SHS Web Conf.
Volume 63, 2019Modernism, Modernisation and the Rural Landscape, Proceedings of the MODSCAPES_conference2018 & Baltic Landscape Forum
|Number of page(s)||11|
|Section||Mapping Modernist Rural Landscapes: Speculative Approaches|
|Published online||15 April 2019|
A landscape of lies: Soviet maps in Estonia
Estonian University of Life Sciences, Chair of Landscape Architecture, Tartu, Estonia
Corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org
Maps have long been used as ways of understanding the land as a means of defining borders, land ownership, resources, estimating tax-gathering potential and for defensive purposes. Many of the national mapping agencies originated as arms of the military. When a new regime takes over a country it may decide to prepare its own set of maps – not least for defensive purposes – and to restrict who has access to these maps. When the Soviet Union occupied the Baltic States in 1945 – and these became front-line areas during the Cold War, with large areas devoted to military installations and border zones – a whole new set of maps were created. We took a sample of maps of Estonia from the inter-war years and from the period of political and military occupation from 1945-1991. The Soviet army maps became freely available in the post-Soviet period and studying them and comparing them with the older maps reveals the way the land was perceived. Military maps were produced using different projections and scales, especially regarding the topography and other features relevant for military operations. The maps included deliberate mistakes and if publicly available they contained many blank spaces to hide sensitive areas and to pretend they did not exist. We also found that maps played a key role in planning future landscapes – kolkhoz maps showed how Estonia was foreseen as a complete planned system covering the whole country outside urban areas.
© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2019
This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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