Formerly a Spanish colony, Equatorial Guinea first acquired provincial status and then the status of an autonomous region. Finally, full independence was gained in 1968, and in 1973 the two former provinces of Río Muni and the islands of Bioko and Annabón became a unitary state.
Mapping of the mainland was undertaken by the Instituto Geográfico Nacional de España (IGNE) and by the Spanish Servicio Geográfico del Ejército, and a series of 1:100,000 scale monochrome planimetric maps was produced in the late 1950s. A four-sheet, 1:200,000 scale Carta itineraria de la Guinea Continental Española on the Gauss projection, was derived from these and published in color in 1959. Earlier multi-coloured maps produced by Spain in the 1950s included a 1:100,000 scale map of Fernando Poo (now Bioko).
In 1979, IGNE made an agreement with the government of Equatorial Guinea to continue to support the mapping of the country. In the same year a 1:400,000 scale general map was published, with an inset map of Bioko, and a separate 1:100,000 scale map of Bioko. These two sheets are in black and white and the mainland is uncontoured, while the Bioko sheet has 100 m contours. The projection is Gauss. The earlier 1:100,000 scale cover of the continental area is being revised using Side-Looking Airborne Radar (SLAR) to provide contour lines.
The most recent available sheets comprise a 1:10,000 scale color map of Annabón (Ambo) with shaded relief and 10 m contours on UTM projection, 1980 reference system, and a four-sheet, 1:50,000 scale topographic map of Bioco, with 100 m contours, also on the UTM projection. The best general map to show the whole country is the Mapa general de la Republica de Guinea Ecuatorial 1:750,000, published by IGNE in 1983 on the Mercator projection, Hayford International ellipsoid.
The topographic mapping authority in Equatorial Guinea is the Servicio Geográfico at Malabo, Bioko.
Soviet military topographic mapping for Equatorial Guinea exists at the following scales: 1:1,000,000 (3 sheets, complete coverage, published 1969-1986); 1:500,000 (4 sheets, complete coverage, published 1982-1985) and 1:200,000 (1 sheet, partial coverage, published in 1982). These products are available in print, digital raster and digital vector GIS formats from East View Geospatial.
A geological map of Continental Equatorial Guinea at 1:400,000 scale was published in 1996 under the auspices of the Agencia de Cooperación Internacional AECI-(ICMAMPD) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Madrid. The cartography is based on airborne radar and TM satellite imagery from 1990. The legend is in Spanish and English and there is a separate Spanish text.