Medicogeographic Maps

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Medicogeographic Maps


maps reflecting the effect of the geographic environment on human health, the spread of disease, and the state of organization of public health care.

Medicogeographic maps fall into three groups, according to content. The first consists of maps depicting the properties of the natural environment (landscape, climate, and vegetation) and the social, everyday, and industrial conditions that influence the health of the population. This group also includes comprehensive maps of medicogeographic regions. The second group consists of nosogeographic (nosochthonographic) maps, which indicate the geographic distribution of diseases, the relation of diseases to geographic conditions, and, in the case of infectious diseases, the degree of risk of infection. The third group comprises maps showing the organization of public health care: the medical services available to the population and the network of hospitals, clinics, sanatoriums, health resorts, and rest homes.

Certain sociogeographic maps and maps of sanitary engineering conditions are closely related to the medicogeographic branch of thematic cartography. These include maps depicting medicodemographic indexes (for example, birth and death rates) and certain indexes of sanitary engineering and daily life that can help create the most favorable circumstances for work, everyday life, and rest under actual natural and industrial conditions (nutrition, types of clothing, and types of dwellings and office buildings).

All of the basic means of representation used in ordinary map-making (symbols, area markings, color background, dots, isolines, and lines of motion, in cartograms and schematic maps, for example) are used in compiling medicogeographic maps.

In Russia the first map manuscripts showing the location of medical establishments date from the mid-18th century. The first nosogeographic maps were drawn in the 19th century. However, medicogeographic cartography only became an independent division of thematic cartography as recently as the 1960’s. The number of maps issued has increased, and their content has changed qualitatively, in keeping with advances in modern science and modern life. (Among the new types of maps are nosoprognostic maps, maps showing the preparation of forecasts for and the organization of preventive and corrective measures, and maps showing the improvement of public health services.)

The most well-known maps produced by Soviet medical geography include Nozogeograficheskaia karta SSSR: Bolezni s prirodnoi ochagovost’iu (Nosogeographic Map of the USSR: Natural-Focal Diseases; 1964) and Mediko-geograficheskaia otsenka territorii: Zdravookhranenie (Medicogeographic Land Evaluation: Public Health Care; 1967, in Atlas Zabaikal’ia—Atlas of Transbaikalia). Other widely known collections of Soviet medicogeographic maps are Karty struktury mirovogo area la malyarii po iskhodnomu urovniu endemii i risku zarazheniia (Maps of the World Distribution Structure of Malaria According to Initial Endemic Level and Risk of Infection; 1968) and Mediko-geograficheskie tipy territorii (Medicogeographic Territorial Types) in Atlas Afriki (Atlas of Africa; 1968). Foreign medicocartographic works include the Atlas of Distribution of Diseases (New York, 1950-55), the Welt-Seuchen-Atlas (vols. 1-3, Hamburg, 1952-61), and the National Atlas of Disease Mortality in the United Kingdom (London, 1963).


Shoshin, A. A. Osnovy meditsinskoi geografii. Moscow-Leningrad, 1962.
Printsipy i melody mediko-geograficheskogo kartografirovaniia. Irkutsk, 1968.


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