11 July 2022

Spain’s customised map app puts users in control of coverage and content

National Geographic Institute

“With Mapa a la Carta (https://mapaalacarta.cnig.es/) we combine innovation and tradition. Users can create their own topographic maps and aerial photos and download for free or purchase and receive them at home with the usual quality. This project has been possible thanks to the implementation of a workflow involving different areas of the IGN, databases, and applications.”

Lorenzo Garcia Asensio Director General, National Geographic Institute, Spain

Mapa a la Carta enables maps or aerial photos to be configured by the area of interest, scale, title, subtitle, colour of the cover, and by loading or drawing geometries or pictures on top. By using IGN products as a base, users can design their own maps in minutes and receive a high-quality free digital product for free or purchase as a paper copy.

The idea was born to allow users to get a paper map centred in a certain location rather than choosing from one of 4,123 classic 1:25 000 scale sheets.

The project, developed by IGN during 2021, embraces a more flexible way of consulting geographic information using web applications and viewers, and takes advantage of the possibilities offered by new technologies.

The web application has been designed using several open source components and standard web services.

The result is an easy-to-use web application for customising and receiving maps in different formats.


  • Environmentally sustainable, instead of printing hundreds of individual map sheets, it is printed on demand.
  • Free download of the map or aerial photo in digital format.
  • Users always have access to the latest version of the base map as the topographic database is regularly updated.
  • Promotes reuse of existing geographic information and knowledge derived from the activity of public administrations.
  • Provides a good option to get a customised map for specific purposes, for example organising a route, remembering a trip, promoting a business or as a gift.