Morocco was mapped by French and Spanish colonial agencies prior to independence in 1956. After this, the Institut Géographique National (IGN), Paris, continued to undertake topographic mapping through an agreement with the Moroccan government, and many maps were issued in standard 1:50,000 and 1:100,000 scale series throughout the 1960s and early 1970s, some published by IGN, and some, from 1965 by the present agency, the Direction de la Conservation Foncière et des Travaux Topographiques, Division de la Cartographie (MDC) (formerly Division de la Carte), Rabat.
The 1:50,000 scale series originated in 1920. Sheets were published in the French Type 1922 style in five colors. The earliest of the current sheets date from the 1930s, but most were published in the 1960s and 1970s. In 1977 a modified specification was introduced with a legend in both French and Arabic. All sheets are in a quarter-degree format, conforming to the International map of the World (IMW) system, and with contours at 10 m or 20 m intervals.
A 1:100,000 scale series was started in 1924, originally intended to cover the less settled areas, but later extended to the whole country. Sheets cover half a degree. The latest version originated in 1978, and incorporates a legend in both French and Arabic, colored road classification, and with contours at 20 m or 40 m intervals (25 m or 50 m on the pre-1978 sheets). Many sheets are still in older Type 1922 or Carte de reconnaissance specifications.
An earlier 1:200,000 scale small sheet series on the Bonne projection has been replaced by a 1:250,000 scale Carte du Maroc which provides complete cover of the country in 38 available sheets. This map is generalized from the 1:100,000 scale series. It has 100 m contours and shaded relief, and a legend in French and Arabic. Most sheets were published during the 1980s and early 1990s, and each covers 1 degree 30 minutes longitude by 1 degree latitude.
The projection used for all the contemporary topographic series is Lambert conformal conic, Clarke 1880 ellipsoid.
A 1:500,000 scale map with layer-tinted relief, covering northern Morocco, was published in six sheets in 1954 and derived from the 1:200,000 scale mapping. A new series of seven sheets at this scale was started in 1988, but only two sheets have been published. However, a series of 16 overlapping regional tourist maps at this scale was also launched in about 1990 by the Societé de Cartographie et d’Imprimerie du Maroc (CARIMA). These are derived from the official maps, but so far only six sheets, covering the north of the country, have been published.
By 1980, Morocco had a substantially complete, high quality cover of topographic mapping at 1:100,000 and 1:50,000 scales. The disputed territory of Western Sahara had also been mapped in a provisional series of 1:250,000 scale maps, and an incomplete series of 1:100,000 scale photomaps (uncontrolled mosaics).
MDC underwent a modernization program during the early 1990s. New geodetic stations were established using GPS, and over 340 map sheets at various scales have also been revised in this period. Additionally, a new topographic series at 1:25,000 scale began to appear in 1991, a five-colour map with 5 m contours and hill shading. It is being produced in collaboration with the Japanese agency JICA.
Soviet military topographic mapping of Morrocco is available at the following scales: 1:1,000,000 (8 sheets, complete coverage, published 1975-1987); 1:500,000 (19 sheets, complete coverage, published 1979-1990); 1:200,000 (89 sheets, complete coverage, published 1978-1991); 1:100,000 (259 sheets, primarily complete coverage, published 1974-1990) and city (1:10,000) topographic maps of Casablanca, Fez, Kenitra, Marrakesh, Meknes, Oujda, Rabat and Tangier published between 1972 and 1979. These products are available in print, digital raster and digital vector formats from East View Geospatial.
Earth science mapping of Morocco is carried out by the Service Géologique du Maroc (SGM), whose history can be traced back to the founding of the Service de la Carte Géologique in 1912. Prior to independence, both French and Spanish carried out geological surveys. SGM now has its own active publication program, and maps have been published on themes which include geology, geotectonics, hydrogeology, geophysics and mineral resources. Detailed geological mapping covers much of the country, at scales which vary between 1:200,000; 1:100,000 and 1:50,000 (Carte géologique du Rif). Sheets are numbered in chronological sequence of publication, and explanations are published for some of the sheets. The French Bureau de Recherches Géologiques et Minières (BRGM) has collaborated in this mapping, and recently the British Geological Survey (BGS) has been involved in mapping activities. Small-scale maps include the 1:1,000,000 scale geological map of 1985. The 1:500,000 geological map was published in six sheets. A 1:500,000 scale, six-sheet map of mineral deposits was started in 1968, but only one sheet has appeared so far.
The Direction des Eaux et Forêts et de la Conservation des Sols has carried out some soil mapping and is currently developing a database of forest resources.
The Institut de la Carte Internationale du Tapis Végétal, Toulouse, published a set of 1:500,000 scale rainfall maps of the country in the 1950s and a 1:200,000 scale vegetation map of Rabat-Casablanca.
The Centre Royale de Télédétection Spatiale (CRTS) was established in 1989, and carries out work on environmental applications of satellite imagery. These have included the development of a GIS to analyse forest data, the testing of SPOT imagery for updating 1:50,000 scale topographic maps and the use of ERS-1 radar imagery for land use mapping.
The national atlas of Morocco, Atlas du Maroc, is published by the Comité National de Géographie de Maroc, the maps being prepared and printed by MDC, and has been issued since 1954 as a series of separate maps in a portfolio accompanied by separate handbooks. The atlas was intended to comprise 54 thematic sections and include as many as 200 sheets, but so far only 48 sheets have been issued and there have been no new sheets since 1985.
A 1:100,000 scale trekking map of the Mgoun Massif, Central High Atlas Mountains has been published by West Col Productions. Street maps of several cities are published by Éditions Sochepress, Casablanca. Publishers of tourist maps of the whole country include GEOprojects, Cartographia, Kϋmmerly + Frey (K+F), Michelin, Karto+Grafik (K+G), RV and Institut Géographique National (IGN).
The Direction de la Statistique is responsible for collecting and processing socio-economic data, and prepares manuscript maps of enumeration districts. A GIS has recently been acquired, and a socio-demographic atlas based on 1994 data was published in 1996, but is only for limited distribution.