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The Presidential Library has begun to translate 98 maps from the times of the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union into electronic form – which is more than 760 pages, including atlases. These rare, extremely valuable exhibits, the first of which date back to the 70s of the 18th century, were provided to the library by the Russian Geographical Society (RGO). The Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Navy, Admiral Nikolai Yevmenov, instructed the Center of the Russian Geographical Society under the Main Command of the Navy to actively interact with the Presidential Library in matters of digitizing unique maps.

In September 2013, a cooperation agreement was signed between the Presidential Library and the Russian Geographical Society. And today more than 6.5 thousand books, brochures, periodicals, archival files and photographs, including rare and especially valuable ones, have been translated into electronic form.

The expeditions of the Russian Geographical Society played an important role in the development of Siberia, the Far East, Central and Central Asia, and the study of the vastness of the World Ocean. With stories about scientific travel, in particular P.P.Semenov-Tyan-Shansky or N.M. Przhevalsky, today can be found on the portal of the Presidential Library. Every time, before equipping the expedition, its organizers and participants began a detailed study of the maps of the area. During the expeditions, these maps were checked, refined, expanded, new, previously unknown settlements, rivers and hills, lakes and valleys were introduced into them.

At the beginning of the list provided by the Russian Geographical Society for digitization to the Presidential Library is the “General Map of the Russian Empire, Compiled Based on the Latest Astronomical Observations” (original title “Tabula geographica generalis Imperii Russici ad normam novissimarum observationum astronomicarum concinnata”). Published in St. Petersburg in 1776, it, like many other maps, has a solid authorship: it was compiled by cartographers of the Geographical Department of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences, titular adviser, associate of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences Ivan Truscott and associate Jacob Schmidt.

The preparation of such a large-scale map was carried out in connection with the work on improving the “Atlas of Russia” in 1745 and the creation of a more accurate overview map of the Russian Empire. The method of collecting topographic materials was developed by Mikhail Lomonosov. On his initiative, in the provinces and provinces of Russia, “geographic inquiries” of 30 points were sent out, ensuring the collection of information about the nature, economic geography of territories, etc.

The maps made by Truscott and Schmidt were the first to rely on a complex of astronomical and mathematical measurements, and therefore their accuracy was significantly high.

In addition to the “general” map of our country, the “Map of the Russian Empire and neighboring states” (without specifying the year of issue) was submitted for digitization.

Another rare document – “General Map of Crimea” – was prepared “according to the latest observations” by the adjunct Fyodor Cherny in 1790. On the territory of the peninsula, the author has marked the administrative boundaries, several hundred settlements and cities, the river and road network are carefully displayed.

The digitization plan also includes the 1817 Military Topographic Map of the Crimean Peninsula.

In addition, the Russian Geographical Society transferred to the Presidential Library for translation into electronic form the “Detailed plan of the capital city of St. Petersburg” in 1828, “Map of the outskirts of St. Petersburg” in 1831 and “Topographic map of the circumference of Moscow”.

Maps of the Soviet period are presented by “Geological maps of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics”.

Upon completion of the digitization, the maps of the Russian Geographical Society will replenish the fund of the Presidential Library. Users will be able to familiarize themselves with them on the institution’s portal, in the reading room at 3 Senatskaya, as well as in any of the more than 1200 remote reading rooms of the Presidential Library located in all constituent entities of the Russian Federation and 30 foreign countries.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and / or sentence structure not be perfect.

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