Monday, April 30, 2018

Soviet Military Maps - The Quiz

During the cold war the Soviet Union created detailed maps for thousands of cities around the world. We don't knows exactly how the Russian military completed such detailed maps of the west. Presumably they used freely available maps as the basis for their maps. However the Russian maps often contain military sites left off of western maps (for military secrecy), therefore they must have been based to some extent on knowledge gained from spying and espionage.

The Guardian has created a quiz based on a few of these Russian military maps. In Can you guess the world city from its cold war Soviet spy map? you are shown eleven Soviet maps of western cities. All you have to do is choose the city depicted from a choice of four answers. There are 11 maps in total. The Soviet military map of each city is so detailed that the Guardian quiz is really only testing how well you know the 11 cities shown.

The Guardian quiz includes a link to the website of John Davies' book on the map The Red Atlas. John Davies also wrote an interesting article on the maps for the British Library. Soviet Military Mapping of the Cold War Era includes more information about the composition of the Soviet military maps, the cities mapped and informed speculation on how the maps were made.

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