The official topographic mapping authority in Italy is the Istituto Geografico Militare (IGMI), Florence. IGMI originated in 1861 as the Ufficio Tecnico dello Stato Maggiore Italiano, and assumed its present name in 1882. The contemporary topographic map series are at scales of 1:25,000, 1:50,000 and 1:250,000.

Originally, the basic mapping scale of 1:25,000 was intended only for the more important regions, with 1:50,000 being used for the remainder of the country; but subsequently the 1:25,000 scale series was extended to form the basic scale map for the whole country. The earliest sheets appeared from 1879, and the series was completed in 1966 in 3,545 sheets, or tavolette. These sheets have appeared in various versions: early sheets were monochrome, but the more recent ones were printed in three and later five colors, and those surveyed after 1935 were compiled photogrammetrically. However, many sheets became very dated, and in the 1960s, it was decided to begin a new series at the scale of 1:50,000 to serve as a definitive and more up-to-date national base map. This series now covers about 60 percent of the country. The 1:50,000 scale sheets (fogli) each cover 20′ longitude and 12′ latitude, and are printed in five colors. Relief is shaded, with contours at 25 m intervals, and the projection is UTM, based on the International ellipsoid. There is a three-color version of this map (Series 50/L) without relief shading but with administrative boundaries overprinted in violet.

In the 1980s it became clear that the scale of 1:50,000 was inadequate for many purposes, and so a new 1:25,000 scale series was initiated. The progress of this series has been rapid and it is being used to derive new 1:50,000 scale sheets with the aim of completing both series as soon as resources will allow. Some of the work has been contracted out to private companies. Sheets in the new 1:25,000 scale series have a different format from the tavolette, but are consistent with the 1:50,000 scale sheet system, each covering an area of 10′ longitude by 6′ latitude, i.e. one-quarter the area of land covered by a 1:50,000 scale sheet. This map is also cast on the UTM projection, International ellipsoid. Printing is in four colors with contours at 25 m intervals. In the Italian Alps a few 1:25,000 scale sheets have been published in a special edition with relief shading.

Contemporary with the earlier 1:25,000 series there was a 1:100,000 scale series in 278 sheets (Series 100/V), completed in 1921, with early sheets printed in three and later ones in five or seven colors. It has also been published in editions with and without shaded relief. This map has not been updated since 1970, but sheets remain in print and the series has remained in use as the basis for the geological series at this scale and for an administrative boundary edition (Series 100/L), in which the provinces and communes and their administrative centres are shown in violet against a brown background. A few sheets have also been published in an archaeological edition.

The former Carta stradale d’Italia 1:200,000 (Series M594) has not been revised since 1964, although the series is still available. It has effectively been superseded by a series of 1:250,000 scale regional maps in 15 sheets, and all but one (Sardinia) have been published. The maps are printed in 13 colors with shaded relief and a 100 m contour interval. Regional and provincial boundaries are shown, and road distances given in kilometers. There is also a set of aeronautical charts at 1:250,000 scale in both the JOG (Joint operations graphic) ‘Ground’ and ‘Air’ specifications, and a set of ICAO charts at 1:500,000 scale. Aeronautical information is supplied by the Centro Informazioni Geotopografiche Aeronautiche (CIGA).

Smaller scale series are the 1:500,000 scale (World series 1404) in 14 sheets on a Lambert conformal conic projection and the 1:1,000,000 (World series 1301) in six sheets.

The contemporary map series have integral map covers which are color coded according to scale. Thus the 1:50,000 scale has an orange cover, while the 1:25,000 is azure, the 1:100,000 sepia and the 1:250 000 grey.

Soviet military topographic mapping of Italy is available at the following scales: 1:1,000,000 (9 sheets, complete coverage, published 1981-1990); 1:500,000 (24 sheets, complete coverage, published 1968-1992); 1:200,000 (107 sheets, complete coverage, published 1979-1990); 1:100,000 (322 sheets, primarily complete coverage, published 1977-1988); 1:50,000 (413 sheets, northern country coverage, published 1976-1988) and city (1:10,000 to 1:25,000) topographic mapping of 46 major cities from Ancona to Vicenza published between 1966 and 1989. These products are available in print, digital raster and digital vector GIS formats from East View Geospatial.

During the 1990s, a new national high precision geodetic network has been observed using the GPS, and IGMI is currently implementing a comprehensive digital mapping program. Raster data have been captured at 1:1,000,000 and 1:500,000, and at 1:250,000 scale from the ground and air editions of the (World 1501) series. Raster data is also being captured from the existing 1:50,000 scale cover. In 1997, a project to create a vector 1:25,000 scale database was started with IGMI contracting some of the work to private companies. There are longer term plans to produce a 1:50,000 scale vector data base, derived partly from existing 1:50,000 scale maps, and partly from the new 1:25,000 digital data. Further projects include recent completion of a digital terrain model derived from contour data already captured mainly from the older 1:25,000 scale tavolette, and a digital gazetteer of all the toponyms on the exisiting 1:25,000 scale maps.

Mapping at scales larger than 1:25,000 is undertaken at the regional level, and is usually commissioned by agencies of regional government. These maps are termed Carte techniche regionale (CTR) and are published at scales of 1:5,000 or 1:10,000.

Hydrographic charts of Italy’s inland waters, and of the Mediterranean are produced by the Istituto Idrografico della Marina (IIM). They include a series of international (INT) charts at 1:1,000,000 scale and coastal chart series at 1:250,000 and 1:100,000. Climatic and hydrological data is supplied by the Servizio Idrografico e Mareografico, Rome.

The official geological mapping of Italy is undertaken by the Servizio Geologico d’Italia (SGI), founded in 1873. The principal published series was at 1:100,000 scale, began in the last decade of the nineteenth century and completed in 1976 in 277 sheets. Some of the earlier sheets have been partially revised using a new lithostratographic classification. In 1970 a new series was initiated at 1:50,000 scale, the sheet lines conforming with the new topographic series from IGMI. This now forms the main series, but only a few sheets have been published. A few regional maps have also been published, mainly at 1:250,000 scale, notably of Umbria, Lombardia and Veneto. A general synthesis of the geology of Italy is provided by the series of five 1:500,000 scale sheets published 1976-83, each of which is accompanied by a monograph, and there are also 1:1,000,000 scale geological, mineral, aeromagnetic and gravimetric maps.

A program of digital cartography (CARG) began at SGI in 1989. Digital data is being collected at 1:25,000 scale and are to be used in the production of new geological mapping at 1:50,000 scale.

In 1986, a series of satellite image maps (spaziocarte) began to be published on the sheet lines of the 1:50,000 scale series. These are derived from SPOT panchromatic imagery and are printed in black and white. The intention is to complete national cover of these maps in both analogue and digital form.

In Sicily, the Assessorato Territorio e Ambiente is preparing 1:10,000 scale CTR maps as well as regional soil and geological maps. The soil map will be published at 1:250,000 scale and the geological map is a 1:50,000 series developed in cooperation with SGI. Similarly in the province of Bologna, the Ufficio Cartografico is preparing CTRs at scales of 1:10,000 and 1:5,000, and a soil capability map at 1:25,000 scale, and has also published maps of geology and forestry. There are many similar projects in other regions.

The Carta della Utilizzazione del Suolo d’Italia 1:200,000, published in the 1960s, is still available, as are some of the illustrated sheet monographs. There is also a series of regional vegetation maps, mainly at 1:25,000 scale and published in the period 1978-80.

Most Italian environmental mapping, including some geological mapping, is carried out at the regional level, commissioned by agencies within the regional administrations, and also involving a number of universities. In the late 1960s, a Carta geologica della Calabria 1:25,000, complete in 182 sheets with eight volumes of text, was published by the Cassa per il Mezzogiorno, a state bank established to carry out investment in southern Italy. It also sponsored the 1:10,000 scale topographic mapping of Calabria. The Cassa was abolished in 1984. More recent examples of environmental mapping programs include a new soil map of Regione Campania at 1:100,000 scale from the Servizio Agricoltura, made using ARC/INFO software. The series will be in 19 sheets, with a more generalized single sheet map of the region at 1:250,000. A land use map is also being produced at this scale in association with the Istituto Assistenza Sviluppo per il Mezzogiorno (IASM). This map will also cover the regions of Basilicata and Sicily. Avalanche hazard mapping has been undertaken for the mountainous areas of Regione de Veneto by the Centro Sperimentale Valanghe e Difesa Idrogeologica (CSVDI), Arabba.

Much thematic mapping, often regional but sometimes national, has been commissioned by the National Council for Research (Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR)). An important contribution to the earth sciences has been the Progetto Finalizzato Geodynamica. Volumes in the final reports of this program include an Atlas of isoseismal maps of Italian earthquakes, and a set of 1:1,000,000 geological and geophysical maps under the title Structural model of Italy.

The Atlas tematico d’Italia, produced jointly by the CNR and Touring Club Italiano (TCI), is a major contribution to the cartography of Italy. The atlas was published as a series of loose folios in four volumes between 1989 and 1993, and includes contributions from over 150 experts from universities and research institutions. TCI also publishes a wide range of road maps, atlases, city street maps, and other tourist maps, and has adopted digital programs for map production. Road atlases include the standard three-volume Atlante stradale 1:200,000, listed in our catalogue section, and a similar Grande atlante d’Italia: stradale e turistico at 1:175,000 scale.

Mention should also be made of the Atlante della Sardegna published in two volumes by La Zattera Editrice in 1971-89.

Cadastral mapping is the responsibility of the Amministrazione del Catasto e dei Servizi Tecnici Erariali and about 300,000 sheets have been archived at scales of 1:1,000, 1:2,000 and 1:4,000.

TCI is primarily a motorists’ organization as is also the Automobile Club Italiano (ACI), which also produces numerous road and tourist maps of cities, regions and of the country as a whole. ACI has adopted digital production methods using Intergraph technology.

The Istituto Geografico De Agostini (IGDA), Novara, is a major educational publisher, famous internationally for its World atlas, Grande atlante geografico De Agostini. Among its many cartographic products are wall maps, school atlases, a series of 1:200,000 scale road maps of Italy, 1:250,000 scale regional maps, city street maps and atlases, and maps of the main tourist areas. IGDA also has a number of multimedia products on CD-ROM, including L’Italia guida interattiva which has 1:750,000 scale mapping of Italy and a 6,000-entry gazetteer, and OMNIA 1999 Atlante, a world encyclopedia and atlas.

Also with a substantial range of cartographic publications is Litografia Artistica Cartografica (LAC), founded in 1949. As well as producing maps under licence to state and provincial organizations, it has its own extensive list of national, regional and provincial road maps and atlases, tourist and hiking maps and street maps of 60 Italian cities. Products also include an extensive range of plastic relief maps, educational wall maps, and maps of other European countries and cities. LAC moved to a digital production system in the early 1990s.

Legenda publish guide maps to churches and museums in major cities, and a variety of other tourist-orientated maps. Other significant commercial publishers include Studio FMB, Bologna, (numerous street maps of cities) and Tabacco, which has extensive series of hiking and climbing maps of the Italian Alps at 1:50,000 and 1:25,000 scales.

An excellent tourist map of Mt. Etna was published in 1991 by the Club Alpino Italiano.

Although there is an excellent supply of road, tourist and city maps by the Italian publishers we have listed, there are also offerings from many foreign publishing houses, including HarperCollins, AA, Kuperard, Michelin, Hall-wag and Cartographia.

Government statistical data is provided by the Istituto Nazionale di Statistica (ISTAT).

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