Cartography/NSDI: cartographic databases and infrastructures

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The concept of maps, recognised as valuable tools for understanding territories, has diversified greatly with the progressive development of geographic vector or raster databases. Their consumer applications have exploded, fact made apparent by the use of data for pocket GPS devices, the calculation of itineraries and online localisation.

At a national level, a country's cartography is more often integrated within a Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) process. This process completely redefines the production and distribution of cartographic data using independent and complementary layers of information. This information can benefit from restricted access or, on the contrary, can be made available to the general public via an effective web geo-portal, like the Geoportal developed by the French National Institute of Geographic and Forest Information (IGN). The challenge at a national level is thus to extend the national geographic database to include data from other public organisations in order to form a reference database that is complete, geometrically homogenous and consistent, and from which various cartographic products can be created. 

Strengthened by more than 3 centuries of experience in mapping countries acquired by the French IGN, IGN France International offers its clients support in achieving their SDI projects, including cartography, in both the technical (from the initial creation to updates) and organisational aspects (capacity building, coordination...). 

Burkina Faso • Updating the country's mapping at 1:200,000

  Serbia • Technical assistance for the elaboration of a National Spatial Data Infrastructure

This database will be compatible with the land occupation database (completed by IGN France International between 2003-2006) and when superimposed will provide a set of various common, complimentary and consistent layers.

In order to guarantee the success of the capacity building, the production phase is carried out on-site at the Geographic Institute of Burkina Faso's (IGB) premises and according to a methodology implemented by IGN France International. This project covers the totality of the process. 

See the cartographic update project sheet
Find out more with an article about the project


The Serbian Geodetic Institute (RGZ) will soon beomce the Centre for Geographic Information for the Serbian Republic. The cooperation initiated between the RGZ and the consortium of EADS Astrium - IGN France International aims to establish the Serbian Centre of Spatial Data Infrastructures which will be capable of producing, updating, organising and distributing geographic data for Serbian citizens and both public and private sectors via the establishment of a geographic portal. Technical assistance is provided to help the RGZ in its mission to distribute and share data with the other Serbian entities as well as in the marketing of the new products that it will be distributing.

See the technical assistance for an NSDI project sheet 

Gabon • Preliminary study for the implementation of a National Geomatic Plan   Bangladesh • PMA* for cartographic revision

In order to accompany the "Emerging Gabon" national development strategy, the Gabonese government has chosen IGN France International to conduct the preliminary study for the implementation of a National Geomatic Plan. The goal of this project was to analyse needs and issues and to make technical and organisational recommendations. In addition to this process, 4 pilot projects were completed in close collaboration with various ministries.

See the preliminary study project sheet
Find out more with an article about the project
Discover the four pilot projects


IGN France International was chosen by the Survey of Bangladesh to help them modernise their cartographic institue.  The complete services, including project management assistance, were spread out of several phases and included expert missions for the critical phases.

See the detailed project sheet
*PMA = Project Management Assistance

Download the complete cartography/NSDI brochure