The official topographic mapping organization in Chile is the Instituto Geográfico Militar (IGMC), Santiago, founded in 1922 and responsible for all matters relating to the geography, survey and mapping of the national territory.
Although some large-scale topographic mapping had been undertaken in the early decades of the twentieth century, the first complete topographic cover of the country was at 1:500,000 scale, completed in 1945, and 1:250,000 achieved in 1955. The latter series in 102 sheets, the Carta prelimmar, was compiled from trimetrogon photography flown in 1944. Since 1976, this series has been progressively replaced by a new Carta regular in 75 sheets, and apart from a few sheets in the far south, this is now complete.
The principal topographic map scale, however, is 1:50,000. Sheets are printed in seven colors and each covers 15′ latitude by 15′ longitude. Contours are at 50 m intervals. The projection is UTM, International (Hayford) ellipsoid. This photogrammetric series was started in 1958 and almost all the planned 1,243 sheets in the series are now complete. A parallel program of 1:25,000 scale mapping has also been in progress, covering areas of socio-economic importance, and all the intended 780 sheets in this series are also now available. They cover much of the central part of the country and some of the north. Maps in this series are also on UTM projection and contours are at 25 m and 50 m intervals. Sheets have a 7.5′ format and use the same designation as the 1:50,000 sheets with the addition of a compass point.
There is also a 1:100,000 scale series. This covers only the southern and northern parts of the country. The contours are at 50 m or 100 m intervals, and sheets are in a 30′ format.
The contemporary 1:500,000 scale map, started in 1989, has been replacing an earlier series published between 1970 and 1975. The new series will cover the country in 22 sheets, of which 17 have so far been published.
Soviet military topographic mapping of Chile exists at the following scales: 1:1,000,000 (16 sheets, complete coverage, published 1962-1979); 1:500,000 (42 sheets, complete coverage, published 1965-1991); 1:200,000 (133 sheets, northern two-thirds of country covered, published 1980-1985) and city (1:25,000) topographic mapping of Antofagasta, Concepcion, Santiago and Vina del Mar published between 1977 and 1979. These products are available in print, digital raster and digital vector GIS formats from East View Geospatial.
An extensive range of nautical charts of Chilean coastal waters and islands is published by the Servicio Hidrográfico y Oceanográfico de la Armada (SHOA). Charts also cover Chilean interests in the Antarctic. Other publications of SHOA include an Atlas oceanográfico de Chile and an Atlas hidrográfico de Chile.
Geological and magnetic maps are published by the Servicio Nacional de Geologia y Minería (SERNAGEOMIN). Geological maps, accompanied by monographs, form a numbered series initiated in 1958. Publication scale ranges from 1:50,000 to 1:500,000, although the principal scale used is 1:250,000. A new series entitled Documentos de trabajo (working documents) was initiated in 1991 with the aim of providing users with advanced information on new geological investigations. So far nine numbers have been issued comprising 1:100,000 scale maps accompanied by extended explanatory legends. A series of aeromagnetic maps has been in progress since 1980, at scales of 1:100,000 or 1:250,000. Smaller scale maps include a general geological map at 1:1,000,000 scale covering the country in six sheets (latest edition 1982) and a map of metalliferous deposits published with a monograph Geologia y yacimientos metalíferos de Chile in 1965.
The Servicio Aerofotogramétrico (SAF), founded in 1963, is responsible for producing aerial photography for the whole country and for the production of aeronautical charts. The latter cover Chile at three different scales: 1:250,000 (64 sheets); 1:500,000 (18 sheets) and 1:1,000,000 (8 sheets). A complete air photo cover of the country is held, most recently from 1993-96. SAF undertakes digital restitution of the photography and has started a program to produce digital plans of Chilean cities. Santiago was completed in 1994 using 1:10,000 scale photography and with a plan resolution of 1:5,000.
Since 1979, IGMC has produced orthophotos and orthophotomaps at scales of 1:5,000 to 1:20,000 to meet the immediate needs of planning and development. Currently a national digital cartographic information system is being established. The database incorporates urban mapping at 1:1,000 scale, with 1:10,000 mapping for rural areas and 1:50,000 for the whole nation.
IGMC has published a number of atlases, including a national atlas, first issued in 1966, and a revised and enlarged edition in 1983. This includes a 1:1,000,000 scale general coverage of the country and an extensive range of national and regional thematic maps. The latter are organized into the 13 administrative divisions with an index of place names. An atlas of economic and social development was published in 1988. The IGMC two-volume gazetteer includes 65,000 toponyms taken from the 1:50,000 and 1:250,000 scale maps. A number of small-scale maps have been published, including thematic maps at 1:6,000,000 scale which form the Colección Geografía de Chile.
Among the small commercial map publishers in Chile are Informaciónes Unidad para America Latina (INUPAL) whose products include a street map of Santiago, a panoramic city center map and a small road atlas of the whole country. DICARTEC Ltda, produced a 1992 map of metropolitan Santiago as well as plans of other metropolitan areas. Some commercial mapping is also sponsored by the Compañía de Petroleos de Chile (COPEC), including a Santiago street map and a road map of the country, Rutas de Chile, presented in the form of a small atlas. Tourist and trekking maps of some areas within Chile have been published by Zagier and Urruty, Buenos Aires.
Lonely Planet publish a useful travel atlas of Chile and Easter Island with maps mainly at 1:1,000,000 scale.
The Instituto Nacional de Estadísticas (INEC) publishes a range of mapping for statistical purposes including small scale maps of administrative divisions and large scale maps of the 1992 census tract boundaries. There is also a 1:20,000 scale map of Greater Santiago in six sheets and 1:750,000 scale regional maps of population distribution.