New 1/200,000 scale baseline mapping for Mali: The project comes to an end in September 2016


The European Union called on IGN FI in October 2012 for a project to rework Mali’s 1/200,000 scale national topographic map, create derived projects and services and modernize the Geographic Institute of Mali (IGM).

This project, financed by means of the 10th EDF (European Development Funds) has a dual objective:

–        Creating a national reference database to be used as a basis for producing  the country’s new 1/200,000 scale topographic map as well as a complete set of derived products and services,

–        Guarantee the transfer of a complete range of skills to personnel thanks to support from the Technical Assistance provided.

The end-products shall represent a common cartographic reference system which is coherent with all its sectors of application. This system shall constitute the foundation for production work on thematic data by the various institutions.

The project to rework Mali’s 1/200,000 baseline mapping shall officially come to an end in September 2016 after a period of four years.

Mali’s national cartography had not been updated for 50 years. “The landscape had obviously Changed enormously over the last 50 years: new dams had been built, new roads had appeared, villages disappeared, urban areas spread and the agricultural and forest perimeters had changed. Mali’s baseline mapping therefore no longer reflected the real situation on the ground and how the country had changed.”says Mr Ando Enko Guindo, General Director of the IGM.

Sikasso ©IGM/IGN FI

New tools in line with the main challenges facing the country

The project took place within a specific security context which had to be taken into account in order to bring it to completion – mission accomplished:

– Production of a new baseline map covering the entire national territory, with more than 100,000 copies printed,

– Creation of derived products such as digital maps, vectorial databases to a scale of 1/200,000 and 1/1,000,000,

– Implementation and administration of web-based data visualization tools (geoportal) and research tools (geocatalogue).

Several additional products were also created for pedagogical purpose and are of particular use to the Institute and the country:

– A large-scale vector database for land occupation using photo-interpretation of Spot 6 satellite images (resolution of less than 2 metres),

– Maps of the country’s 28 most important towns (mainly the principal towns of regions and circles in the ‘secured’ areas).

Skills transfer

The entire project was run according to IGN FI’s general philosophy: transfer as many skills and technologies as possible. The objective has always been to guarantee IGM’s capacity to ensure the continuity of work once the project has ended.

Project manager Nicolas Gréhant, explains: “In order to ensure the highest level of ownership, 100% of production took place at the IGM in Bamako. It is essential for the IGM management teams to be able to carry out updates of the topographic maps and databases. With this in mind, 10 IGM managers along with 30 contract staff were trained over the 47 and half months of the project. Training included satellite imagery processing, recording and analyzing data, cartography and managing the web tools implemented. This transfer of skills ended with a training period in France for a dozen Institute managers in the fields of geodesy, mapping and imagery and resulting in qualifications for them all, right up to a Masters 2 level for two of them.”

Over and above implementing the project, these training sessions will enable Mali to dispose of a skills pool in geomatics that can be easily used in the future.

The dynamic nature of the project also enabled the initial programme to be extended with the renovation of IGM’s premises and the acquisition of new equipment.

IGN FI has also used its experience to help IGM enhance the value of its products and implement a more suitable commercial policy, allowing the country to increase its resources.

A new map accepted by all

A delegation from Mali’s IGM came to Paris in June 2016 for a visit to IGN France and IGN FI. This visit was made with a view to finalizing the Institute’s future strategic approach and validating the tests on future maps that will be printed in France over the summer 2016 then sent to Mali.

In September 2016, the project shall officially come to an end with the final seminars taking place in the various regions and in Bamako. The objective is to make national and local actors aware of how to use the cartographic products and to render the project’s results more visible as well as the work carried out by IGM.

To conclude, it is important to remember that IGN FI has already proven its expertise in this type of project, working on similar mapping projects, always with skills transfer, in Senegal, Burkina Faso and Benin (started in 2014 and still in progress).

About IGN FI

IGN FI is a design office specialized in geomatic projects. A subsidiary of Groupe Fit and the National Institute of Geographic and Forest Information (IGN), IGN FI offers its expertise to foreign government bodies and has become over recent years, the undeniable partner in its fields of work:  geographical information and geographic information systems.

Find out more about IGN France International projects at www.ignfi.com

About IGM

The Geographical Institute of Mali is a national public administration establishment with an incorporated body and financial autonomy. It is governed by the Ministry for Equipment, Transport and Development of access which is in charge of mapping and topography.

The Geographical Institute of Mali was created following reorganization of the former National Directorate of Cartography and Topography which was founded in 1979.

To find out more about IGM visit: www.igm-mali.ml


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