Topographic mapping in Uruguay is the responsibility of the Servicio Geográfico Militar (SGMU), Montevideo, founded in 1913. Early work by the SGMU concentrated on the establishment of a geodetic network for the country. 1:20,000 scale sheets of the department of Montevideo were published in 1920, and in 1926, production of a 1:50,000 scale topographic map series commenced. By 1943, only 10 percent of the country has been mapped in detail, but in the year the USAAF flew a complete cover of Trimetrogon air photographs, a 1:500,000 scale map was compiled. Then in 1966 and 1967, air photography was acquired for the production of a series of 1:50,000 scale photomaps covering the whole country and sharing the sheet lines of the conventional 1:50,000 scale map. These sheets were issued between 1967 and 1973.
Today, the national cartographic plan allows for the production of topographic maps at scales of 1:25,000; 1:50,000; 1:100,000 and 1:200,000. The projection is Gauss conformal, Hayford 1924 ellipsoid. Five sheets are also available at 1:250,000 scale as part of the now defunct PAIGH Americas Program, published between 1984 and 1990.
The 1:50,000 scale map remains the principal series. The current version, began at the end of the 1970s, is based on aerial photography flown in 1966 and 1967, and was completed in the early 1990s. Sheets each cover 0.20G latitude by 0.40G longitude and have 10 m contour intervals. Gravimetric observations at the time of this photography resulted in publication of a provisional 1:1,000,000 scale gravimetric map in 1970.
The 1:100,000 scale topographic map is complete in 87 sheets, but mostly in a three-color series begining in 1974, and lacking contours. This planimetric edition was completed in 1980, and a new five-color version with 20 m contours was started in 1984. 1:200,000 scale sheets were derived from photographic reductions of 1:100,000 scale mapping, but the published sheets cover only the northern half of the country.
A new 1:25,000 scale series began in 1988, based on new air photography. This is a five-color map with 5 m contours. Sheets each cover 0.20G of longitude and 0.10G of latitude. So far sheets have been published for the departments of Canelones and Montevideo.
The Dirección Nacional de Topografía (DNT), under the Ministério de Transportes y Obras Pύblicas, serves as the principal civilian mapping authority. DNT has published large scale urban maps and a series of 18 departmental maps at 1:200,000 scale. In 1992 it began a program of digital cartography, and is developing a GIS which will offer the opportunity to centralize and integrate the handling of spatially referenced data from a number of government organizations, including SGMU with which it is collaborating to digitize the 1:50 000 topographic series.
Soviet military topographic mapping of Uruguay is available at the following scales: 1:1,000,000 (4 sheets, complete coverage, published in 1990); 1:500,000 (9 sheets, complete coverage, published in 1979) and a city (1:25,000) topographic map of Montevideo published in 1982. These products are available in print, digital raster and digital vector GIS formats from East View Geospatial.
Bathymetric and hydrographic survey of Uruguay’s coastal waters is undertaken by the Servicio de Oceanografía, Hidrografía y Meteorología de la Armada (SOHMA). Products include coastal charts, charts of the Rio de la Plata and the Rio Uruguay, and a 1:4,000 scale chart of Uruguay’s scientific Antarctic base in the South Shetland Islands.
Earth science mapping is the responsibility of the Dirección Nacional de Minería y Geología (DINAMIGA). The principal series is at 1:100,000 scale, based on topographic sheet lines, but only four sheets, with explanatory texts, have been published. The latest edition of the 1:500,000 scale geological map was issued in 1985, and an Atlas del inventario de materias primas no metálicas en el Uruguay was prepared in 1982 in a collaborative program with the German Bundesanstalt fϋr Geowissenschaften und Rohstoffe.
A first approximation of an inventory of soils of Uruguay was produced in 1962 as part of a National Agricultural Development Plan, and in 1965 a full soil mapping program was initiated. A national 1:1,000,000 scale soil map was first published in 1967 and revised in 1976. From 1982, some 1:100,000 reconnaissance soil maps on a photomap base were issued. The current organization is the Dirección de Suelos y Aguas (DSA) (formerly Dirección de Suelos), operating under the Ministerio de Ganadería, Agricultύra y Pesca (MGAP). Uruguay has been a test site for the development of the World Soil and Terrain Digital Database (SOTER), described in the World section, and 1:1,000,000 resolution SOTER databases are currently in preparation for Uruguay as well as adjoining parts of Argentina and Brazil.
Large-scale urban maps of Montevideo have been published by SGMU and DNT, and motoring maps of the country are issued by the Automovil Club del Uruguay (ACU). A general tourist map of the country has been published by International Travel Maps (ITM).
The Instituto Nacional de Estadística (INE) produces departmental maps, 1:5,000 scale planimetric maps of the departmental capitals, a multi-sheet 1:10,000 scale map of Montevideo and maps of census tracts.