Comprehensive Mapping

Mapping, Comprehensive


the multifaceted depiction of natural and socioeconomic phenomena on geographic maps, taking into account their interrelationships. Three main methods are used in comprehensive mapping: (1) the preparation of a complete set of topically different but interrelated geographic maps (for example, comprehensive atlases); (2) the preparation of a series of different topical maps according to a standard program, so that the maps supplement one another, are comparable, and, as a result, are convenient for use as a set (for example, the state geological maps of the USSR—stratigraphic, geomorphological, and mineral maps—which are often supplemented by hydrogeological maps and maps of Quaternary deposits); and (3) the compilation of comprehensive maps that show several interrelated phenomena together, each in its own indexes (for example, synoptic weather maps, which show temperature, pressure, and other meteorological elements).

Comprehensive maps are distinguished by the range of elements covered, from a comparatively limited set of phenomena or characteristics (for example, phenomena that are essential for knowledge of the structure and composition of the earth’s crust or for a qualitative evaluation of farmland) to a full cartographic compendium of scientific knowledge from physical, economic, and political geography; and by territorial scope, from maps of certain key areas of a few square kilometers, which are studied in detail, to a survey of the entire planet (for example, the Great Soviet Atlas of the World).

The preparation of a set of interrelated maps is often one of the main tasks of comprehensive geographic research, which is organized for the thorough study of a territory in order to solve various national economic problems. Comprehensive mapping has achieved major successes in the development and compilation of geographic atlases. The letters written by V. I. Lenin in 1920–21 concerning preparation of the first Soviet geographic atlases are of great importance for the methodology of comprehensive mapping.


Salishchev, K. A. Kartografiia, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1971.


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