Topographic mapping in Uruguay is the responsibility of
the Servicio Geográfico Militar (SGMU), Montevideo,
founded in 1913. Early work by the SGMU concentrated
on the establishment of a geodetic network for the country.
1:20,000 scale sheets of the department of Montevideo were
published in 1920, and in 1926, production of a 1:50,000
scale topographic map series commenced. By 1943, only 10
percent of the country has been mapped in detail, but in
the year the USAAF flew a complete cover of Trimetrogon
air photographs, a 1:500,000 scale map was compiled.
Then in 1966 and 1967, air photography was acquired
for the production of a series of 1:50,000 scale photomaps
covering the whole country and sharing the sheet lines of
the conventional 1:50,000 scale map. These sheets were
issued between 1967 and 1973.
Today, the national cartographic plan allows for the production
of topographic maps at scales of 1:25,000; 1:50,000;
1:100,000 and 1:200,000. The projection is Gauss
conformal, Hayford 1924 ellipsoid. Five sheets are also available
at 1:250,000 scale as part of the now defunct PAIGH
Americas Program, published between 1984 and 1990.
The 1:50,000 scale map remains the principal series. The
current version, began at the end of the 1970s, is based on
aerial photography flown in 1966 and 1967, and was
completed in the early 1990s. Sheets each cover 0.20G latitude
by 0.40G longitude and have 10 m contour intervals.
Gravimetric observations at the time of this photography
resulted in publication of a provisional 1:1,000,000 scale
gravimetric map in 1970.
The 1:100,000 scale topographic map is complete in 87
sheets, but mostly in a three-color series begining in 1974,
and lacking contours. This planimetric edition was
completed in 1980, and a new five-color version with 20 m
contours was started in 1984. 1:200,000 scale sheets were derived from
photographic reductions of 1:100,000 scale mapping,
but the published sheets cover only the northern half of the
A new 1:25,000 scale series began in 1988, based on
new air photography. This is a five-color map with 5 m
contours. Sheets each cover 0.20G of longitude and 0.10G of
latitude. So far sheets have been published for the departments
of Canelones and Montevideo.
The Dirección Nacional de Topografía (DNT), under the
Ministério de Transportes y Obras Pύblicas, serves as the
principal civilian mapping authority. DNT has published
large scale urban maps and a series of 18 departmental maps
at 1:200,000 scale. In 1992 it began a program of digital
cartography, and is developing a GIS which will offer the
opportunity to centralize and integrate the handling of
spatially referenced data from a number of government organizations,
including SGMU with which it is collaborating
to digitize the 1:50 000 topographic series.
Soviet military topographic mapping of Uruguay is available at the following scales: 1:1,000,000 (4 sheets, complete coverage, published in 1990);
1:500,000 (9 sheets, complete coverage, published in 1979) and a city (1:25,000) topographic map of Montevideo published in 1982. These products are available in
print, digital raster and digital vector GIS formats from East View Geospatial.
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