire with us.
After you have completed downloading please send us a feedback mentioning:

- name of downloaded file
- time and duration of download
- average download rate (if available)
- type of connection
- GIS software you use (optional)
- any other comment
Once tests have been successfully completed the set South Africa scale 1:250.000 will become available for free download. to top

8 February 2005: Software update
It is with great satisfaction that we announce that MadMappers has become a distributor for the finest, easy-to-use GIS software in the world: Global Mapper.

GlobalMapper virtually combines in one suite what otherwise requires 2-3 other programs  to achieve. It is suited both to the beginner (if you are not sure about map projections, you will learn about it as you experiment) and to the GIS professional (NASA project engineers are the most active on the Global Mapper user forum). Price? let's say we consider Global Mapper essential part of any MadMappers toolkit and so it is at a promotional price. Read more in the "GIS Tools" section.
to top

8 February 2005: MadMappers is one week old
It was an exciting week! Virtually without any publicity, the website recorded more than 7000 hits (from 17 countries on 4 continents) in the first 24 hours. That was sufficient for our ISP, Fujitsu, to take notice of us, deciding to increase bandwidth and give us a chance. As a result, in the next few days we should start making available the first sets for free download. We will start from the South African mapset scale 1:250.000 and follow then with the South African series 1:50.000 by Province. We do have limitation in data storage, so we will rotate provinces weekly. Please remember: the objective is not to have everyone download indiscriminately everything, if you want a set rather purchase data on CD, cost will be a fraction of the connection cost.

We continue to seek sponsorships for the website: the end of the financial year is near, is everyone's company in a tax loss position? Please spread the word around.

We are adding some pages which should address the many issues for which we received enquiries during the past week. One question we received repeatedly: where are the prices? If there is no price, then although the set is stored in the archive, it is not ready for public distribution yet. Reasons may be diverse: the set might have been priced, or it is not ready for distribution, or the author has not given authorization yet or ... the set is not intended for public distribution at all. In the next few weeks the database will be modified to give reasons why some data is not yet available. Please be patient. MadMappers is a non-profit project based on voluntary work, please keep it in mind.

We also intend to start a new section "download of the week": we will have there super-special stuff, keep your eyes open. In the meantime do not miss the "Gallery" where we are exhibiting interesting images: please contribute, show the world what MadMappers can do.

Finally: we have no experience on e-commerce. If you do please contact us for some advise. Some mapsets cannot be distributed unless we are able to collect some royalty fees.to top

 

1 February 2005: MadMappers site goes public
After a long development period www.madmappers.com goes live!
We are indeed disappointed for not having been able to secure a sponsored data server.
Many prospective sponsors have panicked as soon as they realized that the amount of download data would run in the order of hundreds of Gibabytes.
Hopefully by going live we will be able to spread our plea for one or more sponsored server.
We are particularly disappointed because we have been granted
web distribution rights for South African data: we had planned to release for free download the topographic series scale 1:250k (70 maps) and 1:50k (over 2000 maps).
This would have been a first for the African continent and put MadMappers on the global map, next to the U.S. Geological Survey.
Our motto is "African GIS accessible to all": isn't out there anyone who shares this vision and does not wish to receive global exposure by associating its name with this ambitious project?

Until further notice www.madmappers.com will supply data on media only (i.e. CD or DVD) and only in exceptional circumstances by controlled download.

We would like to extend a particulat thanks to Louis Cretier (Turin, Italy; mail: clovis@libero.it): he has dedicated many months of volunteer work in developing the Meltemi map search and management system which, in our humble opinion, is superb both for provider and user. For this project Louis had to develop from scratch many innovative ways to do "web things" so that web users (i.e. ourselves) could become "web providers" without knowing how.

Without Louis the MadMappers project would have never been.

Lot of work has still to be done both on the website and on loading of data.  For an overview of the currently available MM collection click here. As we write we have 12651 maps in archive! to top
 

 

1 February 2005: GIS data update
Lot of work has still to be done both on the website and on adding of data. Yes, there is more. Possibly what you'll find now is only slightly over 50% of the MM collection. In addition to aerial photography and satellite imagery there is the whole vector section which still needs to be added! For an overview of the currently available MM collection click here.

Keep watching this space for updates on newly available mapsets and data releases.

A couple of words on data policy: whenever possible MM will favour providing unpublished original data. There is an enormous amount of raw data on the web which requires added processing before being practically useful. Whenever you identify raw data feel free to contact us: we will advise and assist you in data processing so that a new improved MM mapset can be produced.


There are many MadMappers in the closet out there: if you have created ANY map please contact us. If it is unfinished we will help you finish it. It will be added in the Raster Maps MadMappers section giving you full credit for your work.  
to top

 

1 February 2005: Software update
Most MadMappers are Oziexplorer users. Why? Simply because it is the best value for money GIS software on the market. Ozi, as we call it, can handle both raster digital maps and vectors, it can be connected to your GPS for uploading and downloading data and it is an excellent moving map software. Furthermore updates are free and support magnificient

Madmappers have acquired distribution right for OziExplorer: a way to help MadMappers survival is to purchase the Oziexplorer licence from us (particularly if you have an illegal copy). Price is the same as from the software developer and in addition you get a value packed CD with 70 maps of the South African map series scale 1:250 000 and Gtopo30 Digital Elevation Data which you would spend hours to download on your 56k modem.

We are likely to be criticised for supporting certain software packages rather than others. We support what we use. If another MadMapper does not agree with our choice he is welcome to support on this forum anything he likes. We will listen, judge and hopefully be convinced. But please, do not avoid price comparisons! The Madmappers motto is "GIS data accessible to all". The word accessible has been chosen for this exact reason: data must be suitable for use in software we can afford.  Sustainable Development cannot be based on cracks and illegal software!to top

Welcome to the MadMappers community!

Raster Maps | GPS Maps | Vectors | DEM | Satellite Imagery | Aerial Photos
 
HOME | NEWS | GIS TOOLS | FORUM | GALLERY | MAPSETS on CD | DISCLAIMER | CONTACT US

2005 www.madmappers.com