Development history

During the Soviet occupation, the cartography industry was under the control of the General Geodesy and Cartography Department of the Soviet Council of Ministers and the General Staff War Topography Department. The industry was primarily for military purposes and its secret regime made civilian use difficult. During the Soviet times, Latvia did not have a complete training system for cartography specialists.

The cartography system of Latvia was restored in 1990 with the establishment of the Department of Geology, Geodesy and Cartography of the Council of Ministers. The Department took over part of the USSR property - cartography factory (now the LGIA printing house “Map of Latvia”) and the materials fund of the Baltic Territorial Inspection of the Main Geodesy and Cartography Office.

In 1993 the State Land Service (SLS) was established, where the National Surveying Center also included the Cartography Section. Since the reorganization of the SLS on October 1, 1999, the Cartography Board has been one of the structural units of the SLS central apparatus.

As of 1 January 2006, the cartography functions of the SLS were taken over by the State Agency "Latvian Geospatial Information Agency" (LGIA) Cartography Department. As of May 5, 2010, the Department of Geodesy and Cartography was formed with optimization of the structure of the LGIA, which consists of the Cartography Division and the Production Technology and Aeronautical Division.

Main functions in the field of cartography:

  • acquire, produce and update terrestrial imagery, remote sensing data, orthophoto and digital terrain and terrain models;
  • organize, perform and control the preparation and updating of basic geospatial data for civilian and military purposes;
  • within its competence cooperate and participate in the implementation of projects with North Atlantic Treaty Organization, European Union institutions and internationally competent organizations.

Main tasks in the field of cartography:

  • process and arrange terrain imagery, aerial laser scanning data, and remote sensing information;
  • produce orthophoto maps;
  • make a relief layer on topographic maps in the form of horizontal;
  • produce and maintain digital terrain and surface models of the national territory;
  • prepare country border maps as part of the demarcation work of the country border of the Republic of Latvia;
  • produce and maintain aeronautical maps and their databases;
  • make and maintain cartographic products and their databases for military and civilian use;
  • create and maintain databases of flight obstructions and critical objects;
  • within its competence participate and implement national and international projects in the field of geoinformation;
  • carry out cartography research;
  • prepare cartographic information, as well as carry out cartographic works upon the request of state and local government institutions and legal and physical persons within the scope of their competence and in accordance with the procedure prescribed by the internal regulations of the LGIA;
  • develop, test and implement production technologies in the fields of geodesy and cartography;
  • to develop proposals for the development of cartographic activities;
  • in cooperation with the structural units of the LGIA, analyze economic activity in the field of cartography, the demand of state and municipal institutions, legal and physical persons and make proposals in order to ensure appropriate development and improvement of the cartographic activities of the State;
  • within its competence develop draft regulatory enactments and planning documents, as well as proposals regarding draft regulatory enactments and planning documents developed by other institutions;
  • analyze the development of the cartography industry and the level of technical development by making proposals for the introduction of new technologies and ensuring the economically justified application of the latest technologies in cartographic works within the limits of available resources.

Read more about cartographic products and services on the LGIA Products and Services website.