The modern map base in Lithuania was established during the years when the country formed part of the Soviet Union. Topographic series conformed to the Russian 1942 standard, and were published on the Gauss conformal transverse cylindrical projection, Krassovsky ellipsoid.
Soviet military topographic mapping of Lithuania is available at the following scales: 1:1,000,000 (4 sheets, complete coverage, published 1983-1990); 1:500,000 (8 sheets, complete coverage, published 1986-1993); 1:200,000 (26 sheets, complete coverage, published 1966-1992); 1:100,000 (72 sheets, complete coverage, published 1977-1989); 1:50,000 (315 sheets, complete coverage, published 1964-1991) and city (1:10,000) topographic mapping of Kaunas, Klaipeda, Shaulyai and Vilnius published between 1981 and 1989. These products are available in print, digital raster and digital vector GIS formats from East View Geospatial.
Topographic maps of Lithuania are now prepared by the Joint Stock Company, Aerogeodezijos Institut in Kaunus, which acts as the main mapping factory in the country. The basic topographic scale is 1:10,000. This two-color map was started in the Soviet era with 2 m contours and was updated every 10 years. Digital production started in the late 1980s and at first involved CAD-oriented systems based on Intergraph Microstation software, but from 1997 GIS based software has been used to generate a 1:10,000 scale topographic database based upon ARC/INFO. Aerogeodezijos Institut also maintains a military 1:50,000 scale map, to conform with NATO standards. A digital specification for these data was developed in 1997-98, leading to the establishment of a 1:50,000 scale ARC/INFO topographic database (TOP50LT). A digital 1:200,000 scale nautical chart of Lithuanian waters has also been captured.
Smaller scale earth science mapping of Lithuania was compiled by Russian agencies prior to independence, notably by Vserossiiskoi nauchno-issledovatel’skii geologicheskii Institut (VSEGEI) in St. Petersburg, in conjunction with the Litovskoi nauchno-issledovatel’skii geologicheskii Institut in Vilnius. The country was also mapped in Soviet 1:200,000 and 1:1,000,000 programs, and at 1:500,000 in thematic map sets covering the Baltic States, published for 10 themes. Geological mapping of Lithuania is the now the responsibility of the Geological Survey of Lithuania (Lietuvos Geologijos Tarnyba (LGT)), first established in 1940 and reformed after independance in 1991 to produce on and offshore geological mapping and assess mineral and groundwater resources. An integrated 1:50,000 scale geological mapping project is being established in conjunction with the State Geodetic Department to update earlier Russian coverage. Since 1994 digital mapping has been carried out based upon Microstation, and more recently ARC/INFO and Mapinfo software. Twenty percent of the country is covered in digital 1:50,000 scale mapping.
VZI also collaborates with a number of other Lithuanian mapping agencies, including the National Center of Remote Sensing and Geoinformatics (GIS-Centras) which is integrating the remotely sensed data and digital mapping with established hard copy map publication programs.
The mapping agency carrying out the national land survey is the State Land Survey Institute (Valstybinis Zemétvarkos Institutas (VZI)), which was established in 1961. VZI carries out photogrammetric interpretation and geodetic survey as well as compiling a variety of photo-, topographic and thematic map series. 1:10,000 scale photo plans are interpreted and the 1:10,000 scale topographic map from Aerogeodezijos Institut is used as a base for the publication of 1:10,000 scale land cover and soil mapping. Three series of derived soil maps were published between 1971 and 1979 on a district base at 1:50,000 scale. The first indicates generic types, subtypes, and texture, the second also incorporates data about land use, the third maps soil and land evaluation data. A 1:50,000 wetland map was compiled in 1980. Other 1:50,000 themes include an electrification map, updated every 10 years, and two recent planning maps. Separate 1:300,000 scale coverage maps relief, roads, forests, land use, soil, peat bogs and educational establishments.
The State Land Cadaster Enterprise is collaborating with VZI in establishing a digital cadastral mapping system. This land information system is producing vector cadastral data and orthophoto mapping at 1:5,000 and 1:10,000 scale for use in the land reform process. Digital mapping is being captured with technical assistance from Swedesurvey, and Danish aid is creating the ARC/INFO database to maintain the land parcel data.
The most significant commercial publisher in Lithuania is Briedas Map Publishing House (Briedas). Established in 1990 their range of mapping concentrates upon the tourist and road markets, including regularly revised town mapping of Vilnius. Pradai publishes a number of atlases, focusing upon the educational market. Overseas publishers mapping Lithuania include Jana Seta (JS), RV, and Quail. Gizimap has compiled tourist coverage of the country which is rebadged by HarperCollins.