The topographic mapping authority in Ecuador is the Instituto Geográfico Militar (IGME), Quito, founded in 1928. Its responsibilities were defined by law in 1978 as being those of surveying and mapping the national territory, and archiving geographical data about the country.

Early topographic mapping, undertaken in the 1930s, concentrated on the area around Quito and was at a scale of 1:25,000. In 1947, Ecuador entered a co-operative mapping agreement with the Inter American Geodetic Survey. Aerial photography was flown by the USAAF in 1961, and the following year the 1:50,000 scale topographic series was started. Subsequently, a 1:100,000 scale series was also initiated; about one-third of the country had been covered at this scale by the early 1990s. Except for a few areas in the east and the north, cover is now almost complete at this scale, although all mapping is confined to the area west of the line of the Protocol of Rio de Janeiro 1942. There is also now an extensive cover at 1:25,000 and a program of digitizing the 1:50,000 and 1:25,000 scale series is in progress.

The 1:100,000 scale mapping is in seven colors including a purple UTM grid, and has an 80 m contour interval and auxiliary contours at 40 m. The 1:50,000 scale map is in five colors with 20 m contours (40 m in the Sierra). Both series are on Transverse Mercator projection with UTM grid. The 1:100,000 scale sheets each cover 30′ longitude by 15′ latitude, while those at 1:50,000 have a 15′ x 10′ format.

A 1:250,000 scale cover was initiated in the early 1980s under the PAIGH Hemispheric Mapping Program, and although this programme is no longer operative, further sheets have been published.

General maps of the country are published by IGME at scales of 1:500,000 and 1:1,000,000. IGME has also published smaller scale provincial maps, tourist guide maps of Quito, Guayaquil and Loja, and undertakes urban mapping of numerous cities at scales ranging from 1:1,000 to 1:10,000.

Soviet military topographic mapping of Ecuador exists at the following scales: 1:1,000,000 (9 sheets, complete coverage, published 1962-1990) and 1:500,000 (9 sheets, complete coverage, published 1964-1984). These products are available in print, digital raster and digital vector formats from East View Geospatial.

Hydrographic charting is undertaken by the Instituto Oceanográfico de la Armada (INOCAR), while aeronautical charts have been published by the Dirección de Aviación Civil (DAC).

A geological mapping program, mainly at the 1:100,000 scale, was initiated in the 1960s by the Ecuadorian Department of Geology and Mines. The current organization is now the Dirección Nacional de Geologia (DINAGE), formed in March 1999. Sheets have been published covering much of the Cordilleras and coastal plain. There have been over two decades of cooperation with the British Geological Survey (BGS), with concentration on the exploration of mineral prospective areas. Between 1986 and 1994, the Cordillera Real Project focused on the Eastern Cordillera and the El Oro Metamorphic Complex, but in 1995 a new five-year Geological Information Mapping Program began. The Western Cordillera is the focus of this program, and one of its outcomes will be the production of five new 1:250,000 scale geological maps and associated databases. 1:500,000 scale maps of the metamorphic belts of Ecuador were published in 1994 as part of the BGS Overseas memoir, No. 11. New 1:1,000,000 scale geological and tectono-metallogenic maps of the whole country were published in 1993.

A center of integrated natural resource surveys, Centro de Llevantaminetos Integrados de Recursos Naturales por Sensores Remotos (CLIRSEN), was established within IGME in 1977. It has undertaken resource survey and inventory using satellite imagery, and has produced a range of thematic mapping for the Province of Guayas.

The Ministerio de Agricultura y Ganadería (MAG) has produced a number of soil maps and has carried out resource mapping in collaboration with the French Institut Français de Recherche Scientifique pour le Développement en Coopération (ORSTOM). This includes several 1:1,000,000 scale maps published in the 1970s as part of a Programa Nacional de Regionalización Agraria. More recently, 1:1,000,000 scale land use and 1:750,000 scale physical, cultural and socio-economic maps were included in ORSTOM Travaux et documents No. 212 by M.M. Thomassin, published in 1988.

A 1:1,000,000 soil map of the country prepared by the Soil Science Society of Ecuador.

The Atlas del Ecuador, published in 1994 to mark the 50th anniversary of IGM, has 86 thematic maps at a scale of 1:2,000,000.

ORSTOM produced an innovative multi-thematic atlas of Quito in association with PAIGH and IGME.

Rural cadastral mapping is handled by the Dirección Nacional de Avalύos y Catastros (DINAC).

Ecotourism is a growth industry in Ecuador, and the Panamerican Center for Geographical Studies and Research (CEPEIGE) has published The Ecotourist’s guide to the Ecuadorian Amazon by Rolf Wesche. The guide includes several folded IGME topographic maps. IGME has published ecotourism maps of the volcanoes Chimborazo, Carihuayrazo and Cotopaxi.

Ediguias C. Ltda publishes street maps of several Ecuadorian cities, and a small format thematic atlas of the country. In 1999 it published a three-sheet map of the Galapagos Islands with index and text. Auto-Mapa has a Plano guía de Quito. Maps published by foreign publishers include a general map by International Travel Maps (ITM).

The Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Censos (INEC) is responsible for the preparation of population censuses. As well as numerous large-scale census tract maps, it produces maps of the 19 provinces at 1:250,000 scale, and a general map of the country’s administrative divisions.

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