The Anglo-Ethiopian Society

Buying Maps from EMA

Author - John Mellors

Not many years ago it was very difficult to buy detailed maps from the Ethiopian Mapping Authority (EMA) in Addis Ababa but now it’s much easier. The whole of Ethiopia is covered by their 1:250,000 series of maps (series EMA3). These maps show the major and minor roads but aren't that much use for trekking on foot in the wilds or for finding the names of churches. Their 1:50,000 series are much more suitable for this purpose but, unfortunately, not all of Ethiopia is covered at this scale.

To check what maps are available and to find the numbers of the maps you would like to buy, you will need to consult a Map Catalogue, which you can purchase from EMA. You can easily find the grid reference and number of the EMA3 series maps from the catalogue. Each EMA3 map covers the area of 24 of the larger scale 1:50,000 maps and so I find that they're very useful for deciding exactly which large scale maps are needed to cover a particular area in detail.

The larger scale map numbers can be a little more difficult to sort out from just the index plan provided in the centre of the catalogue. You can only really get an approximate idea of the area a map will cover by using the plan. Checking the map name given in the catalogue list can help but it is best to study the relevant EMA3 series map to find if a particular map actually covers the area required.

Map ordering takes place on the ground floor of the EMA, which is on Emperor Menelik II Avenue opposite the Hilton Hotel. Once you’ve decided which maps you would like to buy then the map ordering department will fill out an order form which you then have to take upstairs to the map issuing department. I’ve always found the EMA staff very helpful.

There are still some small difficulties: you can’t buy any maps which cover the border regions or buy more than about 10 maps at a time, but the maps are bargains at just over £1 each.

First Published in News File Winter 2006

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