Map-Publishing Processes

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Map-Publishing Processes


the aggregate of production operations in publishing maps, including reproduction, retouching, photocopying, printing, and finishing work.

Black-and-white hachured, half-tone, and colored master copies made on a nondeforming base (drawing paper glued onto aluminum; plastic) are used in publishing maps. Master copies in the form of black-and-white slides on thin transparent plastics have become widespread; their use eliminates the processes of photographic reproduction. The master copies drawn on paper are photographed using special reproduction devices. The number of negatives corresponds to the number of colors to be used for the hachured elements of the map being printed. Half-tone images (washout of relief and photographic illustrations) are reproduced using autotype or contact gratings; colored master copies are reproduced by means of light filters and color-correcting optical devices. The negatives undergo technical and separation retouching: technical retouching is intended to remove all technical defects in the negative (spots, scratches, and so on), and separation retouching divides the hachured elements according to color. As a result, one element of the map that will be printed in a particular color (for example, black for contour elements, blue for elements of hydrography, and brown for relief) remains on each negative. Negatives or slides for the background elements of the map’s color design (vegetation, bodies of water, and hypsometric coloring) are prepared by hand or on overlays. Separation retouching is guided by special models on which each hachured element of the map’s content is defined in bright colors. Colored (lithographic) models are used for guidance in making negatives for the background elements of the map’s color design. A set of slides is produced from the negatives and is used to produce plates for plane printing. The plates are made of aluminum, plastic, or bimetallic sheets. The method of positive contact photocopying is used to produce the image on the plates. The quality of photographic reproduction, retouching, and photocopying work is checked by printing a color test, which should correspond exactly to the author’s original and to standards for color design. An edition of a map is printed on rotary flat offset presses.

Special cartographic grades of paper are used for printing most maps; paper reinforced with synthetic fiber, kapron and lavsan linen, and flexible plastic films is used for special-purpose maps. The final operations (the finishing process) are performed after the map edition has been printed. These operations include cutting the printer’s sheets into individual maps, sorting maps by quality of printing, grouping according to tone (for multipage maps), gluing them onto cloth (school maps), stitching into sections and binding (atlases), and packing the finished products.

Modern map-publishing processes are based on the latest achievements of science and technology in electronics, electrophotography, photochemistry, and polymer chemistry. Map publishers have highly efficient printing presses, photographic reproduction and photocopying machines, sheet counters, and various types of quality-control equipment, which make possible the rapid production of high-quality maps for the country’s national economy and defense.


50 let sovetskoi geodezii i kartografii. Moscow, 1967. (Collection of articles.)
Itogi nauki: Kartografiia 1967–1969, issue 4. Moscow, 1970.
Edel’shtein, A. V. Tekhnologiia izdaniia kart i atlasov. Moscow, 1962.


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