Planet Geographic Information Systems
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Frequently Asked Questions

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Q:“What format are your maps in? I'm looking for shape files that I can use with ArcView/ArcGIS.
A:“Our maps are in PlanetGIS' native format for optimal size and speed, but can be exported to shape files, DXF, etc. The maps use the geographic projection (lat/lon) but this can be converted to any coordinate system with PlanetGIS. You need at least a trial version of PlanetGIS Professional to export layers and do coordinate system conversions.
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Q:“What about copyright?
A:“The maps are in the public domain. They are originally sourced from government under the Access to Information Act. We get updates from the Chief Directorate: Surveys and Mapping and the various Surveyors' General offices (for property boundaries) twice per year. We then put in a considerable effort to merge the thousands of files together in a user friendly way and to style them in an appealing way, but we do not claim copyright on our work. If you want to acknowledge the sources, we would be happy, but be sure to name the government departments listed above as well.
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Q:“I'm looking for maps that I can use in printed material like our free tourism brochure. Can PlanetGIS help me?
A:“PlanetGIS allows you to export "snapshots" of maps to either various image formats, including EMF (Windows Enhanced Metafiles) which is a vector format that Windows uses for printing and graphics applications like CorelDraw can open. An alternative is to export specific layers to DXF files, which most graphical applications can read, although you will loose the colouring and other visual attributes.
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Q:“What is the resolution & date of the Landsat7 satellite images?
A:“The Landsat7 images are publicly available images from NASA from a mission flown in 2000. The resolution is 15m (ie. each pixel represents about 15 x 15m on the ground). This is much worse than Google Earth. The Landsat images are still quite useful for large scale applications and makes for a "pretty" backdrop on maps that deal with entities that are larger than for example property boundaries.
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Q:“I'm looking for GIS maps of my town: Tweebuffelsmeteenskootmorsdoodgeskietfontein. Can you help?
A:“We have a topographic (rivers, vegetation, etc, etc) map, and contour maps (20m or 5m) for the entire country and cadastral maps (property boundaries) for each of the provinces of South Africa. You can download the maps for your entire province but not for smaller areas. The provincial downloads are on this page.
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If your question remains unanswered, please feel free to contact Paul at