Geography of Brazil

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Introduction: The valid values of areas of Brazil, its States and Municipalities are, according to the territorial setting effected on January, 1st, 2001, those presented in the Resolution of IBGE Presidency nº 5 (R.PR-5/02) of October, 10, 2002, published in Brazil’s Federal Register on
 October, 11, 2002.
The new value for the Brazilian territorial area was recalculated in order to avoid interference of graphic deformation in the result. Analytical calculations were made based on advanced computer platforms, besides projection systems more suitable for the calculation of territorial areas. This operation was carried out individually due to the characteristics of municipalities, including their territorial extension which may vary from 3 to 150,000 km2. The parameters used for each one of the 5,560 municipalities can be found in the metadata system of municipal mapping.
The result obtained in Census 2000 showed significant improvement in the methodology of calculation of area, in the identification and cartographic representation of State and Municipal polygons through substitution and updating of cartographic bases, all of which reflected the changes imposed by legal instruments.
Under these circumstances, the figure of 8,514,876.599 km2 was obtained for the area of Brazil, which corresponds to an increment of about 0.008% to the figure reported in the Preliminary Summary of Census 2000.
In the values of areas for Brazil, its States and Municipalities presented in R.PR-5/02, some basic topics must be highlighted:
- the areas of Trindade and Martins Vaz Islands are part of the municipality of Vitória (ES) according to what is stated by municipal law;
- in Rio de Janeiro, the calculation of area of the municipalities of Carapebus, Conceição de Macabu and Macaé was prescribed by judicial decision;
- in Rio Grande do Sul, the areas relative to Lagoas dos Patos and Mirim, were respectively incorporated into the territory of the State according to the State Constitution of 1988;
- also in relation to Rio Grande do Sul, it is important to explain that the municipality of Pinto Bandeira, which, through writ of prevention, temporarily suspended Law no 11.375/9 which created the aforementioned municipality, had its area (105.156 km2) aggregated to the municipality of Bento Gonçalves.
The technological innovation observed in the last 60 years provided a general improvement of digital processes of geographical information acquisition. Successive changes and adjustment of methodology for the calculation of Brazilian territorial areas were always aimed at showing the reality of the national territory, concerning its cartographic configuration.
In the pursuit of this objective, the elaboration of new editions of topographic bases of systematic mapping and the implementation of a permanent updating project of the existing mapping, constitute fundamental actions towards the use of new methodologies in the calculation of areas.
The figures for areas of surfaces of States and Municipalities are regularly updated considering the dynamics of the Brazilian Territorial Division, due to changes of legal, judicial or cartographic nature.
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