The National Geographic Institute (NGI) of the Ministry of Construction and Transportation is the South Korean official mapping agency. It was established under this name in 1974, and is responsible for national mapping, and geodetic and photogrammetric surveying activities. Official maps use the Transverse Mercator projection, Bessel ellipsoid, and employ a UTM grid. A 1:25,000 scale map in 768 sheets was started in 1967 and completed in 1974. This five-color series shows relief with 10 m contours and is revised every two years in urban areas, every four years in rural areas and every eight years in mountainous regions according to the amount of unit change in the individual map sheet. A 293-sheet 1:50,000 scale map was derived from 1:25,000 scale surveys between 1975 and 1979 and is revised simultaneously with the corresponding 1:25,000 sheets.
After the completion of 1:25,000 and 1:50,000 scale series effort shifted to the compilation of larger scale mapping. A 1:5,000 scale now forms the Korean base mapping for all of the country apart from mountainous areas, and was completed in 15,813 sheets in 1996. Relief is shown with 5 m contours. Since 1990 NGI has produced multi-color 1:10,000 scale mapping of urban areas derived from the national 1:5,000 series. Of the intended total of 293 maps, 209 had been produced by the end of 1996. Like the Japanese GSI, NGI produces a coastal topographic map series. Comprising 195 sheets and started in 1977, about 75 percent of coastal areas are now covered.
Smaller scale series are also maintained. A 13-sheet 1:250,000 map was completed in 1985 and revised in 1991, and 1:1 000 000 coverage was generalized from this source in 1993.
The military mapping agency in Korea is the National Ministry of Defence.
Soviet military topographic mapping of South Korea exists at the following scales: 1:1,000,000 (4 sheets, complete coverage, published 1985-1987); 1:500,000 (10 sheets, complete coverage, published 1983-1985); 1:200,000 (35 sheets, complete coverage, published 1981-1983); 1:100,000 (111 sheets, complete coverage, published 1981-1994); 1:50,000 (378 sheets, complete coverage, published 1979-1992) and city (1:10,000 to 1:25,000) topographic mapping of 14 major cities from Chinju (Jinju-si) to Wonju (Wonju-si) published between 1979 and 1982. These product are available in print, digital raster and digital vector GIS formats from East View Geospatial.
In addition hard copy mapping, NGI has been producing digital base mapping since 1991. More rapid progress towards digital conversion was achieved from 1995 after the beginning of the National geographic information system master plan. Involving the collaboration of public and private sectors the first phase of this major investment was completed by 1998 and involved topographic data capture. 22,580 topographic maps at 1:1,000 scale needed to be digitized, covering the 73 largest towns and cities, either by direct photogrammetric data capture or by scanning and vectorizing of existing maps. 11,430 1:5,000 scale sheets for non-urban lowland areas of the country had been digitized by the end of 1997 and 159 1:25,000 scale maps for mountainous areas form the remainder of the topographic database. This topographic data was structured into 10 thematic layers. From 1998 more specialist thematic databases have been established. A third strand is the digital conversion of underground facility maps. A pilot study of digital cadastral mapping in Changwon was completed in 1997 with a view to establishing an integrated cadastral information system.
The Office of Hydrographic Affairs (Taehanmin-Guk Suroguk) in the Ministry of Construction and Transportation was established in 1949 and is responsible for the publication and maintenance of hydrographic and bathymetric charting, including harbour and coastal charts and sailing charts for the leisure user. Their range of charts now numbers about 320 and covers the East China, the Philippines and South China Seas.
Earth science mapping of South Korea is now the responsibility of the Korea Institute of Geology, Mining and Materials (KIGAM) which in 1991 assumed the responsibilities of the Korea Institute of Energy and Resources. A geological survey office was established as long ago as 1918, but modern geological mapping of South Korea can be traced to the foundation of a geological survey in Seoul in 1961. There is now 83 percent complete coverage of the country in a 1:50,000 scale full-color map using topographic sheet-lines, many of the 239 sheets are published in bilingual editions. 1:250,000 coverage in 15 sheets was completed in 1973 and is also published in English and Korean parallel texts. A 1:25,000 scale map is in progress for selected areas and has been the focus for most effort since the late 1980s.
Forest mapping of South Korea includes two 1:25,000 scale series produced by the Forest Resources Management Division, mapping forest types and land use for forestry planning. These series were revised in 1990 and have been captured into an ARC/INFO-based GIS. Soil mapping is carried out by the Soil Surveys and Physics Division of the Rural Development Administration, including 1:25,000 scale interpretive maps, which are also now maintained as part of a GIS-based soil information system.
NGI is also responsible for the compilation and publication of the national atlas, which appeared in 1994 and included 134 thematic maps. It is intended to revise this every 10 years. A digital version of the national atlas was published in 1995.
Chungang Map and Atlas Company is the longest established and largest commercial map publisher in South Korea and the official civilian distributor of NGI maps. Chungang publishes tourist mapping of South Korea and of the whole of the peninsula, as well as town mapping of Seoul. Other commercial publishers include Hankuk Map Company, and Ujin Chido Munhwa Sa, which issues a general atlas of North Korea, and Kyong-ln Publishing Company which publishes topographic coverage of the North in two atlas volumes. Western commercially published mapping of Korea is available from Nelles Verlag. The Hungarian agency Cartographia issues a western language town map of Seoul.