Labels on the maps of the Third Military Survey of Austria-Hungary and on the survey maps of the Military Geographical Institute (Wojskowy Instytut Geograficzny) in Warsaw in the light of survey manuals

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Abstract

Materials from topographic surveys had a serious impact on the labels on the maps that were based on these surveys. Collecting toponyms and information that were to be placed as labels on a final map, was an additional duty the survey officers were tasked with. Regulations concerning labels were included in survey manuals issued by the Austro-Hungarian Militärgeographisches Institut in Vienna and the Polish Wojskowy Instytut Geograficzny in Warsaw.

The analyzed Austro-Hungarian regulations date from the years 1875, 1887, 1894, 1903 (2nd ed.). The oldest manual was issued during the Third Military Survey of Austria-Hungary (1:25,000) and regulated the way it was conducted (it is to be supposed that the issued manual was mainly a collection of regulations issued prior to the survey launch). The Third Survey was the basis for the 1:75,000 Spezialkarte map. The other manuals regulated the field revisions of the survey. The analyzed Polish manuals date from the years 1925, 1936, and 1937.

The properties of the labels resulted from the military purpose of the maps. The geographical names’ function was to facilitate land navigation whereas other labels were meant to provide a military map user with information that could not be otherwise transmitted with standard map symbols. A concern for not overloading the maps with labels is to be observed in the manuals: a survey officer was supposed to conduct a preliminary generalization of geographical names.

During a survey both an Austro-Hungarian and a Polish survey officer marked labels on a separate “label sheet”. The most important difference between the procedures in the two institutes was that in the last stage of work an Austro-Hungarian officer transferred the labels (that were to be placed on a printed map) from the “label sheet” to the hand-drawn survey map, which made a cartographer not responsible for placing them in the right places. In the case of the Polish institute the labels remained only on the “label sheets”.

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