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Project information

Project team

Jana Moser, Silke Dutzmann, Birgit Hölzel, Christian Hanewinkel, Francis Harvey, Eric Losang


Federal Agency for Cartography and Geodesy (Bundesamt für Kartographie und Geodäsie)

Duration of project


Further information

Dr Jana Moser
Tel: +49 341 600 55-133

New basic geodata for thematic maps

Thematic maps are an IfL trademark. The institute uses cartographic representations to illustrate topics with a spatial reference in a memorable way. The IfL's cartography realises maps and map-like visualisations for books, journals and atlases and increasingly for digital media and the internet.

To be prepared for the future, the IfL has been adapting the geometries of its base maps to the requirements of the digital world for some time. Important features are georeferenced datasets and suitable degrees of generalisation. The aim is both to maintain quality and aesthetic standards of IfL maps and – with a view to mobile applications – to adjust the data volume to realistic transmission rates.

The geodata for Germany provided by the Federal Agency for Cartography and Geodesy (BKG) (data sets "VG 250" and "DLM 1000") with data status 2011 have been prepared by the IfL for different purposes of use (scale ranges). Currently, administrative boundaries and hydrography are available for the years 2011 to 2019. Other layers such as forest and settlement areas as well as selected transport routes will follow.

The three scales processed can be used for different purposes. For example, the scale of 1:1 million is useful for large-format posters, e.g. in exhibitions, or for the representation of sub-areas, e.g. federal states. The scale of 1:2.5 million is suitable for print products in formats between DIN A4 and DIN A3, and the scale of 1:5 million is mainly used for representations on monitors and smaller devices. In all three scales, the municipalities and districts form the smallest administrative units. The municipal boundaries were specially generalised up to the scale of 1:2.5 million. For the 1:5 million scale geometries, the district boundaries were further simplified, but the municipality boundaries were merely adapted to the district boundaries. For cartographic-aesthetic reasons we use the municipalities at this scale only for areal representations. They can provide informative insights into regional distribution patterns even at the small map scale. On the other hand, we cannot recommend reproducing the lines of municipal boundaries.

Future changes will be updated by the IfL on a regular basis, data for past annual standings should enable historical comparisons.

Interested users and institutions can use the base maps developed at the IfL on request.


Germany base maps of the IfL for the data stands 2011 to 2021 at the scales 1:1,000,000, 1:2,500,000 and 1:5,000,000