The principal mapping agency is the Instituto Geográfico
Agustín Codazzi (IGAC), Bogotá. Founded in 1935 as the
Instituto Geográfico Militar, it acquired its present name in
1950. The IGAC is responsible for topographic mapping,
cadastral survey, the inventory and classification of soil and
other georeferenced environmental information, and for
the compilation and publication of more general geographical
material. There are four Subdirecciónes for handling these
various tasks. Besides its headquarters at Santa fé de Bogotá,
IGAC has seven regional offices and 21 sectional headquarters
situated in major urban centres.
Systematic topographic mapping of the country began in
1945, in cooperation with the United States Army Map
Service (later Defense Mapping Agency (DMA) and now
National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA)) through
a mapping agreement with the Inter-American Geodetic
Survey. Basic scale series were initiated at 1:25,000 and
1:50,000. The 1:25,000 scale Carta preliminar was issued
from 1946, and covers the northern half of the country.
Sheets have a contour interval of 25 m or 50 m. The 1:50,000 scale map comprises two
series with different specifications. A series was initially
started in 1958 by IGAC, and covered several departments
in the east and southwest in about 300 sheets before being
discontinued. The projection for this is Gauss conformal. In 1964 a version
on Transverse Mercator projection, International (Hayford)
ellipsoid, was started by the DMA, and covers the north and
center of the country. This is in five colors with 25 m
At 1:100,000 scale there is an extensive, though still incomplete,
cover of the country. This also exists as two series: an
IGAC series, and a DMA series (E671) with different sheet layout and
numbering. The IGAC series is in five colors with 25 m or 50 m contours.
The DMA series is more extensive. Sheets are mainly
in four colors, with an English and Spanish legend and
contours at 20 m or 40 m. Since 1991, DMA (NIMA) has
been issuing sheets as satellite image maps with names and
grid overprinted, and IGAC has also begun publishing
image maps at this scale.
Parts of the country are also covered in a 1:200,000 scale
series, started by IGAC in 1977. Contours are at 100 m
intervals except in the southeast where the maps are planimetric
and use a radar image base. There are also a number of 1:250,000 scale
sheets, many of which are produced in the American DMA
Series 1501 specification. Some sheets are in an aeronautical (JOG) version. This mapping
is on the UTM projection, printed in seven colors, with contours at 50 m or 100 m intervals.
A 1:500,000 scale series in 24 sheets began in 1979.
Only two sheets have appeared in the regular edition, but
a large block of sheets is available for the south of the country
in a radar image version.
There is a useful series of maps for each of the departments
and intendencias, which also include inset maps of important
cities. The latest editions were mostly published in the
1980s. Scales range from 1:100,000 to 1:500,000
depending on the size of the department.
The principal topographic map series now maintained by
IGAC are the series at 1:25,000 and 1:100,000 scales.
These are also used as base maps for thematic resource
mapping and for cadastral purposes. New departmental
mapping is also being derived from the 1:25,000 scale map.
Large scale cadastral mapping is carried out in rural areas at
1:10,000 scale, and for urban areas at 1:2,000.
In 1992 a substantial overhaul and
modernization of IGAC was initiated. This has included
investment in new hardware and software tools, and digital
production methods are now in place. The survey control is
now being maintained using GPS and aerotriangulation, and
analytical photogrammetry has also been introduced. A
geographical information system is being developed using
ARC/INFO and ORACLE software and all scales of mapping
will be put into a digital mapping program. The German
ATKIS data model has been adopted.
Soviet military topographic mapping of Colombia is available at the following scales: 1:1,000,000 (15 sheets, complete coverage, published 1963-1990);
1:500,000 (34 sheets, complete coverage, published 1963-1988) and a city (1:25,000) topographic map of Barranquilla published in 1979. These products are available
in print, digital raster and digital vector GIS formats from East View Geospatial.
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