2024-07-24 08:12:57
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USSR (1945-1990) MAPS
A brief overview of the Soviet maps (1945-1991)

After the Second World War military triangulations of Independent States (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland) as well as Germany (East Prussia) were combined into one system (the network triangulation 2, 3, 4 classes). Fine triangulation network was essential in creating topographic survey in scale 1:25000 and small-scale maps. In the Soviet Union since 1942 used reference ellipsoid Krasovsky. Krasovsky ellipsoid - the reference ellipsoid dimensions are displayed in 1940 at the Central Research Institute of Geodesy, Aerial Photography and Cartography (in Russian - ЦНИИГАиК). Krasovsky ellipsoid dimensions were derived from the degree of the measurements made in the former Soviet Union, Western Europe and the United States. Krasovsky ellipsoid is characterized by the following values:

- semi-major axis a 6378 245 m;

- compression 1:298,3

Earth Position (orientation) of the ellipsoid body of the Earth in Krasovsky defined geodetic coordinates of the center of the hall round the Pulkovo Observatory:

Latitude B0 = 59°46'18,55",

length L0 = 30 °19'42,09",

height x0 is set equal to zero.

Krasovsky ellipsoid is also used in geodetic and cartographic work of all the countries of the former Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, China, India, North Korea, South Korea, Mongolia and other countries. In the former USSR, Russia and some other countries for large-scale maps using a similar projection of the Gauss-Kruger. In 1825, Carl Friedrich Gauss decided the general problem of the image of one surface to another with the similarity in the infinitely small parts. Formulas were created in 1912 by A. Kruger. This projection is conformal and preserves angles and directions.

In 1959-1969 the military completed in Lithuania triangulation network 2, 3, 4 classes, which had about 1,800 points. Maps published in the USSR since 1942 had a 1942 coordinates system (SK-42). For a non-military purpose was created distorted coordinate system, named 1963 coordinates system (SK-63) with a shifted frame (frames). At the end of the Soviet era (1990s) to the category of topographic maps maps in scale 1:1000000 1:500000, 1:200000, 1:100000, 1:50000, 1:25000 and 1:10000 were treated. Maps in scale 1:5000, 1:2000, 1:1000 and 1:500 were considered to topographical plans. Map in scale 1:1000000 considered as strategic, maps in scale 1:500000 and 1:200000 treated to operational maps. Maps in scale 1:100000, 1:50000 and 1:25000 were named as tactical maps.

After WWII main scale of survey was 1:25000. Till 1952-1955 all territory of Lithuania was covered by maps 1:25000 (new survey), after that survey in scale 1:10000 started and till 1990s all territory of Lithuania was covered by maps in scale 1:10000. Relief was shown with contours every 1,0 or 1,5 meters (step of contours on maps was strictly connected with the scale of the map: map 1:25000 h = 5 m, 1:50000 h = 10 m, 1:100000 h = 20 m). The basic geodetic and cartographic work was made by the militaries. Civilian organizations have performed a topographic survey in scale 1:10,000 (and larger) and leveling network. Only in the beginning of the end of the XX century maps were updated by Enterprise No.5 at Head Office of Geodesy and Cartography.

Nomenclature of maps in coordinates system 1942 (SK-42).

The basis of the nomenclature of topographic maps designs a map scale of 1:1000000 (10 km per 1 cm). The entire surface of the Earth is divided into rows by parallels (every 4°), and into columns by meridians (every 6°); formed trapezoids are sheets of 1:1000000 scale map. The rows are named by capital Latin letters A through V, from the equator to both poles and columns - Arabic numerals, starting from the meridian 180 ° west to east. Nomenclature map sheet consists of a series of letters and numbers of the column. For example, a sheet with the city of Vilnius is designated N-35. Polar circular areas (more than 88°) are denoted by the letter Z without specifying a column. Two sheets maps in scale 1:1000000 located between latitudes 60-76°, joined into one- duplicate, so 1:1000000 scale map sheet have a length of longitude 12°. Above 76° 4 1:1000000 maps are joined and occupy 24° longitude, over 88° sheet is Z, which occupies 360 °. Lithuania territory beyond international map is divided into 4 parts, the whole territory of Lithuania is situated on the sheets 0-34, 0-35, N-34 and N-35.

Lietuva Tarptautinio žemėlapio rėmuose

Lithuania territory on international map.Lithuania is situated on the sheets 0-34, 0-35, N-34 and N-35

Maps in scale 1:500000 (5 km - 1 cm) is the fourth part of the 1:1000000 map sheet and the sheet named according nomenclature 1:1000000 map with the addition of one of the capital letters А, Б, В, Г (Russian alphabet), denoting the corresponding quarter (see Figure below) . For example, a sheet of shaded maps in scale 1:500000 have a name of N-34-B. Because of the inconvenience of working with mixed alphabets - Latin and Cyrillic, often resulting sheets indicate with unequivocal Arabic numerals: N-35-1, N-35-2, N-35-3, N-35-4. Maps in scale 1:500000 between 60° and 88° are duplicated.

Maps in scale 1:200000 (2km - 1 cm) are formed by dividing the sheet of maps in scale 1:1000000 into 36 parts (Fig. below), their nomenclature consists of leaf designation 1:1000000 scale map with the addition of one of the Roman numerals I, II, III, IV, V, ..., XXXVI. Because of the inconvenience of working with Roman numerals, name of 1:200000 maps often referred to double-digit Arabic numerals from 01 to 36. Maps in scale 1:200000 between 60° and 76° are duplicated, Roman numerals separated by a comma. Over 76° 3 maps in scale 1:200000 are joined into one.

Maps in scale 1:100000 (1 km - 1 cm) are formed by dividing 1:1000000 map into 144 parts (Fig. below), their nomenclature consists of leaf designation 1:1000000 scale map with the addition of one of the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4 , 5, ..., 143, 144. To avoid confusion with the maps in scale 1:500000 and 1:200000 (for which there are alternative similar designation), maps of this scale may be referred to three-digit Arabic numerals without losing leading zeros, for example: N-35-010.

Operaciniai žemėlapiai

Map in scale 1:1000000 dividing into 1:500000, 1:200000, 1:100000 maps

Maps in scale 1:50000 (500 m - 1 cm) are formed by dividing maps in scale 1:100000 into four parts (see figure below), his nomenclature consists of name of 1:100000 map with and one of the capital letters А, Б, В, Г (Russian alphabet). For example: N-35-26-Б.

Maps in scale 1:25000 (250 m - 1 cm) are formed by dividing maps in scale 1:50000 into four parts (see figure below), his nomenclature consists of name of 1:50000 map with and one of the letters а, б, в, г (Russian alphabet). For example: N-35-26-Б-a.

Maps in scale 1:10000 (100 m - 1 cm) are formed by dividing maps in scale 1:25000 into four parts (see figure below), his nomenclature consists of name of 1:25000 map with the addition of one of the digits 1, 2, 3, 4, for example: N-35-26-Г-г-2

Plans in scale 1:5000 (50 m – 1 cm) are formed by dividing maps in scale 1:100000 into 256 pieces (16x16), which are numbered from 1 to 256. Nomenclature (name) is such as maps in scale 1:100000 with Arabic number showing 1:5000 maps: example O-34-144(139).

Plans in scale 1:2000 (20 m – 1 cm) are formed dividing maps in scale 1:5000 into 9 parts (3x3), his nomenclature consists of name of 1:5000 maps with one of letters а, б, в, г, д, е, ж, з, и (Russian alphabet), for example, O-34-144(139-ж).

1:25000, 1:10000

Map in scale 1:100000 dividing into 1:50000, 1:25000, 1:10000, 1:5000, 1:2000 maps


Size of map


Size of map


Size of map, mm


Size of map, mm



above 54°


above 56°

1:500000 445,2 393,5 42753,5 40604,7
1:200000 1°20′ 371,0 327,9 4827,4 4591,7
1:100000 20′ 30′ 371,0 327,9 1211,7 1152,9
1:50000 10′ 15′ 371,0 327,9 303,5 288,8
1:25000 5′ 7′30″ 371,0 327,9 76,0 72,3
1:10000 2′30″ 3′45″ 463,8 409,9 19,0 18,1
1:5000 1′15″ 1′52,5″ 463,8 409,9 4,753 4,524
1:2000 0′25″ 0′37,5″ 386,6 341,5 0,528 0,503

Dimensions of maps prepared in 1942 coordinates system (territory of Lithuania)

Nomenclature of maps in coordinates system 1963 (SK-63)

In the maps of the coordinate system 1963 (SK-63) rectangular coordinates of the point (points) are calculated in Gauss – Kruger projection, based on the parameters of the ellipsoid Krasovsky, but only at 3° zones. Coordinates (different from the coordinates from maps made in system 1942) are obtained by moving the axial zone of the meridians and replacing the origin of coordinates. It was found that on the territory of Lithuania maps produced in coordinates system 1963 (SK-63) had a central meridians with east longitude 21°57 'N, 24°57' and 27°57'. In all areas of zero abscissa shifted north of the intersection of the equator with the meridian at 11057,63 m. In coordinate system 1963 released maps in scale 1:100000, 1:25000 and 1:10000. Content on maps similar to maps in coordinate system 1942 (SK-42), as mentioned, on maps (SK-63) no coordinates was given. Maps in scale 1:100000 (SK-63) named by C letter (Lithuania, region) and two numbers- one indicates row, second column, example C-44-20, major scale maps were prepared similarly as maps SK-42 (see above). Interestingly, that maps in scale 1:50000 were issued only in coordinates system 1942 (SK-42). That means – 1:50000 maps were most “military” maps.

193 m. koordinačių sistema

Index of maps in scale 1:100000 (coordinates system 1963 and coordinates syetm of 1942), territory of Lithuania, possible to enlarge (link

L: S.Kazakevičius. Antrojo Pasaulinio karo ir pokario metų Lietuvos teritorijos topografiniai žemėlapiai, V.2000
Comparison of Soviet maps (GS and GUGK) in different scale on the same territory
GS - General Staff of Army UdSSR (Генеральный штаб вооруженных сил СССР).
GUGK - Main Administration of Geodesy and Cartography (Главное управление геодезии и картографии).
These two institutions represent militaries and civil soviet maps publishers.

Comparison of different scale Soviet maps published after WWII (1945-1990*) on the same territory allows us to imagine accuracy, precision soviet maps in scale 1:5000, 1:10000, 1:25000, 1:50000, 1:100000, 1:200000.
All maps and maps fragments show area in Lithuania, Telšių district, east of village Gaulėnai, junction of rivers Šatrija and Ražuolė.

Soviet maps 1:5000
Map in scale 1:5000 (1cm. - 50 meters) C-48-19-(87). Full size (link)

Soviet map 1:10000
1/4 map in scale 1:10000 (1cm-100m.) С-48-19-А-г-2. Full size (link)

1:25000 soviet maps
1/16 map in scale 1:25000 (1cm.-250 m.) C-48-19-A-г

Soviet 1:50000 maps
1/64 map in scale 1:50000 (1cm.-500 m.)  N-34-10-A.

Soviet 1:100000 maps
Fragment of soviet 1:100000 (1cm. - 1 km.) map C-44-19 (1977, koordinates system y. 1963)

Soviet 1:200000 maps
Fragment of soviet 1:200000 (1cm- 2 km.) map N-34-V.

Keywords: Map of General Staff, GUGK maps, maps of the General Staff of the USSR, maps General Directorate of Geodesy and Cartography under the Council ministros USSR.
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