Oman’s first tourist map was drawn by Anne Malin, a UK Cartographer in 1987 with the support of the National Survey Department (NSD), and published in 1989.
Before that, there was a Shell map but there were barely any roads and it was very basic. And today she is completing 42 years in the Sultanate, thanks to the ‘love at first sight’ experience that Oman holds.
“I consider myself privileged to have witnessed the making of modern Oman. I have had the honour of mapping Oman thanks to the NSD and various other ministries, and as I look back over my early maps created in the 80s, I can see the amazing progress made over the years,” said Anne.
Those days, only very few people knew where Muscat or Oman was and the government thought that maps would help to promote the country.
“Since then I have completed countless maps from Musandam in the north to Dhofar in the south. It was a very bold thing to do but I became hooked – addicted to mapping. Oman brought out a dormant talent within me. I can truly say that I love what I do with a passion.”
The huge, empty spaces she marked on the map are now built-up areas. State–of-the-art ports and free zones are dotted around the country in Suhar, Duqm and Salalah whilst Muscat boasts one of the best airports in the world.
“To have the opportunity of witnessing a country grow from scratch is a rare privilege indeed. In 1970, late His Majesty Sultan Qaboos had an enormous challenge ahead of him building his country from scratch.
“He succeeded with flying colours. I trust the youth of Oman will appreciate what he did and may His Majesty Sultan Haitham continue the good work,” Malin, who was also a newsreader on Oman TV, said.
When she first arrived in the Sultanate during 1978, there were no dual carriageways, expressways or shopping malls or hypermarkets and most of the foods were imported. There was also very little in the way of entertainment, so the people had to make their own.
“However, it was the warmth and hospitality of the Omani people that made our family feel welcome. Our new Omani friends were all extremely proud of His Majesty and his efforts to improve the lives of his citizens,” she said.
“The nation promises the people a better life and is being led confidently towards more prosperous times, ensuring peace, tolerance and progress. I feel very fortunate to have lived in Oman. May I wish all my Omani friends a Happy National Day and much contentment and success in the future.”