The official topographic mapping authority in Argentina is the Instituto Geográfico Militar (IGMA), Buenos Aires, which is a technical branch of the Argentine Army.  It has its origins in the Military Topographic Bureau created in 1879.  The principal tasks of IGMA are to undertake the geodetic and topographic survey of the national territory and to coordinate all geo-topographic work required by the state.  IGMA has also carried out mapping of areas claimed by Argentina in the Antarctic and South Atlantic.

There are four official topographic map series. The 1:500,000 scale series is complete in 70 sheets for the whole country, and 1:250,000 scale mapping is almost complete; about 60 percent of the country has been covered at 1:100,000 scale; while 1:50,000 scale mapping is 26 percent complete, covering principally Buenos Aires province and adjacent areas to the north.  A Gauss-Krϋger projection, International ellipsoid, is used for all these series, and the country is divided into seven zones, each 3 degrees of longitude wide.

The sheet system of these series is graticule-based, with the sheet lines of the larger series nesting within those of the smaller.  The 1:500,000 scale sheets each cover 3 degrees of longitude and 2 degrees of latitude. 1:250,000 scale sheets each cover one-quarter of this area, while the 1:100,000 scale sheets fit nine to a 1:250,000 sheet.

The 1:500,000 scale sheets vary in quality. Relief is layer-colored or shaded, and a graticule and grid is printed on the maps.  The current series of 1:250,000 scale sheets was initiated in 1952. Sheets are in six or more colors with a contour interval varying from mountain to plain, and there is a 10 km grid. A few sheets were issued in the PAIGH Hemispheric Mapping Program.  The 1:100,000 scale series is in three to five colors with a contour interval varying from 2.5 m to 100 m, and a 4 km grid, while the 1:50,000 series has a 1 km grid spacing and the more modern sheets are in five colors.  The contour interval again varies, and may be as close as 1.25 m in areas of low relief.

Soviet military topographic mapping of Argentina is available at the following scales: 1:1,000,000 (26 sheets, complete coverage, published 1962-1990); 1:500,000 (79 sheets, complete coverage, published 1965-1991); 1:200,000 (362 sheets, western country coverage, published 1980-1985) and city (1:10,000 to 1:25,000) topographic mapping of 9 major cities from Bahia Blanca to Tucuman published between 1978 and 1985.  These products are available in print, digital raster and digital vector GIS formats from East View Geospatial.

The Servicio de Hidrografía Naval (SHNA) was founded in 1879 as the Oficina Central de Hidrografía and published the first chart in 1883.  Today it publishes over 140 nautical charts of Argentine coastal areas, and of the seas adjacent to Argentina’s territorial claims in Antarctica. The Centro Argentino de Datos Oceanográficos (CEADO) holds and disseminates data files on the South Atlantic and Southern Ocean, including physical-chemical data, bathy-thermographic data and the IGOSS data file of the Southern Ocean.

Aeronautical charting is undertaken by the Dirección de Transporte Aéreo (DTA) of the Argentine Air Force. In the 1980s, a series of 1:1,000,000 and 1:500,000 charts were produced, respectively, the Carta aeronáutica Argentina (13 sheets) and the Carta aeronáutica Argentina táctica (25 sheets).

Earth science mapping is the responsibility of the Servicio Geológico Minero Argentino (SEGEMAR), Buenos Aires, which was restructured under this name in 1996. An extensive series of 1:200,000 scale maps and monographs have been published, though, they are being replaced by a new series at the scale of 1:250,000, on the same sheet lines as the corresponding topographic series.  The maps in this Programa Nacional de Cartas Geológicas are accompanied by a series of bulletins for each department.  About six bulletins have so far been issued. In 1993, a new series of provincial geological maps was also initiated at the scale of 1:500,000 or 1:750,000. By the end of 1996, 12 of these provincial maps had been published.  There is also a series of mineral maps of the provinces at 1:750,000 scale.  A new geological map of the whole country at 1:5,000,000 scale was published in 1996.

A major cooperative geoscientific mapping project has been carried out in the Sierras Pameanas of Argentina by the Australian Geological Survey Organisation (AGSO) with SEGEMAR.  Conventional mapping was combined with acquisition of airborne geophysical data, and products include second generation geological maps at 1:100,000 and 1:250,000 scales, geophysical image maps and mineral deposit maps.  The Institut Cartogràfic Catalunya has also been involved in new 1:100,000 scale geological mapping by creating orthophoto images from SPOT imagery and combining fieldwork with image interpretation to provide a geological synthesis.

In recent years there has been a major program in satellite image mapping, carried out in collaboration with the Institut Cartogràfic Catalunya, Spain.  Image maps (SIMs) are published at scales of 1:250,000; 1:100,000 and 1:50,000 in pseudo-true color and on the standard topographic sheet lines.  They are based on LANDSAT TM and SPOT HRV imagery, some cartographic enhancement is added, such as place names, improved road delineation and grid.  The 1:250,000 SIMs have been produced very rapidly and cover most of the country; 1:50,000 SIMs are so far mainly confined to a large area of Buenos Aires province, while 1:100,000 scale SIMs cover a larger area of the northeast. The intention is to use these larger scale SIMs as a means of updating the mapping of the more rapidly developing areas.

A major digital mapping program is also in progress. It is intended to complete and convert the whole 1:250,000 scale series to digital format.  Progress with the 1:100,000 series is being focused on the areas close to the national borders, and there is also a program of digitizing this series, with 265 sheets already converted.

Soil, land use and land capability mapping is the responsibility of the Centra de Investigaciones de Recursos Naturales within the Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Agropecuaria (INTA).  In the 1970s, the center embarked on a program of soil mapping at 1:100,000 scale, the maps being published on a photomap base.  In addition, the center has published a number of monographic soil and resource maps of small areas or of individual provinces.  In 1985, an Atlas de suelos de la Repύblica Argentina was published, and in 1995 a digital version was released on CD-ROM, following a project to digitize and update the 1:500,000 and 1:1,000,000 scale soil mapping.  This work was done in association with the company Aeroterra SA, Buenos Aires. Soil classification is in accordance with the USDA Comprehensive Soil Taxonomy.  The CD-ROM also contains photographs of landscapes associated with different soil types, and soil profiles. Maps of relief, drainage, subterranean groundwater basins and climate are also included, and there is a file of LANDSAT 5 and LANDSAT TM data.  The CD-ROM is packaged with ArcView Version 1.0, but the data can be imported for use with higher versions of ArcView.

The Servicio Meteorológico Nacional, of the Argentine Air Force issues weather forecast maps and statistical data on climate.  It produced atlases of agro-meterological and climatic data in the 1960s.

The Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Censos (INDEC) has published a CD-ROM Atlas estadístico Repύblica Argentina also in association with Aeroterra S.A., and packaged with ArcView Version 1.0 software. The atlas presents general, economic and socio-demographic information about the country, and is accompanied by a book of printed maps.  The CD-ROM however contains additional data which may be used for constructing further maps, and there are also eight LANDSAT and NOAA images. In 1997, the first of a series of provincial statistical CD-ROMs was issued covering the municipalities of the Province of Santa Fé.  These include MapObject software permitting users to create their own thematic maps from the data.

The Atlas total de la Repύblica Argentina, published in 9 volumes in the period 1981-83. A smaller atlas, published by IGMA in 1999, has a text, maps and graphics for each of the provinces.  A multi-media atlas on CD-ROM was also launched in 1999 by IGMA.

Commercial companies include Automapa, which has published plans of Buenos Aires and other cities, as well as provincial and national road maps, and Automovil Club Argentino (ACA), which also publishes a range of motorist and tourist maps and atlases, including provincial maps showing primary and secondary roads, road distances and various tourist information, and incorporating street maps of major cities.  Editorial Filcar publishes excellent street maps and atlases of Buenos Aires, and has issued digital versions of street maps of the capital and of San Isidro.

Zagier y Urruty, Buenos Aires, have published a number of interesting and unusual maps, including ‘ecomaps’ of Tierra del Fuego, the Valdes Peninsula and the Antarctic Peninsula, and mountaineering and trekking maps of Monte Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre.

Overseas publishers of general maps of the country include International Travel Maps (ITM) and Reise- und Verkehrsverlag (RV).

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