History of Cartography

Urban and Regional Historic Maps

3711.1 - The Reshapement of the City of Berlin's Maps

Monday, July 3
4:10 PM - 4:30 PM
Location: Hoover

Hardly any other city in the world reshaped its borders in such a radical way like Berlin over the last decades. With the fall of the Berlin Wall the East-West confrontation and the contradictions of the political systems averted from almost one day to the other. The ongoing process of the German unification accompanies the reshapements of urban maps and their associated spatial information systems. This paper illuminates the tremendous cartographic changes that took place during the Cold War period and after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Typical characteristics of both political systems’ maps will be highlighted.

East Germany for example secured and documented its borders by means of detailed border troop intelligence maps that were classified as secret and, on the other hand, shaped maps to disinform its people of the developments in the western parts of the city. Whereas the Western Allies provided as much map information of the counterpart as possible, easiest to see on topological maps representing public transportation or on city maps. Similarities in general were found according to cadastral maps and land registers even though both parts of the city followed its own mapping rules. Furthermore, the data protection laws showed enormous differences concerning the public availability of geospatial information.

The cartographic methodology of map harmonization in the context of border affairs will also be exemplary discussed in this paper. Basically, on some map types this method is just about the proper removement of simple adjacent edges. However, if one takes factors like infrastructure, statistical measurements or different sorts of dynamic anthropogenic processes into account the unification of the cartography becomes extremely complex. That’s occasionally a reason why the city of Berlin decided to transform its cartographic base for planning, prognosis and the observation of geodemographic developments.

With the introduction of the concept of lifeworld orientation in 2006 the city of Berlin intended to ensure the comparability of urban areas and to selectively allocate government funding, not least to adapt the resources according to the peoples’ situations of life. This hierarchical topological spatial system at present consists of planning areas, district regions and prognosis areas. The deduce of the overlays and the associated information of the lifeworld systems’ levels will be clarified in detail.

Frederik Kulpi

Computer Science Expert
FU Berlin

Frederik Kulpi is a geographer and computer science expert currently working in large-scale data centers. His research interests lie in remote sensing, geographic information systems and spatial metadata.


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Mirela Altić

full professor, chief research fellow
Institute of Social Sciences, Zagreb, Croatia

Mirela Altić is a chief research fellow at the Institute of Social Sciences in Zagreb, Croatia. In the Department of History, University of Zagreb, Dr. Altic holds the rank of full professor and lectures on the history of cartography and historical geography. Besides her specialization in South Eastern and Central European map history, last few years she publishes extensively on the Jesuit cartography of Americas and conducts research in European and American archives and libraries. She is the author of twelve books, numerous scholarly papers and a contributor to The History of Cartography Project.


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3711.1 - The Reshapement of the City of Berlin's Maps

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