The Instituto Geográfico, San José, was founded in 1944,
but its origin can be traced back to 1889. It got its present
name of Institute Geográfico Nacional (IGNCR) in 1968.
Systematic large-scale topographic mapping began in the
mid-1940s in collaboration with the Inter-American
Geodetic Survey (IAGS). Initially this was a 1:25,000 scale
photogrammetrically produced map, issued from 1953, but
this series was terminated in 1962 with only 99 sheets
The present basic topographic cover is a complete series of
1:50,000 scale maps (Series E762) in 131 sheets. These
sheets are in five colors with a 20 m contour interval and
10 m auxiliary contours. The projection is Lambert
conformal conic and the Ellipsoid Clarke 1866. The series
was initially published between 1955 and 1971, and sheets
are being revised at a rate of about eight per year. Sheet
format is graticule-based with sheets covering 10 minutes
of latitude and 15 minutes of longitude. A parallel series of
1:50,000 maps was prepared concurrently by the US Army
Topographic Command in 137 sheets on a Transverse
There is also complete cover of the country at a scale of
1:200,000 (Series E561). This nine-sheet series was originally
issued between 1955 and 1971, and is derived from
the 1:50,000 scale mapping. A revised edition was published
in 1988. It has 100 m contours and is on a Lambert
conformal projection. There is also a special sheet, Gran Area
Metropolitana, published in 1986. Most of Costa Rica is also
covered in five sheets of the 1:250,000 scale PAIGH Unified
hemispheric map series, published by IGNCR in 1981-87.
Urban mapping at scales of 1:5,000 to 1:12,500 has also
been undertaken by IGNCR. These maps have 10 m or 5 m
contours. A small number of sheets in a general topographic
series at 1:10,000 have been issued since 1974.
Soviet military topographic mapping of Costa Rica exists at the following scales: 1:1,000,000 (4 sheets, complete coverage, published 1966-1990);
1:500,000 (5 sheets, complete coverage, published in 1985); 1:200,000 (3 sheets, northern coverage, published in 1984); 1:100,000 (7 sheets, southern coverage,
published in 1979) and a city (1:10,000) topographic map of San Jose published in 1981. These products are available in print, digital raster and digital vector GIS
formats from East View Geospatial.
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