Topographic mapping in Guatemala is the responsibility of the Instituto Geográfico National (IGNG) (formerly Instituto Geográfico Militar), Guatemala City. Modern topographic mapping began in earnest only after 1945 with the establishment of a Department of Mapping and Cartography, and in 1948, the initiation of Inter-American Geodetic Survey (IAGS) involvement. First order triangulation was completed in 1954 and tied in to Mexico, El Salvador and Honduras. Also in 1954, the Department was renamed the Dirección General de Cartografía, and the first air photo sorties were flown upon which the main topographic series were subsequently based.
There are two principal topographic map series, at scales of 1:50,000 (E754) and 1:250,000 (E503), originally prepared in collaboration with the IAGS and the US Army Map Service. Both series are complete. The 1:50 000 Mapa topográfico is on a Transverse Mercator projection, Clarke 1866 ellipsoid. Sheets are in five colors, each covering an area of 10 minutes of latitude by 15 minutes of longitude. Contours are at 20 m intervals with supplementary contours at 10 m. Sheets covering El Petén are in the form of controlled radar mosaics. The 1:50,000 scale series was completed in 1977, but is currently being revised.
The 1:250,000 Mapa básico (called América Central on the sheets) covers the country in 13 sheets in a 1.5 degrees of longitude by 1 degrees of latitude format. Sheet NE 16-14 (Stann Creek) includes the coastal areas of NE 16-5, ND 16-2 and ND 16-9: thus the whole of Belize, formerly claimed by Guatemala, is also included in this series. The sheets are in five colors and the projection is UTM. Contours are at 100 m intervals with supplementary contours at 50 m. The series was completed in 1969, but some sheets have been partially revised during the 1970s and 1980s.
Soviet military topographic mapping of Guatemala exists at the following scales: 1:1,000,000 (4 sheets, complete coverage, published 1969-1990); 1:500,000 (6 sheets, complete coverage, published 1985-1988) and a city (1:10,000) topographic map of Guatemala published in 1981. These products are available in print, digital raster and digital vector formats from East View Geospatial.
There are plans to publish hydrographic charts of the Atlantic and Pacific coastal waters.
A 1:500,000 scale aeronautical chart was published in 1987.
IGNG also takes responsibility for earth science mapping. A 1:500,000 scale geological map was published in 1970, and detailed series at 1:250,000 and 1:50,000 on topographic series sheet lines, were initiated in 1962. The larger scale series was undertaken in collaboration with a number of universities in the United States. Each published sheet was accompanied by a monograph in English representing an American doctoral thesis. This was intended only as a partial series and 36 sheets have been published. Three 1:250,000 scale sheets are also in print: Quezaltenago, Guatemala and Chiquimula.
The Instituto Nacional de Sismología, Vulcanología, Meteorología e Hidrología (INSIVUMEH) has produced a series of monochrome volcanic hazard maps at 1:50,000 scale. A Geologic map of Tecuamburro Volcano and surrounding area at 1:50,000 scale (I-2197) was published by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) in 1991.
A 1:50,000 scale land use series published in the late 1960s covers a small part of the south of the country. About half the sheets are available as eight-color litho-printed productions, the others being produced as diazo prints. A 1:250,000 scale land cover map was begun in 1985, but only two sheets have been published. 1:50,000 scale land capability maps cover a rather larger area of southern Guatemala. These are produced as diazo prints, and use an eight-category capability classification based on soil, slope and drainage criteria.
The Atlas nacional de Guatemala was published in 1972 by the then civilian Instituto Geográfico Nacional. It includes 130 maps and diagrams in seven colors, color and black-and-white photographs, and is organized into eight chapters covering physical and human resources, economic activities, service industries and tourism.
Large-scale mapping has been undertaken in urban areas and in the populous regions south of 15°N. There are programs of urban cadastral mapping at scales of 1:2,000 (photomosaics) or 1:1000 (line maps) while rural areas are mapped at 1:10,000 scale.
Small-scale general maps of the country are published by IGMG and by International Travel Maps (ITM), Canada. A new 1:15,000 map of Guatemala City was published by IGMG in 1988.
The Instituto Nacional de Estadística (INE) is responsible for providing enumeration maps for the population censuses, carried out most recently in 1981 and 1991. INE has also published an administrative map of the country in 1982 and a road map in 1986.