via +Joerg Fliege
In the days of the Cold War, before smartphones with a selection of colourful, detailed, satellite-based maps were in the hands of the public, the Soviet authorities, it seems, privately held beautifully-made, highly-detailed and (usually) highly-accurate maps of locations from all over the world as well as their home territories.
Many of these maps provide additional GIS details that go far beyond any immediate military purpose and are so accurate that they contain information not on the maps of the countries concerned. Many cities in Europe, a few in the United States (Pontiac, MI, Galveston, TX, Bristol, PA, Scranton, PA, Syracuse, NY, Towanda, and North Towanda, NY, Watertown, NY, Niagara Falls, NY), and it is speculated the whole of the home territories, were mapped at a ratio of 1:10,000.John Davies has found scores of features on the Soviet maps that don’t seem to have immediate military relevance, things like factories, police stations, and transportation hubs. “If it’s an invasion map, you wouldn’t show the bus stations,” Davies says. “It’s a map for when you’re in charge.”That’s probably true, but there may be even more to it than that, says Alex Kent, who’s now a senior lecturer in geography at Canterbury Christ Church University. Kent thinks the Soviets used the maps more broadly. “It’s almost like a repository of intelligence, a database where you can put everything you know about a place in the days before computers,” he says.“They managed to turn so much information into something that’s so clear and well-presented,” Kent says. “There are layers of visual hierarchy. What is important stands out. What isn’t recedes. There’s a lot that modern cartographers could learn from the way these maps were made.”Aesthetically, the maps are striking, if not beautiful. The cartographers who made them took tremendous pride in their work, down to the last details, says Kent Lee, the CEO of EastView Geospatial, a Minnesota company that was once Russell Guy’s main competition in the Soviet map import business and now claims to have the largest collection of Soviet military maps outside of Russia. “Cartographic culture is to Russia as wine culture is to France,” Lee says.More here (article): http://goo.gl/HQUJK8
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