The scope of activities of the firm, which was originally set up with the purpose of producing maps for
schools, had gradually been completed by surveying. At the time of the transition year of 1990 it was
also producing large-scale maps (cadastral maps, utility maps) as well as topographic maps (from
surveying to printing). Besides these surveying maps the company was supplying primary and
secondary education and the general public with various maps and atlases.
Following the transition from command to market economy the Ministry of Agriculture, representing the proprietor, has formulated the objective of privatizing the company. However this big firm of about 1,000 staff, similar in its activities to the geographical institutes of several western European countries (e.g. IGN of France and Spain, Ordnance Survey of Great Britain), but no longer obtaining any government contracts, was unfit for sale.
The company had to get rid of its surveying units and be transformed into a smaller map publisher.
The state enterprise, with a staff of 186 and with its own printing facilities, was transformed into a
limited liability company named Cartographia Ltd. on 1 January 1993. It is presently the largest
cartographic publisher in the Hungarian map market. Its privatization has however, not been
completed, due to changing government privatization strategies and to changing legislation in the
Besides the earlier traditional manual techniques since 1993 Cartographia has increasingly turned to computerization. Map production in this respect is primarily done on PC equipment with AutoCAD softwares, although Intergraph microstations and programmes, as well as other graphic programmes (Freehand, Corel) are also used.
The company continues to publish school maps: three types of geographical and two historical atlases are available at present. In 1994 new atlases for both geography and history in secondary schools was published. The geographical atlas is the one produced by Westermann of Germany and adjusted for Hungarian use.
A total of 1,5 million copies of road, tourist or city maps and atlases are published each year for the
Cartographia exports some 20-25 % of its total production value both as direct map sales and as map production by order. Major publishers on whose orders the firm regularly produces maps include Falk, Ravenstein, Neumann and Göbel (Germany), Freytag und Berndt (Austria), Bartholomew (UK), Altair (Spain) and Folia (Denmark).
The company did not do business with guidebooks until 1992. Since then it has adopted and translated for use in Hungary 18 volumes of the Automobile Association of the United Kingdom.
After 39 years the publishing of the journal Cart Actual came to a halt in 1994. The termination of the
world's only major professional periodical regularly informing on changes in the content of maps (new
geographical names, administrative boundaries, roads, reservoirs etc.) in four languages was greatly
regretted by the cartographic community, as was reflected by the large number of letters sent to the
publisher. There was no possibility however, for Cartographia to make up for the increasing losses of
Dr. Árpád PAPP-VÁRY
Director of CARTOGRAPHIA