The first accurate mapping of the mainland of Tanzania and offshore islands Pemba and Zanzibar was carried out when the state was administered as a trust territory by Great Britain. The Directorate of Colonial Surveys (later Directorate of Overseas Surveys (DOS) and now Ordnance Survey International (OSI)) started a photogrammetric 1:50,000 scale series in 1947, which like other British African mapping was based upon the Transverse Mercator projection, Clarke 1880 ellipsoid, and quarter-degree quadrangles. Early editions were planimetric. DOS established full-color topographic mapping on the same sheet lines, with 50 ft contours. The national mapping agency in Tanzania, the Surveys and Mapping Division (SMD) founded after independence in 1964, has continued to maintain and revise this series as the basic scale for most of the country. The current specification shows relief with a 20 m contour interval and is available for the whole country in 1,250 sheets. SMD has received technical aid from Japan, Poland, France, Britain, Italy and Canada to enable completion and updating of this map, which is used to derive smaller-scales.
A 1:250,000 scale map covers the country in 49 sheets, conforming to DOS East African specifications in Series Y503. Since 1970 these have been compiled from 1:50,000 scale data to show relief with metric layer tinting, but earlier editions used imperial contours. Smaller-scale maps include six sheets of the International map of the World, dating from the 1960s. A single map on these sheet lines was produced by DOS in the mid-1980s as an experimental LANDSAT-based image map. 1:2,000,000 scale coverage from SMD is regularly revised and a series of district maps is also published, with the scale varying according to the size of the administrative unit. About 60 settlements in Tanzania are mapped at 1:2,500 scale, and 1:5,000 scale coverage is derived from this source for some areas. A full-color 1:20,000 scale map of Dar-es-Salaam was published with Norwegian aid in 1995. This is derived from 1992 aerial photographs, also includes 1:10,000 scale mapping of the city centre, and shows relief with 10 m contours.
The island of Zanzibar has its own survey authority, the Department of Surveys and Urban Planning in the Ministry of Water Construction Energy Lands and Environment, and Zanzibar and Pemba are mapped in greater detail than most of the mainland. A seven-color 1:10,000 scale series was compiled by DOS to cover Zanzibar in 58 sheets and issued between 1982 and 1986. This is on the UTM projection and shows relief with 5 m contours. Pemba was covered to similar specifications in 44 sheets from 1985 to 1987. 1:50,000 scale maps were derived from this source material. DOS urban mapping of towns on the islands was also revised in the 1980s.
Soviet military topographic mapping of Tanzania is available at the following scales: 1:1,000,000 (7 sheets, complete coverage, published 1958-1977); 1:500,000 (22 sheets, complete coverage, published 1962-1985); 1:200,000 (46 sheets, primarily southern country coverage, published 1983-1984) and a city (1:10,000) topographic map of Dar es Salaam published in 1980. These products are available in print, digital raster and digital vector formats from East View Geospatial.
Hydrographic charting of Tanzanian waters is carried out by the British Hydrographic Office (HO).
Earth science maps of Tanzania have been produced by the Ministry of Energy and Minerals (MEM). A 1:125,000 scale series on quarter-degree sheet lines is available for about half the country, with full colour depiction of litho-stratigraphy. Some of the maps in this series were compiled with German aid. A 1:500,000 scale coverage of the Lake Victoria goldfields was compiled in 1990. Other smaller-scale mapping includes maps produced to accompany a five-volume summary of the geology of the country, including 1:2,000,000 scale mineral and structural maps, as well as larger scale more local coverage.
A limited amount of resources mapping of Tanzania has been published, notably by the British Natural Resources Institute (NRI) and its predecessors, and the Dutch ITC. A soil atlas of the country was compiled in the early 1980s giving very small-scale thematic coverage.
Small-scale tourist maps of Tanzania are published by Freytag-Berndt, Macmillan, Nelles Verlag and New Holland. Double-sided maps of national parks in Tanzania are compiled by Giovano Tombazzi, and OSI, ITM and West Col produce larger scale special sheets to cover Mount Kilimanjaro. An image map of the mountain has been compiled by Nigel Press and published with Stanfords, London.
The Central Bureau of Statistics in Dar es Salaam assists SMD to map the results of censuses, as well as carrying out pre-census mapping showing census divisions in districts and regions.