History of Cartography

Historical Topographic Maps

4109.1 - Mapping the WWII: G.S.M.S./A.M.S. Topographic Map Series of the Balkans (1939-1945)

Tuesday, July 4
8:30 AM - 8:50 AM
Location: Harding

At the dawn of WWII, the British Geographical Section, General Staff (G.S.M.S.) War Office and the U.S. Army Map Service (A.M.S.) started to produce a topographic map series of the Balkans issued for operational military requirements in that area. The area covered by this series consists of Greece (including Crete and the Islands of the Aegean), Albania, European Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Yugoslavia, and Hungary. The map series included topographic maps at the scales of 1:250 000, 1:100 000, and 1:50 000, as well as town plans and through-way plans. The majority of the map sheets were originally compiled and drawn by the War Office, London, and then reissued by the U.S. Army Map Service in 1943/1945.
The compilation was based on several different source map series: sheets of the 1:100 000 topographic map of Yugoslavia (dated 1925-1940), sheets of the 1:100 000 topographic map of Greece (1932-1941), the 1:40 000 and the 1:126 000 Bulgarian map series (about 1912), Romanian 1:100 00 sheets (mostly 1939), Hungarian 1:200 000 sheets, 1:75 000 sheets of Austro-Hungary (pre-1918), Turkish sheets of 1:200 000 (mostly 1937), and Italian 1:250 000 originals. Where applicable, original source maps were updated with the information from various railway and automobile maps, air photographs, or from intelligence reports. As the above mentioned source maps series were produced in different styles, scales, cartographic projections, referred to different prime meridians, and with place names printed in several different languages and alphabets (Roman and Cyrillic), the compilation of the G.S.M.S./A.M.S. topographic map series of the Balkans was an extremely complex process.

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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Elri C. Liebenberg

Professor
University of South Africa

Elri Liebenberg was Professor and Head of the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies of the University of South Africa. She has published widely on the history of cartography of Southern Africa, is the Regional Editor of the Cartographic Journal for Africa and an Assistant-Editor for the ICA International Journal of Cartography . She has been a member of the South African National Committee for the ICA since 1987, was a Vice-President of the ICA from 1999 to 2003, and was Chairperson of the ICA Commission on the History of Cartography from 2007 until 2015.



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