Since October 1941, CIA’s Cartography Center responded to a variety of finished intelligence map requirements. “The mission of the Cartography Center is to provide a full range of maps, geographic analysis, and research in support of the Agency, the White House, senior policymakers, and the IC at large. Its chief objectives are to analyze geospatial information, extract intelligence-related geodata, and present the information visually in creative and effective ways for maximum understanding by intelligence consumers.”~ Arthur H. Robinson, Founder of today’s Cartography Center
During the 1960s, cartographic production in the CIA was driven by the continuation of the Bay of Pigs invasion, the Cold War, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Six-Day War, the Soviet expansion, US involvement in Vietnam, as well as numerous African countries gaining independence.
The past six years have witnessed a push toward modernization of cartography workflow and technology, especially toward dissemination on web and mobile platforms. For the most part, the Cartography Center has transitioned to the use of commercially available, off-the-shelf software and to scientific workstations, which handle software and large amounts of data more efficiently.
The Cartography Center has capitalized on the advent of US Government and open-source map data and tools, exploring and incorporating them as appropriate to improve efficiency and help visualize big data.
CIA declassified maps are available at CIAgov on Flickr