State of Qatar – National Cartographic Design Strategy


National GIS Strategy


52 weeks


Mixed outputs


Design, develop and implement cartographic standards
and symbology for the maps,
for the State of Qatar

The Ministry of Municipality & Environment (MME), through the Centre for Geographic Information Systems (CGIS) in Qatar, was seeking to upgrade its cartographic standards. To centralise detailed cartographic production with new tools for creating and maintaining derived data, symbology, and page elements for both computer applications and printed maps.

The goal was to reduce the time spent on creating multi-scale products by using map automation and generalization tools.

The main goals for the project were:

1. Design a mapping brand: create something unique to Qatar, this included developing a new symbol font for CGIS to be used into the future.

2. Comply with international standards:
create cartography that meets the standards of national mapping agencies and complies with international colour standards

3. Produce drafts and approved maps:
A continuous delivery of maps for approval by CGIS and improving the quality of data supplied to CGIS

4. Knowledge Transfer:
Ensure CGIS can continue to work with the data, and can symbolise updated source data.

Clear Mapping Co were sub-contractors to the primary contractors Gannett Fleming Inc., an international engineering company based in the USA. We cleaned the incoming datasets and created a new cartographic design style for the State of Qatar, which covers five different extents (scales) using ESRI ArcGIS Desktop, to be reproduced in print and online. We worked with colleagues from Gannet Fleming Inc., in the UK, US and UAE. More detailed information here.

Qatar has established a nationwide GIS since 1992. Today, there are more than sixty government departments and agencies integrated with this system sharing GIS information. Existing maps and aerial imagery held by CGIS-MME was analysed to identify map design and symbology to be implemented in new brand ideas. The team produced a requirements database that was approved by CGIS in order for mapping work to commence.

We researched Qatari culture; visiting hotels, museums, galleries and souks. We explored the fonts available in English (US) and Arabic (Qatar) and suitable colour schemes to use for the Points of Interest (POI). The design process proved integral to developing the output for the whole project, including the Qatar Geoportal.

The Al Murshid App is available to anyone and can be downloaded from your device’s app store. The basemap for the app can be switched from map to hybrid to aerial imagery at a click of a button. Some functionality is still being worked on, but the app will translate handle road labels and names into English (US) or Arabic (Qatar) and works seamlessly between extents.

As with any system, conveying the information and processes is a key part of the delivery for this project.

“Gannett Fleming delivered a new range of cartographic standards and guidelines to help develop a mapping brand for CGIS. The result incorporated international best standards with the requirements of the local Qatari context,” said Mr. Manaf Al-Sada, director, CGIS-MME. “Gannett Fleming performed all of its tasks with a high level of quality and attention to detail. The new standards will help provide guidance to CGIS staff in enhancing the new maps for the State of Qatar.”

Clear Mapping Co prepared the technical guide and cartographic design guide as printed hard-copies as well as in a digital format. We created lectures of the key step-by-step processes to ensure familiarity with the new system. We distributed the MXDs and associated files, helping to install where necessary; and provided 1:1 training for key personnel, using the working demonstration examples of the MXD in print and online. A downloadable summary is available here.

The Client who was actively involved throughout the process, thanked Caroline personally for being involved and delivering the project successfully.

Gannett Fleming Inc.

CGIS has produced various topographic maps since 1990; however, they had never implemented cartographic standards for its map series,” said Hazem Barakat, PhD., project director at Gannett Fleming. “Gannett Fleming has spent the past year establishing standards for the State of Qatar that adhere to international best practices. To be involved in this significant stage of a country’s mapping efforts is especially rewarding for us – we know that citizens, scientists, and officials will use these standards for many years to come.

Dr Hazem Barakat, MENA Business Development Manager