Friday 2 December 2022

Costa Rica grew by 80 square kilometers in territory

This does not mean that the country has grown or that new islands emerged, as many would think. Rather, it is an update in the calculation used to measure Costa Rican continental and island areas

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QCOSTARICA – Thanks to a multi-year study carried out by officials of the Instituto Geográfico Nacional (IGN) – National Geographic Institute –  it was determined that the territory of Costa Rica now has an additional 80 square kilometers (km²).

Image from IGN

But this does not mean that the country has grown or that new islands emerged, as many would think. Rather, it is an update in the calculation used to measure Costa Rican continental and island areas by that institute and which is attached to the Registro Nacional (National Registry).

Since 2013, specialists began to take new shots of the territory. In this process, aerial shots of about 99% of the national, continental and insular territory (islands, islets and emerged rocks) were captured.

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The different fundamental geographic layers were also updated at a scale of 1:5,000, while for urban areas it was possible to capture information from orthophoto (set of aerial images used to take measurements) and cartography (science of representation of the earth) to scale 1:1,000.

With this information, it was possible to recalculate the area of the country, yielding the new results.

The continental area measures 51,085.63 km², while the insular area is 83.29 km². In total, the Costa Rican territory has an area of ​​51,179.92 km².

The director of the IGN, Marta Aguilar Varela, explained that the new instruments allowed a higher level of certainty to be granted to the new measurement.

“Since the 1:50,000 scale cartographic production was concluded in the early 1970s, it had not been possible to have a complete input that would make it possible to survey the entire contour of the country. And therefore the calculation of the 51,100 km² figure had not been updated.

“With this new input, together with the most recent information at the level of international land borders, they allowed us to affirm the data, which, incidentally, was measured at the time with a high dose of certainty, but with this new level precision allows updating the continental and island areas of the national territory,” said Aguilar.

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