Formerly part of French West Africa, Niger became an independent republic in 1960. Topographic survey was undertaken by the French Institut Géographique National (IGN), and its predecessors, and IGN mapping support continued after independence in cooperation with the Service Topographique et du Cadastre, Niamey. The responsible organization in Niger is now the Institut Géographique National du Niger (IGNN).
The principal topographic series is at 1:200,000 scale, and this began as a provisional, planimetric map in 1922, but was progressively replaced after 1955 by a four-color Carte régulière, derived from 1950s air photography. The projection is UTM, Clarke 1880 ellipsoid, and contours are at 40 m intervals. There is a complete cover of the country in 119 one-degree sheets at this scale, although some sheets of the northern desert areas are still in a provisional format (Fonds topographiques or planimétriques). A new edition of some sheets has appeared since 1982.
A limited amount of 1:50,000 scale mapping has been completed, covering the southern areas close to the border, and a small area to the north of, including Agadez. Some sheets are photomaps, and recently a few SPOT image maps (spatiocartes) have been produced. A number of sheets in the east of the country form part of the cross-border Lake Chad Basin Commission series of photomaps produced by the British Directorate of Overseas Surveys (now Ordnance Survey International (OSI)). The Japanese International Co-operation Agency (JICA) provided aid in 1992-95 for the production of 36 1:50,000 scale sheets.
Some 1:500,000 scale mapping appeared between 1939 and 1968, but only 12 sheets were published.
Soviet military topographic mapping of Niger exists at the following scales: 1:1,000,000 (9 sheets, complete coverage, published 1979-1991); 1:500,000 (29 sheets, complete coverage, published 1977-1988); 1:200,000 (187 sheets, complete coverage, published 1979-1986) and a city (1:10,000) topographic map of Niamey published in 1976. 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 Direction de Recherches Géologiques et Minières (DRGM), Niamey. Mapping was compiled in the 1960s and 1970s with assistance of the French Bureau de Recherches Géologiques et Minières (BRGM), the German Bundesanstalt fϋr Geowissenschaften und Rohstoffe and the Canadian Geological Survey. Reconnaissance series were published at scales of 1:500,000 and 1:200,000, but only partial cover of the country was achieved. In 1984, a number of 1:100,000 scale geological quadrangle sheets were issued for the regions of Liptako-Nord and Ader Doutchi. In the late 1990s, further mapping began in the west of the country within the framework of a cooperative project between France and Niger, Prospection Minière dans le Liptako. Maps are being created in ARC/INFO from digital data, and are published in scales of 1:200,000 and 1:100,000.
Small-scale earth science maps include a 1:1,000,000 scale mineral deposits map, and gravity maps produced by the French ORSTOM.
Soil mapping and other environmental programs have been carried out by the French agency Institut Français de Recherche Scientifique pour le Développement en Coopération (ORSTOM), which also maintains an office in Niamey (ORSTOM Niamey). A three-sheet, 1:500,000 scale reconnaissance soil map of the southern area was published in the 1960s. In 1992, ORSTOM Niamey completed an experimental classification of soil surface conditions for the degree-sheet incorporating Niamey using SPOT imagery.
A pastoral atlas of central Niger (Élevage et potentialités pastorales sahéliennes) was prepared by the University of Niamey with the aid of the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Co-operation (CTA), Wageningen, The Netherlands and the French Département d’Élevage et de Médecine Véterinaire (DEMVT) and published in 1986. It has 29 atlas plates including an 8-sheet 1:500,000 scale map showing the potential for pastoral agriculture.
The best general map of the country was issued in 1993 by IGN and IGNN at 1:2,000,000 scale in the Pays et villes du monde series, and replaces an earlier 1:2,500,000 scale map. It includes an index, road distance chart and small inset maps of Niamey and administrative areas. City street maps include a 1:15,000 scale of Niamey published by IGNN, and one of Agadez published by the Office National de Tourisme. A contoured map of Niamey at 1:20,000 scale was published by IGN in 1978.