To provide geo-spatial information (land surveying and mapping information) to the country

Timely and accurately provision of geo-spatial information (land surveying and mapping services) for socio-economic development of the country.

To provide timely and accurate geo-spatial information for purposes of national integrity, security, safe navigation, dispute resolution, security of land tenure, disaster management and orderly and sustainable infrastructure developments in the country. 

Organisation and Functions
The Department is headed by the Surveyor General at graded D (P2) who is assisted by three Deputy Surveyor Generals at Grade E (P3). The Department operates from its headquarters in Lilongwe.  It has also three Regional Offices in Blantyre, Lilongwe and Mzuzu, Hydrographic Survey Unit in Monkey-Bay and District Survey Offices in Karonga, Zomba and Mangochi.

Functions of the Department
The functions of the department are to:
  • Provide land surveying services;
  • Provide mapping services;
  • Provision of hydrographic and aeronautical survey services;
  • Provide quality assurance and information management services; and
  • Provide general administrative support services.
The Department of Surveys was one of the first departments that were established by the colonial administrators in the country. Apart from the activities of land surveying and provision of topographic information (Maps and charts), it was also responsible for, among other things, activities that are now covered by Departments of Lands, Physical Planning (currently within the same Ministry with the Department of surveys), as well as Departments of Land Resources in the Ministry of Agriculture and Public Works in the Ministry of Transport and Public Works. Over the years, the activities of the Department have been streamlined to its present mandate as other departments and ministries were being established.

The Department of Surveys is the National Land Surveying and Mapping Authority mandated to provide professional and technical services and advice to the government, public institutions, private sector and the general public on all matters relating to geo-spatial information (land surveying and mapping information).


Sections Under the Department Of Surveys
This Division is headed by Deputy Surveyor General (LSS) at P3 (E) grade and is divided into two sections;

1. Geodetic and Topographic Survey Section
The section is responsible for:
  • Establishing surveying processing and publishing geodetic data;
  • Identifying and surveying of control points for mapping;
  • Field data capture for map revision; and
  • Conducting scientific observations for earth movements and other displacements.
2. Cadastral Survey Section 
This section is responsible for:
  • Demarcation and survey of administrative boundaries both local and international;
  • Survey of parcel (plots) boundaries for security of tenure; and
  • Producing registry maps to support registration of title.

The division is headed by Deputy Surveyor General (Mapping). The division is responsible for provision of mapping services and it has three units.

1. Land Information Unit
This unit is responsible for:

  • Production and revision of cadastral plans and maps;
  • Creation and maintenance of cadastral database; and
  • Creation and maintenance of a comprehensive Land Information System

2. Map Production Unit

The unit is subdivided into photogrammetric and the cartographic sections and is responsible for acquisition of mapping data and designing and production of maps, plans, images and mosaics.

3. Printing Unit
This unit is responsible for:

  • Production of repromats;
  • Printing of maps photographs and image; and
  • Printing of specialized geo-information products.
This division is responsible for the production and revision of hydrographic charts for lakes and the major rivers and production and revision of aeronautical charts for safety of air navigation. The division is headed by Deputy Surveyor General (H&A) and is responsible for:
  • Production and revision of hydrographic charts;
  • Production of sailing pilots for safety of navigation on water bodies;
  • Production of notices to mariners;
  • Production and revision of aeronautical charts for safety of air navigation; and
  • Establishment of airport survey controls and position of runways for safe navigation of aeroplanes.
Current Hydrographic Survey Activities
  • Collection of Nkhota-Kota Jetty Area bathymetric data for production of 1;10,000 scale nautical chart;
  • Data collection and production of profiles and charts in major rivers like Lilongwe and Shire rivers; and
  • Finalising servicing of the vessel.
  • Inadequate funding to support survey activities and to manage the ship;
  • Lake topographic maps, updating nautical charts is costly and requires adequate funding;
  • Lack of specialised positioning equipment; and
  • Lack of training.

The purpose of this division is to ensure that the surveying and mapping activities are carried out in accordance with the country’s geo-information standards and associated metadata standards   It is also responsible for archiving and disseminating geo-information to the general public   

It is divided into two units:

  1. Quality Assurance
This section is responsible for;
  • Examination of field survey methods and computations.
  • Checking overlaps of newly surveyed properties with existing ones.
  • Ensuring adherence to standards.
  • Approving cadastral surveys of all private surveyors.
  • Policing illegal survey activities and map production.
  1. Spatial Information Centre
This section is responsible for;
  • Archiving of Spatial Information   
  • Publishing Spatial Information
  • Dissemination and sale of spatial Information

This division is headed by Assistant Surveyor General at grade P4.

The division provides support services which include human resources management and accounting among others.  Other functions of the division are:
  • Administer land surveying and mapping profession through the Land Survey Act;
  • Provide technical direction and advice to Government on surveying and mapping issues;
  • Coordinate land surveying and mapping profession in the country; and
  • Coordinate sharing of spatial data in the country.