Prior to its independence in 1962, Rwanda was mapped by Belgian colonial authorities. Plane table survey was carried out in the 1920s by the Ministère des Colonies. A series of form-lined 1:100,000 scale sheets were produced covering Rwanda-Burundi, and a set of six 1:200,000 scale sheets. The 15 monochrome 1:100,000 scale sheets covering Rwanda were reissued by the Belgian Musée Royale de l’Afrique Centrale (MRAC) in the late 1960s and early 1970s, together with dye-lines of 1:50,000 scale mapping which had been surveyed in the 1930s.
The responsible organization for topographic and cadastral mapping is now the Service de Cartographie du Rwanda (SCR), Kigali. In the late 1980s a new multi-coloured series in 74 sheets at 1:50,000 scale began with the help of the Belgian Institut Géographique National.
The country is also covered by a 235-sheet series of 1:20,000 scale commune maps prepared by an Italian survey company Technosynesis.
Soviet military topographic mapping of Rwanda exists at the following scales: 1:1,000,000 (2 sheets, complete coverage, published 1958-1977) and 1:500,000 (4 sheets, complete coverage, published 1962-1964). These products are available in print, digital raster and digital vector GIS formats from East View Geospatial.
Earth science mapping is the responsibility of the Service Géologique du Rwanda (SGR) of the Ministère de l’Artisanat, des Mines et du Tourisme (MAMT), and new geological maps have also appeared in recent years, with the help of MRAC. A new series at 1:100,000 scale in 12 sheets was issued in 1991, replacing an earlier, uncompleted series, and a derived 1:250,000 scale geological map was published in 1992. A mineral deposits map at 1:250,000 scale was prepared by the French Bureau de Recherches Géologiques et Minières (BRGM).
Improved land management and conservation are important priorities in this densely populated country, and the Direction Générale des Forêts embarked in the 1980s on a series of land use strategy maps based on the 1:20,000 scale commune maps. In 1979, the Projet Carte Pédologique was established, with the task of classifying and inventorying soil according the USDA 7th Approximation, and preparing a series of color-printed 1:50,000 scale soil maps with Belgian funding and technical aid. This comprehensive mapping program was intended for completion in the early 1990s.
A general map of the country including Burundi was published in 1998 by International Travel Maps (ITM). Small-scale reference maps were published in the 1980s by the Office Rwandais du Tourisme and by Ruanda-Archiv.
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