August 2006

Monthly Archive

South African 50k and 250k maps are back on server

Maurizio 24 Aug 2006 | : Maps

Thanks to Mike of Global Mapper ( 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.

South African 50k and 250k maps no longer available for download

Maurizio 22 Aug 2006 | : Maps

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.

African set of Soviet military topographic maps scale 1:500.000 released for free download

Maurizio 04 Aug 2006 | : Maps

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.