Mexican Topographic Maps
Mexican topographic maps are developed by
a federal government agency called “Instituto Nacional de Estadística,
Geografía e Informática” known as INEGI which stands for Mexican Institute
for Statistics, Geography and Information. They have a website, with an
English version at
This is the key information of Mexican topographic maps:
Three major scales are available: 1:1,000,000; 1:250,000 and
They used to be in the NAD27 CONUS
datum but starting in 1998 a transition to ITRF92 began. To make this
change easier, for a while all the maps were published with both
datums. The transition is almost over and the maps being produced
today are all in ITRF92 but it is likely that for a while you will be
able to get maps with both datums. NOTE: I have not seen yet a GPS
unit that handles ITRF92 but it is identical to WGS84 which can be
used without concerns.
All maps have three coordinate systems printed: Latitude/Longitude;
UTM and MGRS.
There are paper maps available for the whole country in the 3 scales.
The 1:250,000 scale maps for the whole country are also available in
Digital Raster Graphic (DRG) files in TIFF and GIF file formats with
their respective georreferencing files (TFW and GFW). You can get them
all in a set of 4 CDs.
The DRG maps in the scale of 1:50,000 are being issued and as of today
(August 2008) about
85% of the country is available.. They have
the same format characteristics as the 1:250,000 ones.
The 1:50,000 maps have shading to
help in the terrain contour interpretation.
There are vector versions of
these maps on both
For the 1:50,000
available for 60% of the country and for the 1:250,000 the whole
territory is available.
Digital terrain elevation models (DEMs) in
format are available for the whole country. Of interest for outdoor
recreational activities are the DEMs based on the 1:250,000 scale
maps which has height data based on a 100 meters quadrangle and cost
USD $ 75 per chart
and the ones based on the 1:50,000 maps that have height data every 50
meters and cost USD $ 65 per chart.
Mexican Topographic Maps Identification Guide
INEGI service centers provide whatever assistance needed to get the map you
will use the 1:50,000 maps to explain the numbering and naming method used
by INEGI. The same concept applies to other scales.
The whole country is available and there is a Key Map as shown next which
allows to locate the zone needed
grid is placed over the country. The vertical divisions numbered 11 to 16
are the UTM zones in which Mexico lies. The horizontal sections with letters
from D to I follow internal INEGI standards. Each of the small squares all
over the map represent a
There are about 2400 to cover all the territory.
intersection of a vertical division with an horizontal one create a
quadrangle which is identified by the combination of the respective section
letter and number, like E14.
Within each quadrangle a consecutive numbering system is used to identify
each of the maps. The final identification number is then formed as
Letter of the zone between parallels in which the map is located
Number of the UTM zone between meridians.
name of a noticeable characteristic within the map is added. In our case it
is the town of “Villa del Carbon” so the complete identification of the map
E14A28 “Villa del Carbon”
Interactive Topo Map
The following link will
take you to a sensitive Mexico Map that will help to find the topo map you
are looking for. Just place the mouse on the area of interest, click, and
the map numbers of the zone will show:
MAP IMAGE SAMPLES
This is a section of a 1:250,000 map
And this on from a 1:50.000 map