Prior to independence in 1960, Congo (sometimes called Congo Brazzaville to distinguish it from the former Belgian Congo) was part of French Equatorial Africa, and was mapped by the French Institut Géographique National (IGN), Paris. IGN undertook mapping at scales of 1:200,000 and 1:50,000, beginning in the late 1940s. In 1976, a national mapping agency, Institut Géographique National Congolaise, was established to continue the mapping and surveying activities initiated by the IGN. The current name for the agency is the Centre de Recherche Géographique et de Production Cartographique (CERGEC), Brazzaville.
The mission of CERGEC continues to be the production of topographic map series at 1:50,000 and 1:200,000 scale. It is also responsible for cadastral mapping, for the coordination of all geographical, topographic, photogrammetric and levelling work, and for archiving cartographic, aerial photographic and satellite imagery or data.
Sheets in the 1:200,000 scale series were issued from 1948 and the series was completed in 1978. A few new editions have appeared since 1981. There are 44, one-degree sheets in the series, although a few are only in a provisional edition (esquisses). Projection is UTM, Clarke 1880 ellipsoid, and the regular editions are in six or four colors with 40 m interval contours.
Soviet military topographic mapping for the Republic of Congo Brazzaville exists at the following scales: 1:1,000,000 (7 sheets, complete coverage, published 1969-1985); 1:500,000 (14 sheets, complete coverage, published 1962-1983) and 1:200,000 (10 sheets, primarily northern coverage, published 1979-1981). These products are available in print, digital raster and digital vector GIS formats from East View Geospatial.
1:50,000 scale mapping is much more limited in cover. About 570 sheets are required for complete coverage, but only 44 have been published in a printed edition, covering some areas in the south of the country. All were done by the IGN in the 1950s and 1960s. These quarter-degree sheets are in four colours with 20 m interval contours. The series was briefly revived in 1982 with the publication of a solitary new sheet near Sembé in the north of the country.
Recently there has been important progress towards modernizing the mapping system, although this is still constrained by funding problems. A new geodetic network has been established from the ADOS Doppler program, and, more recently, using GPS. In 1994, GIS hardware and software were purchased with World Bank funding, initially for use in a management project for national parks and game reserves (PROJECAP/GEF-CONGO), and some digital mapping is in progress.
Earth science mapping is the responsibility of the Service de Géologie National, under the Direction de Recherches Minérales. A 1:500,000 scale geological map with explanatory monograph in French was published by the French Bureau de Recherches Géologiques et Minières (BRGM) in 1968. It covers only the area between parallels 2° and 5° south. More recent geological and metallogenic maps of the whole country at 1:1,000,000 scale have been compiled and published by the Geological Survey of South Africa (GSSA).
The French Institut Français de Recherche Scientifique pour le Développement en Coopération (ORSTOM) has published a variety of thematic mapping, including in 1969, an atlas in 10 sections, covering resource themes, and soil mapping in the south of the country.
The Atlas de Brazzeville, a collection of small computer-generated thematic maps, published by ORSTOM in 1984. A small thematic atlas was published in 1977 by Editions du Jaguar.
Mapping of the cities of Brazzaville and Pointe Noire was originally undertaken with the cooperation of IGN, France, and a 1:20,000 scale tourist map of Brazzaville was published in 1983. In 1981, cadastral and large scale surveys became the responsibility of the Direction Générale du Cadastre et de la Topographic and a project to establish cadastral survey for all the big urban centers was started.
A general map of the country was published in 1993 by IGN in its Pays et villes du monde series, revised from an earlier edition produced by CERGEC.
The Centre National de la Statistique et des Études Économiques conducts the national demographic census and has a cartographic unit which prepares census maps.