Before Independance (1991), Namibia was covered by map series at scale 1:50'000 and 1:250'000 produced and maintained by the South African administration. The production of these maps was based on "classical" methods of surveying and drafting, and yhe maps were only available as paper copies.

These maps are still available at the Directorate of Survey and Mapping, but for many applications, they are outdated (most were last revised in the '80s), and some map sheets are out of stock (only xerox black and white copies are available).

In 1995, the Directorate of Survey and Mapping (DSM) embarked in an ambitious programme aiming at creating the capacity to revise and maintain these maps. This programme included staff recruitment and training, equipment and the definition of an appropriate updating methodology. This methodology is now largely based on computers and the new maps are also available in digital formats.