Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Dutch topo maps are at 1:500 to 1:2000 scale

The Dutch have constructed the Large Scale Standard Map of The Netherlands (GBKN) which they say is the most detailed topographic map available for any country. Their maps are at a scale of 1:500 or 1:1000 in surburban areas and 1:2000 in rural areas. Now, the Netherlands is a small country and pretty flat, but their national resources to complete this project are comparably sized. [right: sample from GBKN]

Compare this to topographic mapping in the U.S. How many of our 1:24,000 topo maps are decades out of date? There is a large industry that has grown up in this country to supply the private sector with the detailed mapping they need. That data is typically proprietary and expensive to get for public purposes.

I found out about the Dutch work because my colleague Martin Peersmann, who I work with on the OneGeology initiative, has just moved to become head of the GBKN.

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