Cameroon assumed its present form in 1961, when it became a federal republic. In 1972 it became a unitary republic and was renamed in 1984 as the Republic of Cameroon. Some rudimentary mapping was carried out before 1916 when it was a German colony, and subsequently the British, who had a trusteeship of part of the territory prior to 1961, also undertook some mapping. The modern mapping of Cameroon is essentially a product of French survey undertaken after World War II by the Institut Géographique National (IGN). Progress benefited from the establishment of an IGN mapping center at Yaoundé in 1959. In 1975 this became the Centre Géographique National, and in 1993, the current topographic mapping organization, the Institut National de Cartographie (INCC), was created.
The country has been covered by a series of 46 one-degree sheets at 1:200,000 scale. Publication began in 1953 and was completed in the 1970s. All sheets are in a six-colour regular edition with 40 m contours. Projection is UTM, Clarke 1880 ellipsoid. A 1:50,000 scale mapping programme also began in the 1950s and new sheets continued to be issued until the late 1970s. These quarter-degree sheets are in four colours with 20 m interval contours and are also on the UTM projection. Of a projected 667 sheets, 242 have been published. In the area bordering Lake Chad, some photomap sheets at this scale were also produced by the British Directorate of Overseas Surveys for the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC/CBLT). A 1:500,000 scale cover of Cameroon was published between 1963 and 1976 using sheet lines modified from the standard IMW format.
Soviet military topographic mapping of Cameroon exists at the following scales: 1:1 000 000 (6 sheets, complete coverage, published 1983-1987); 1:500 000 (18 sheets, complete coverage, published 1962-1985); 1:200 000 (78 sheets, complete coverage, published 1979-1982) and city (1:10,000 to 1:25,000) topographic maps of Luanda, Ndjamena and Yaounde published between 1976 and 1980. These products are available in print, digital raster and digital vector GIS formats from East View Geospatial.
Geological mapping of the country is the responsibility of the Institut de Recherches Géologiques et Minières, Yaounde. The best available geological maps are those produced in the 1950s by the French Bureau Recherches Géologiques et Minières (BRGM) at scales of 1:2,000,000 and 1:500,000.
Soil mapping has also been undertaken by ORSTOM, which maintains an office at Yaoundé (ORSTOM Yaoundé), and includes a 1:1,000,000 scale map of the whole country supported by a substantial monograph and published in 1966. 1:500,000 scale soil and soil resource maps, together with land capability maps are presented with a 286 pp text Les sols et les ressources en terres du Nord-Cameroun by P. Brabant and M. Gavaud (1985). Larger scale soil mapping of discrete areas, mainly in the north of the country, was also completed by ORSTOM in the 1960s and early 70s.
A national atlas was compiled between 1960 and 1975 by the Institut de la Recherche Scientifique et Technique, Yaounde.
The recent Atlas régional du Sud-Cameroun covers an area around Yaoundé in 25 sheets including a variety of themes on physical geography, culture and demographics. Atlas de la province de l’Extrême-Nord Cameroun was due to be published in late 1999.
A map of tribal areas of the Bamileke region (Les chefferies traditionelles. Bamileke du Cameroun) was published in 1997 by C4 Engeneering.
Small-scale general maps have been published by IGN and its Centre de Yaounde since 1960, when a large 1:1,000,000 scale wall map was published. Later versions were issued in two sheets, and in 1994 a single-sheet road map at 1:1,500,000 scale was issued in the IGN Pays et villes du monde series. A new edition was published by INCC in 1998, and an administrative map at the same scale in 1996. There is also a road map from Macmillan at this scale, which has 1:12,000 scale indexed maps of Yaoundé and Douala on the reverse and a similar one from Freytag-Berndt (FB).
1:10,000 scale urban maps of Yaoundé were also published by IGN, Paris, in conjunction with the IGN Centre at Yaoundé. A fine contoured and shaded relief map of the city and environs was published in 1964, but the most recent map of the city itself was updated in 1972.