French Guiana is an overseas department of France. Although a small military survey office was established at Cayenne in 1934 (Le Service Géographique de l’Inini), systematic modern survey dates from 1945, and was undertaken by the Institut Géographique National (IGN), Paris. A reconnaissance map at 1:500,000 scale was first published in 1950 and revised in 1963. Trimetrogon photography flown by the USAAF in World War II was adjusted by IGN to rudimentary ground control and used to produce the planimetric sketch maps (esquisses photogrammétriques) which formed the early 1:100,000 scale series. The sheets were on a Gauss projection. Those covering the northern part of the territory were in three or four colors with form lines at 25 m or 50 m intervals; those in the south were in a provisional monochrome edition with 50 m form lines.
A 1:200,000 scale series of mostly monochrome photogrammetric sketch maps was based on IGN photography flown in the 1950s. This series has not been revised, but is still useful in the south of the country. Sheets 10 and 11 in the series were published in 1965 and are in three colors with contours. Projection and grid are UTM, International (Hayford) ellipsoid.
In 1956, a new basic map at 1:50,000 scale was started. This was a four color map in UTM projection, with a 20 m contour interval. Since 1992, 14 of these sheets have been revised to the Série orange specification.
More recently, the coastal settled area has been mapped in 20 sheets to the 1:25,000 Série bleue specification. This map is in five colors, with 5 m or 10 m contours. Projection is UTM (International Hayford ellipsoid).
Recently, new sheets have been published at 1:100,000 scale. These include a special sheet covering the coastal strip from Cayenne to Kourou (Sheet 516), published in 1987 by IGN, which also has street maps of both towns. In 1996, several regular series 1:100,000 scale sheets began to appear. By the end of 1997, six of these had been published. It is not, however, planned to extend this series to the southern part of the country.
Soviet military topographic mapping of French Guiana exists at the following scales: 1:1,000,000 (4 sheets, complete coverage, published 1966-1985) and 1:500,000 (4 sheets, complete coverage, published 1964-1987). These products are available in print, digital raster and digital vector GIS formats from East View Geospatial.
Geological mapping has been undertaken by the Bureau de Recherches Géologiques et Minières (BRGM), Orléans. The principal series is at 1:100,000 scale and multicolored, the most recent sheet published in 1981. There is also a 1:500,000 geological map of the whole country in two sheets, and a more recent sheet at the same scale of the south of the country, accompanied by a monograph.
Near permanent cloud cover and dense forest have always inhibited the production of high quality maps of the central and southern regions from aerial photography or SPOT imagery. However, synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imagery has been successfully used for mapping such areas, and in 1995 Espace IGN was commissioned to map the whole country at 1:200,000 scale using SAR imagery from the European Space Agency’s ERS satellite. This imagery has been rectified using a DTM constructed from existing elevation data (good in the north, but less reliable in the south).
A poster displaying French Guiana as a color mosaic of ERS-1 imagery was issued by TELECOM Paris as part of the ERS-1 pilot project Coastal and fluvial environment of French Guiana.
The Institut Français de Recherche Scientifique pour le Développement en Coopération (ORSTOM) has published a few 1:50,000 scale soil maps, issued between 1968 and 1974, each accompanied by explanatory notes. A 1:100,000 scale Carte des sols des Terres Basses, covers the lowlands south and east of Cayenne, Memoirs ORSTOM, No. 3 (1962).
An Atlas de la Guyane was published in 1979 in the series Atlas des Départements d’Outre-Mer.
Street maps of Kourou and Matoury at 1:5,000 scale have been published by IGN. The latter includes a 1:25,000 scale locality map. A street map of Cayenne is included on the IGN 1:500,000 scale tourist map, La Guyane. Another tourist map of the whole country is published by International Travel Maps (ITM).