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Before the Second World War, only a few countries in South America (Argentina, Peru, Chile, Brazil, Uruguay and Bolivia) have been working on surveying their territories. In 1928 was established the Pan-American Institute of Geography and History (PAIGH), responsible for drawing up a series of maps of Spanish America at a scale of 1: 1000 000, which for a considerable time was the only reliable source of cartographic information.

In 1904 the Instituto Geografico Nacional of Argentina began to work on surveying and creating map database of the scale of 1:25 000. In 1929, in Argentina experimental aerial photography was first used in mapping. And by 1950 were created basic small-scale maps.

In Bolivia in 1932, Instituto Geografico Militar produced a series of maps of 1:25 000 scale.

In Brazil, in 1909 conducted a national program for mapping, in which by 1922 was established base map, scale 1: 1 000 000. Since 1932, within the organization Diretoria de Serviço Geografico, were created maps of small and medium scale. In 1937, in order to coordinate mapping activities in Brazil was created Conselho Nacional de Geografia, which was responsible for coordinating survey works, and since 1944 for high-precision triangulation.

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