S.P.Chatterjee, the founder Director of the National Atlas & Thematic Mapping
Organisation who first initiated to plan of compiling a National Atlas of India in Hindi - the Raj Bhasa. He discussed the plan with
Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of the
India in 1953 who instantly approved the project.
In April 1954, the Ministry of Natural Resources & Scientific Research has sanctioned a skeleton staff of seven posts to shape the preparation of
National Atlas. This small group of staff officially known as
National Atlas Unit. This small unit had drafted maps on various topics for the proposed atlas and the drafted atlas placed before the expert committee of the planning commission in the Ministry and finally impressed and convinced about the essentiality of the project and finally on
18th. August 1956, this small unit emerged by an order issued from the Ministry of Natural Resources & Scientific Research as a full-fledged organization, known as
National Atlas Organization under the Honorary Directorship of
Padma Bhusan Professor S.P. Chatterjeee in the Department of Geography of the University of Calcutta at the Senate house. Since then this organization grew in strength in the successive plan periods and took up various projects of great national importance. The Government of India appointed a review committee in December 1975 under the Chairmanship of
Professor George Kurian and as per
recommendation of the committee the Department of Science & Technology through an order dated
9th August 1978, modified the name of the Organization as " National Atlas & Thematic Mapping
Organization". This organization is a subordinate office under the Department of Science &
Technology, Ministry of Science & Technology, Government of
India. It has a sanctioned strength of 462 posts as on today which includes 75 officers and 387 staff members of different categories, viz. scientific, technical and administrative officials of which a large number of highly qualified professional geographers, perhaps the largest number under one roof any where in the world. It also employs qualified statisticians, geologist, cartographers and printing professional.
The Organization is at present having 15 Divisions
spread out into 4 different Units located in Kolkata
and New Delhi. The units are at CGO Complex, Bidhan Nagar, NATMO Campus, GN Block, Bidhan Nagar, Tiljala Road, Kolkata and headquarters is at CGO Complex at Bidhan Nagar. The
NATMO Offset Printing Unit was set-up in 1986 from where Landuse Map of Puri District was the first map, which was printed off on 7th July,
1987. On 24th August 1994, NATMO established its Digital Mapping and
GIS Division at its own Campus at the GN Block, Sector-V, Bidhan Nagar, Kolkata. The Infrastructure Profile of West Bengal is the first digital out put.
The first National Atlas of India in Hindi popularly known as
Bharat:Rastriya Atlas having a 26 multi-colour maps with a scale of 1:5 million portraying a comprehensive physical and socio-cultural structure of the country was published in 1957 and was acclaimed the world over as a unique publication. Consequent upon the success of
Bharat:Rashtriya Atlas, the organization has decided to prepare an ambitious project containing 300 plates. It covers all the aspects of the land, people, economy of the country. This atlas is being issued in 8 volumes, which is available for sale. Apart from the above project, the organization has taken up various projects either from the out side agencies or its own.