Cartographic Reference Service

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Cartographic Reference Service


the aggregate of work to provide cartographers and users of maps with the information necessary for the compilation, updating, and use of maps. It involves the collection, systematization, analysis, and processing of the information and its delivery to users. The sources of information are maps, atlases, and various printed, manuscript, digital, and graphic documents that can be used for the compilation of new maps and the verification, evaluation, and updating of existing maps.

All sources of information are divided into two groups according to content and use. Some sources are used for finding maps, describing them, and evaluating their quality (maps and the textual material on them; catalogs and prospectuses of maps; reports on cartographic, topographic, and geodetic work; descriptions of maps; and articles on and reviews of cartographic works). Materials from this group are used to find new cartographic sources and to prepare catalogs, descriptions of maps, charts of the coverage of different territories by particular maps, and charts of cartographic materials recommended for the compilation of maps.

Other sources are designed for the collection of specific data on the state of and changes in the objects being mapped (new, more accurate, and more detailed maps, catalogs of the coordinates of reference points, census data, the latest geographic and special descriptions, and reference works on administrative and territorial divisions).

The second group of sources is used for observation of changes that take place in the objects shown on maps; such changes are regularly entered in current reference documents, the most important of which is the current reference map. Work with this group of sources produces various documents required for the drafting, compilation, and updating of maps and for working with them (lists of collected sources, bulletins on cartographic and geographic changes, lists of the coordinates of reference points, reference dictionaries and lists of geographic names, and maps of the road network and maps of administrative borders). Depending on requirements, the documents prepared by the cartographic reference service are published or duplicated in a limited number of copies and distributed to users.

Centralized cartographic reference work is done by special cartographic institutions. In the Soviet Union cartographic reference service is organized by the Central Administration of Geodesy and Cartography (GUGK) and by the Military Topography and Hydrographic Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of the USSR. The principal organization that supplies information on cartographic work being done in the USSR is the Central Cartographic and Geodetic Collection of the GUGK. The cartographic divisions of the V. I. Lenin State Library in Moscow, the M. E. Saltykov-Shchedrin State Public Library in Leningrad, and the libraries of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR provide information on cartographic publications stored in their collections. Information on sectorial cartographic work (geological, soil, and other types) is concentrated at institutes of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR and at the corresponding departments. Cartographic enterprises (factories) organize their own internal reference services, which supply the production subdivisions of the particular enterprises. In foreign countries cartographic reference service is conducted by state topographical services and by private map publishers. The UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs regularly publishes collections of materials on the current state of world cartography.


Salishchev, K. A. Osnovy kartovedeniia, 3rd ed., vol. 2. Moscow, 1962. Salishchev, K. A. Kartografiia, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1971. Tr. Tsentral’nogo nauchno-issledovateVskogo in-ta geodezii, aeros“emki i kartografii, 1957, issue 116; 1962, issue 156.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.