A.P. Queiroz

Geography Department University of Sao Paulo


This survey aims at discussing changes on the strategic role of topographic maps in Brazil. Twenty four maps were classified as national security interest in the systemic mapping of the territory (1 confidential and 23 private). Most of them, however, can be found in the Web these days. Thus, despite the fact that most legal restrictions for the acquisition of topographic documents are still in force, they no longer exist in fact. The major cause for this change, that is not limited to Brazil only, is due to the different speed of the technological development and of the incorporation of cartographic products and services to different government areas. The prompt attainment and exchange of high resolution satellite images, of digital elevation models and of vectorial cartographic basis are major components of the topographic maps strategic role change process.