|Researchers in Jamaica will already be aware of the topographical maps available from the National Land Agency of Jamaica, as well as GIS programs such as Arcview. Others, who would like to visit and explore the more remote districts of the island, might not be familiar with, or able to afford, these resources. On this page, we would like to assist those who do not have access to university funded computer programs, and maps, in finding their way through the hills and valleys of Jamaica.|
There are three series of Jamaican topo maps: the 1:50,000 Imperial Grid; the 1:50,000 Jamaica Metre Grid, (JMG); and the 1:12,500 Imperial Grid. The 1:50,000 series can be obtained in hard-copy in 20 sheets, or digitized in 20 image files, and is referenced to JAD69. The 1:12,500 topo series is available in both hard-copy, in 232 sheets, and two digitized versions, vector and raster. The hard-copy 1:12,500 maps are referenced to a Clarke1880 spheroid; the digitized versions are referenced to WGS84 using a datum transformation with parameters that are still a work in progress. All of these maps can be purchased through the website of the National Land Agency of Jamaica.
Vector maps that are compatible with common GPS receivers are currently only available in beta versions that are under construction by the JCO. We are in need of field-testers and invite interested parties to contact us in aid of this. Further information can be found via the link at the top of this page.
Datum transformations for Jamaica are not readily available, other than on our site. Walk-throughs for datum conversions for JAD69, JAD2001, and WGS84 can be found via the Jamaica GIS page.
A Digital Elevation Model (DEM) at 30m is publicly available for Jamaica. A DEM at 6m exists but is currently restricted to Ja govt sources. Further information can be supplied upon request by contacting us at the email address found above.
The Jamaican Caves Organization, in aid of the georeferencing work that we do, has created a new raster map set based on the original 1:50,000 Jamaica metric topographic maps. This was done out of necessity to help bring greater clarity to forested, hilly areas, such as those found in the Cockpit Country. A section of this new map will be seen to the right.
This map was created by using the best Landsat satellite set available for the western two-thirds of the island, and then false-colouring and combining four of the seven spectral frequencies that would most clearly show the difference between forested hills and bottomland. It was then rotated, scaled, and layered upon a scanned, digitized set of the 1:50,000 topo maps. It will be apparent, by comparing the original topo section seen at the top of the page to our altered version, why we have done this; it was very difficult to distinguish what was up, and what was down, by looking at the contour lines. The Cockpit Country is especially tricky because there are many hills, and many cockpits. We finally gave up on the frustrating task of figuring out the contour lines, and made our own maps. It took many, many hours to do it.
This creation of ours has been referenced, by us, to the GPS datum, WGS84, using both Geotrans and GPS ground-proofing, and exists in hard-copy and digitized versions.
It should be noted that these maps are not a replacement for the NLAJ maps and should be used in association with them.
The Landsat-Topo Series
The JCO, which is in great need of funding, has decided to make our maps available to the general public. At present, four maps are ready to go: The West; St James; Trelawney; The Cockpit Country. Others will follow.
Low-resolution versions of all of the maps can be seen below, starting with the Cockpit Country map, (note that the CC map doesn't come with the large text... it's there so we don't get the pic stolen via the internet).
Full-scale samples of the files, in jpg, will be found further down, along with prices.
The Cockpit Country
(Cockpit Country Only)
The Cockpit Country map as shown above in a poster version - (not yet available).
Full scale* - Four sheet series, 28 x 35 cm, (11 x 14 in), per sheet, 143 dpi - 40 US$.
Full scale* - Laminated set for field-use - 60$.
*(Scale is 1:50,000, similar to the sample seen in the middle photo on this page. UTM grid overlaid.)
Shipping is included.
The Cockpit Country file is available for 35 US$. All other maps are 25 US$.
Each map consists of a group of files. Included are three 31 MB image files, (.tif, .bmp, .bmp with UTM grid), two .map georeferencing files, and the Demo version of OziExplorer. The image files may be opened and printed with any photo program. The georeferencing files enable the image files to be used with all common GPS mapping programs, such as OziExplorer, and Fugawi. The referencing is WGS84 and the accuracy is from +/- 9 metres, ( +/- 1 pixel), to +/- 27 m (+/- 3 pixels), depending on the program version. Two sets of referencing files are included: 2 calibration points for shareware versions, and 9 for registered versions.
The digitized maps can be accessed either online, or shipped as a CD-R.
Please note that all of the maps can be joined together by using any imaging program that can handle very large files.
Georeferencing updates will be made available, as they occur.
NB: Improvements will be made on all of the image files. Constructing these images has involved many steps, dealing with very large files. The computer that has been used has, at times, buckled under the strain. The quality of the current maps has been limited more by available processing speed, and RAM, rather than the detail in the raw data. It is our intention to improve everything as time goes by, and all of those who have purchased maps will get free updates of both image and referencing files.
For all of the above products, contact firstname.lastname@example.org for payment details.
All monies received will be directly applied to JCO caving projects, specifically, the Jan 2006 expedition. Stef is in need of transport to Ja, Ivor needs repairs to his car, Martel needs new boots, we need a few new headlamps, and we still need a decent camera, hygrometer, laser range-finder, etc, etc. Any money we get will be well spent and accounted for on the site.
Those who are only in need of a basic Jamaica Road Map are welcome to our liberated ESSO copy. We also have a free low-res section of the above West map that covers Negril. Feel free to copy both of them.