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Afghanistan Maps and Data Products

By GeoCommunity Staff, September 21, 2001

A number of people in the GIS Community are searching for sources of digital map data for Afghanistan. Searching the web for commercial data products will yield a number of "hits", however, the search for data downloads and freebies will disappoint most, however, the GeoCommunity has received tips from a number of people!

Do you have GIS data for Afghanistan or the Middle East?
Submit your resource to

Afghanistan Information Management Service (AIMS) - AIMS has been established in response to the recent massive changes in Afghanistan. AIMS is dedicated to facilitating coordination through providing information products and services to the entire assistance community.

Land In Crisis from - NGS has developed a comprehensive section dedicated to following the events in Afghanistan. The site offers news, community discussion forums, and of course... maps! This site is a must see for those interested in the Geography of Afghanistan and the conflict from a geographic perspective.

Article - Maps of Afghanistan - A battery of sensors is being used to supply maps to US forces in Afghanistan. this article from GISUser, an Australian based publication

Afghanistan DEMs - Follow the latest international developments with these DEMs and DEM overlays of north central Afghanistan from the author of the "Terrain Modeling and Mapping using DEM, SDTS, DRG, DLG and DTED Data" website.

  • UN/FAO FTP Site - Christopher M. Auricht of International Land Systems, Aust/Asia tells us that he is presently in Rome putting together a warehouse of public domain data in ESRI format which UN - FAO will put on a public ftp site. This will contain an ArcView 3.x project file, on-line help system (complete with data set descriptions), etc. Additional (more detailed) data will be available on the secure ftp site. In addition, the UN has developed a web based product Afghanistan Geographic and Thematic Layer CD 2001. Chris is currently arranging to put this on the web as well. Thanks for the great resource Chris!

  • Telemorphic internet map service for Afghanistan - An "OpenApplet" serviing Public domain data including low res DEM and medium res Landsat TM data, plus small scale vectors for roads, rivers, boundaries, populated places VMAP0, GTOPO30, and NASA Databuy products.

  • For those of you interested in a comprehensive place name data file, we've produced an ArcView SHP coverage from NIMA place name source data. You can download the 3 MB file from

  • Infoterra - Infoterra Ltd have an archive of Landsat 7 ETM+ data over Afghanistan and the Middle East. Infoterra are also distributors for Landsat TM, IKONOS, SPOT, IRS and radar data. To request more info, Please contact the Data Services Department on +44 (0)1252 362080 or email

  • LandInfo LAND INFO offers a series of imagery and map datasets for Afghanistan and neighboring countries. All data is delivered in standard digital formats on CD.

  • Global Planner - Tobin International Ltd. has the entire world (except Antarctica), covered at 1:500,000 using Russian Military topographic maps. The product is called Global Planner. Over 3000 topo maps have been scanned and geo-referenced (WGS84). The data is bundled with the latest version of the 1:1,000,000 scale Digital Chart of the World vector data. Tobin can also provide all of Afghanistan at 1:200,000 or 1:100,000 scale in raster or vectorized form.

  • The XYZ Digital Map Company tells us that maps for Afghanistan can be produced using the new XYZ World Map database

  • -- This excellent DEM resource has added a small section dedicated to the production of DEMS for Afghanistan. The author notes that good, cheap data is very difficult to come by, with the best source he's located being the Russian topo series which is rather costly!

  • The popular Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection has put together a pretty extensive collection of Afghan related maps and map links - although you'll be hard-pressed to find downloadable vector data. A number of shaded relief, political, and other thematic maps/graphics are available

  •, a popular Arghan web directory has put together some pretty cool graphics, for example, this image of Kabul (see &

  • The UNHCR Mapping Unit has put together a number of graphics including this one of Afghanistan Nothing else really earth- shattering here though although, one might wish to follow up and check out the ADC WorldMap™ which was used as the base data.

  • One reader suggested that I look at the Survey of India. As Afganisthan was part of British Rule, old topomaps during british period may be available.

  • John Blackburn, Washington and Lee University has posted a number of maps and related Afghan resources at

  • Searching the GeographyNetwork yields a number of results, including:
    Map Services - Image (ArcIMS) 30
    Map Services - Image (WMS) 18
    Map Services - Feature (ArcIMS) 2
    Solutions 9
    GeoServices 1
    Map Data Files 52
    Clearinghouses 29
    These included geological maps, earthquakes, airports, and VMAP 1:250K data services.

  • The Richmond Map facility has some pretty interesting info, however, I never did find what I was looking for. The related links offers some pretty good trails to follow Those with proper security clearance or authorization can order information from them at 1-800-826-0342.

  • has a link to an e-mail from Geoffrey Forbes, Director of Operations East View Cartographic, Inc and indicates that he has 1:50,000 Russian military topos. Be sure to follow up some of the excellent data links listed at the bottom of the main page in the Resources section

  • Missing Maps has a very extensive catalog of maps available including 1:50K topos for Afghanistan. No free downloads, but for those of you seriously looking for maps and data this is an excellent resource.

  • The popular Odden's Bookmarks yields 30 hits when you search using "Afghanistan" (see

  • UC Berkeley has an impressive list of publications and data products making up more than 600 CD-ROMS of data. I haven't had time to sift through the entire collection but it's definitely worth a look.

  • Of course, if your looking for a DEM, be sure to consult Bruce Gidding's Digital Elevation Data Catalogue at

  • Dimitri Rotow has suggested we check out VMAP (formerly DCW) (see NIMA publishes the VMAP1 series on CD and via download from their site. Unfortunately, they've only published about 60 of the 232 CD and are withholding the rest. Dimitri tells us that Afghanistan is covered by CD109 and CD110 with parts in CDs 88, 89 and 131. All of this data was created by the US military. Users may wish to consider submitting a FOI request for data.

    Do you have GIS data for Afghanistan or the Middle East?
    Submit your resource to

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