Department of Cartography

Research activity

The researchers of the Department took part in the creation of complex atlases compiled by other Russian institutions. These include: “The Atlas of the USSR Forests” (N.F. Leont’ev), “The Atlas of the Transport of Russia” (N.N. Komedchikov, A.A. Liouty), “The Ecological Atlas of Russia” (A.A. Liouty), the atlas “The Russian Federation. Privolzhskiy Federal District” (N.N. Komedchikov), “The Atlas of the Republic of Tatarstan” (N.N. Komedchikov), “Atlas Tartarica: the History of the Tartars and Peoples of Eurasia. The Republic of Tatarstan yesterday and today” (N.N. Komedchikov), “The Atlas of the Republic of Adygeya” (N.N. Komedchikov), “The Illustrated Atlas of Russia” (A.G. Khropov), “The Illustrated Atlas of the World” (A.G. Khropov), etc.

Besides atlas mapping the researchers of the Department were the authors of educational maps of the world land resources (R.S. Narskikh) and industries (N.N. Komedchikov) as well as scientific and reference maps of natural and cultural heritage (A.A. Liouty).

The researchers of the Department have made much in the sphere of using aerospace information in geographic research and mapping including social and economic research (A.A. Liouty, N.N. Malakhova), geomorphological (D.S. Asoyan), and soil (V.G. Bostryom) mapping.

In the early 1980s, the Department of Cartography under the leadership of A.A. Liouty elaborated scientific basis and methods of creation of territorial integrated schemes of environmental protection (TISEP) and their mapping support. The core of this concept was the long-term strategy in the sphere of projecting and planning of territorial nature management structures which provides the most efficient management of the region inner resources, mitigation and prevention of aggravation of environmental problems. The developed mapping support of TISEP was based on the unified principles of a map system enabling the performance of a mapping experiment. Such experiment included four stages: the development of maps of evaluation of the processes which determine the state of natural objects; compilation of maps of territorial nature management structures; compilation of maps showing the evaluation of future impacts; development of the strategic options for regional integrated environmental protection based on maps. The developed system of maps and imitative cartographic modeling combined with the scenarios of regional development and nature management allowed to realize different strategies of environmental protection.

The Department of Cartography was the first in the Institute of Geography that since 1981, after the obtaining of the computer ‘Iskra-1256’, began to introduce the technologies of computer mapping into the geographical and cartographical research, to develop mathematical algorithms and programs to create the new types of maps, and later to develop geoinformational technologies, to introduce modern software and hardware for processing of image and statistic materials. Thus, the foundation was laid enabling to develop software for GIS implementation in Russia. The researchers of the Department mastered new computerized techniques of compilation, design, and preparation for publishing of cartographic products. GIS-techniques (ArcInfo, ArcView, MapInfo) have been widely used since the late 1990s, as well as the publishing programs FreeHand and CorelDraw. With their help all maps created in the Institute of Geography for the second volume of “The National Atlas of Russia” as well as political and administrative maps of countries and the Russian Federation entities for the multi-volume “New Russian Encyclopedia” were prepared for publication. Since 2005, the Internet technologies are used widely in the research carried out by the Department; the geographical portal “The Electronic Earth” is developed.

The Department has done a lot of work concerning the cartographic informatics and creation of metadata bases. Since the 1980s on the initiative of A.A. Liouty the Department has begun to collect and to make the bibliographic description of scientific and technical literature on cartography issued in the USSR from 1959 till 1983 in order to systematize it scientifically and continue the traditions of publication of Russian cartographic literature indexes, which was for the first time made by A.N. Veselovskiy in the 19th century. A thematic list of headings was developed for this purpose, and N.N. Komedchikov and R.S. Narskikh made the systematization of the whole bulk of the collected literature on cartography (more than 1500 sources) in accordance with it. I.P Koskovetskaya, N.I. Kukushkina, L.V. Loginova, R.A. Lotov, T.A. Novichkova, T.V. Rusina, T.V. Rykhlova, S.N. Tikhova, and L.V. Shchepetkova took part in the preparation of this index on different stages. The index called “The National Bibliography of Scientific and Technical literature on cartography. 1959-1983” was published in three volumes with the support of Russian Foundation for Basic Research in 1996 and 1997.

Another similar research concerned the cartographical coverage of Russia, which summed up the mapping activities in Russia in all branches of topographical, general, and thematic mapping up to the end of the 20th century. The book issued in 1999 under the editorship of A.A. Liouty and N.N. Komedchikov gives the information about the published cartographic products, instructive and regulating documents on mapping, the main theoretical and methodical literature, and also concerns the problems of functions and usage of maps, their classification, methods of compilation; it contains the list of main centers of map compilation and storage and gives the short historical insight into different branches of mapping.

Another sphere of work in cartographic informatics concerned the collection and systematization of the information about ecological maps covering the territory of Russia both issued and stored as manuscript copies. The information about such maps was collected in libraries, collections, and archives of higher education institutions, scientific, research, design and production organizations. On the whole about 4,500 maps and atlases were described in detail, and also the classification of ecological maps for their systematization was developed. The results of this work were published in 1995 as a book called “The Ecology of Russia in maps: annotated bibliographic index of maps and atlases” (N.N. Komedchikov, A.A. Liouty).

Interesting scientific research on the history of Russian cartography was made by N.F. Leont’ev (the development of thematic mapping in the USSR), R.S. Narskikh (cartography in the Academy of Sciences before 1917), and N.N. Komedchikov (the history of the Soviet cartography and the Russian maps before the early 18th century).

Nowadays the Department of Cartography is carrying out research on the theory and history of cartography, atlas and geoinformational mapping, creation of electronic maps and GIS, methods of using of aerospace images in thematic mapping, cartography information, and the formation of data and metadata bases.
© 2017. Institute of Geography Russian Academy of Sciences. Russia, Moscow.
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