IGN is a French public state administrative establishment founded in 1940 to produce and maintain geographical information for France and its French overseas departments and territories.
The IGN depends on the French Ministry of Equipment, Transport, Town and Country Planning, Tourism and Sea. Its missions are fixed by decrees.
State subsidies represent 51% of the budget, and sales 49%.
The IGN runs four laboratories to research geographical information acquisition, production, distribution and applications. It also runs its own school to teach techniques to its staff and other students: National School of Geographical Sciences or ENSG.
The IGN is responsible for the management and updating of:
- geodesic and elevation,
- aerial photographies,
- geographical data bases and maps.
It has to lead research, and to take part in the standardization process in the field of geographical information. It has to manage ENSG, and the documentation service about its products, techniques and services.
A group of French public administrations, in partnership with the IGN, establish the Large Scale Reference (Référentiel à grande échelle, RGE): orthophoto, topography, cadastral survey and address databases which can be superimposed on all the French territory, with a 1-meter image resolution.
Covering the whole French territory:
- topographic maps on the 1:25,000, 1:50,000 and 1:100,000 scale (map)
- road maps on the 1:250,000 and 1:1,000,000 scales (this last one covers metropolitan France on one sheet).
- maps of foreign countries
- International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aeronautical maps on the 1:500,000 scale for Visual flight rules (VFR).
The IGN is also in charge of the Géoportail and the shop Le Monde Des Cartes 50 rue de la verrerie 75004.