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THE ANCESTRY OF RUSSIAN CARTOGRAPHY

Дата публикации: 10 сентября 2018
Автор: Valery GLUSHKOV
Публикатор: Александр Павлович Шиманский
Рубрика: ВОПРОСЫ НАУКИ
Номер публикации: №1536599658 / Жалобы? Ошибка? Выделите проблемный текст и нажмите CTRL+ENTER!


Valery GLUSHKOV, (c)

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by Valery GLUSHKOV, Dr. Sc.(Tech.), RAS Institute of Natural Science and Technology named after S.I. Vavilov

It was Tsar Ivan the Terrible (rule: 1533 to 1584), who had special charts of the border areas of this country, supplemented by lists of military fortifications with detailed descriptions, data of the strength and composition of garrisons. Being notified of an enemy advance, Kremlin could use the charts for a decision on proper defense measures, relocating troops or tightening the security of the threatened approach routes.

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Nevertheless, it was not until the 18th century that the military significance of the map began to prevail. Before that it was rather in demand by seafarers, merchants and travelers. As for land diagrams, simple methods of depiction were used with "pace- and-compass" tying to the cardinal points and calculation of distances by time of travel. The situation began to change only as Peter I took the reign (1689 - 1725). The young reform-minded Czar took interest in anything that could serve the power of his land. He quickly realized that the primitive drawing of the 16th-17th centuries did not meet the requirements of the developing industry and trade and strengthening of state defenses. What was needed was a well-planned study of its territory and compilation of charts on a scientific basis. So Peter I turned to the foremost West-European experience.

Dutch ship master Peter Bergman invited to Russian service, the future author of the charts of several areas of Russia, and the French engineer-general Anthony de Laval conducted in 1697 a hydrographic survey of a ship quayside on the Don near the town of Poltavsk, the river Don from Poltavsk to Azov and all its mouths, with depth measurements.

Next came a comprehensive (hydro-graphic and topographic) survey of the Don from Azov to Voronezh accomplished under the supervision of the Czar in 1699 by Vice- Admiral in Russian service Cornelius Kroeis, a boatswain from Holland, a Norwegian by birth, an expert in seamanship, including topographic survey and cartography.

The work thus done served the basis for the preparation of a river atlas and historic and geographic description of the area. These materials were included in the work published by Kroeis in Amsterdam in 1703, a collection of 17 charts with tags in Russian and Dutch and a profound explanatory text. It had a great scientific and practical value at the time.

A few years earlier, in 1699, off the press came a map of Western and Southern Russia in Russian and Latin compiled by Peter's brother-in-arms, prominent statesman Jacob Bruce. In 1700 the Geometric Chart of Narva was compiled, one of the first large-scale military-topographic aids (scale: 100 Russian fathoms * in 1 inch). The fruits of the Czar's own effort were quick to appear: maps of the eastern part of (1701) and the entire Sea of Azov (1702).

However, to resolve the tasks related to the military and economical progress of the state, the above efforts were obviously insufficient. Pressing was the need of detailed survey if not of the entire territory of the country, then at least its border areas, most significant from the military point of view. And to cope with a problem of such magnitude, surveyors were required-specialists with the corresponding education who were not trained in Russia at that time.

From 1697 on Peter started to second abroad his stolniks (courtiers) and children of nobility to master both seamanship, the lore of drawings and charts and the skill to compile them. According to some estimates, during 1697 - 1724 about 776 people underwent training abroad. Among the first enlistment was Vasily Tatishchev, the future statesman, historian, geographer, one of the supervisors of topographic surveys of the Russian Empire. On return home all of them were, as a rule, examined by Peter I himself who awarded his grades: the able were promoted to officers (sub- lieutenants or even lieutenants), the mediocre were appointed ship masters or sub- navigators, and dropouts-simple hands. Those who had mastered survey were often dispatched on expeditions to describe Russian lands or conduct hydro-graphic works on sea.

In 1689 - 1701 Moscow inaugurated artillery, infantry and engineering schools. Their students acquired the


* 1 Russian fathom = 2.1336 m; 1 inch = 2.54 cm - Ed.

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basic knowledge and some skills of survey, reconnaissance and graphic reproduction of the terrain with the exclusively military purpose. Historians are familiar with maps, layouts of fortresses, fortifications, encampments and battle plans penned by graduates of these institutions. Rather simple technically, they bore important information. For example, the most detailed of them are provided with legends to show settlements, roads, terrain relief and other geographic objects.

A more serious approach to survey and simplest geodetic measurements was taken by the Moscow School of Mathematical and Navigational Sciences opened under the Royal Decree of 14 January 1701. Its graduates were not military but civil servants who still could be put to tasks in the interests of the regular army and navy, then in the process of creation. Foreigners were invited as tutors of these educational institutions, among them Henry Farwarson, Professor of Mathematics and Geodetics with the Aberdeen University of Scotland, and two Englishmen: Stephen Gwyn and Richard Grace, well-versed in navigation. A little later a course in mathematics there was read by Leonti Magnitsky, a graduate of the Slavo-Graeco-Latin Academy, who had authored specially for the School the first Russian textbook "Arithmetics, or a Science of Numerics" which was almost by half comprised of astronomic and geodetic information.

The school admitted youngsters of different estates: from nobility to sons of soldiers. The graduates were awarded the rank of navigator and enlisted as such in the fleet, less frequently as surveyors of land charts (as geographic maps were referred to). Those were both humble toilers and would-be renowned seafarers, land explorers, geographers, astronomers and statesmen. Among them: Fyodor Soimonov (1692 - 1780), Senator, Siberian Governor General, the leader of the Nerchinsk multi-task expedition; Semyon Chelyuskin (1700 - 1764), the discoverer of Arctic islands, peninsulas and bays; Andrei Krasilnikov (1705 - 1773), an associate professor of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences who through astronomic observations calculated the latitudinal span of Russian territory, and many others.

In 1711, in order to enhance manageability of the army, a number of new structures were set up in this country, including the Quartermaster Corps which was essentially the embryonic General Staff. Apart from the duties of arranging military camps, quartering personnel, etc., it was also charged with the study of terrain and roads, military column navigation, reconnaissance, survey and preparation of land charts and dispositions.

March 30, 1716 maybe considered the birthday of the topographic (what we call now, topogeodetic) support of the Russian Army when "The Military Charter Book" was appro-

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Plan of the battle at the Pyalkone River (Finland) in the period of the Northern War (1713).

ved by a royal decree. This document set forth the responsibilities of the Quartermaster General. As the Supreme Commander's closest aide, he was to know the territory of the dislocation of own and foe troops, including rivers, plains, mountains, woods and marshes; to inspect unfamiliar and dangerous locations on the eve of army deployment and then to cause subordinate officers depict them on a land chart and to report to the Supreme Commander the noteworthy points.

Incidentally, until mid-18th century land charts of large areas were not in mass publication. The matter is that in accordance with then-prevailing linear combat tactics * , a military leader usually selected a general height for his command post from which the battlefield was directly observable, and the troops directly manageable, i.e., without a chart.

Although plane and land chart survey ("composition", as was termed at the time) and cartographic drawing were taught in the Artillery and St. Petersburg engineering schools opened, respectively, in 1712 and 1719, pace-and-compass surveys of areas and routes, compilation of the drawings of positions and fields of upcoming battles were usually performed by quartermaster unit officers. They used the basic geometric net (a system of terrain fixes) which, as necessary, was detailed with the use of simplest geodetic instruments. Object outlines were plotted based on direct distance measurements, and the relief-usually the highest elevations-were depicted as hills by sight or with the so-called tinted shading-vigorous brush strokes with assumed vertical lighting. Hand-drawn plans without any cartographic grid (latitude/longitude data) had a detailed legend system for settlements, roads and so forth.

As the Marine Academy was opened in St. Petersburg in 1715, the surveyor training was improved. For that a special class for 30 students was organized. It primarily admitted youngsters of not a noble estate. The term of training initially was not fixed, and later it was fixed at six and a half years. A chair at the Academy was taken up by Professor Farwarson transferred from Moscow together with his assistant Professor Gwyn. Professor Farwarson wrote all kinds of manuals, translated whole books and selected fragments of works by foreign scholars.

Still, Magnitsky's "Arithmetics" remained one of the key textbooks, and its impact, as cartography historians point out, is demonstrated by the works of the Academy geodetic class graduates. They were destined to pioneer the mapping of the vast spans of Russia on a new technological level.

The first class of the Academy graduated in 1719. It was then that Peter I ordered Vasily Tatishchev to organize land survey of the entire territory of the state and compose a


* Linear tactics means the even positioning of troops in the front line, their two or three-line battle formation and preemptively fire fight tactics. - Ed.

Pages. 29


comprehensive geography with land charts. So, on 9 December 1720 young specialists went in all directions: five to Siberia, two to China, ten people went to Russian internal regions and one to the Swedish border. Later two specialists were dispatched to each of Moscow, Kiev, Nizhni Novgorod, Riga, Arkhangelsk and Kazan gubernias (provinces).

Their key instruments were a theodolite, a cord (from mid-18th century a measuring chain), a quadrant- an instrument measuring the site latitude astronomically (by determining a heavenly body elevation over the horizon), an astrolabe to measure quadrantal bearings-angles between the surveyor's direction of movement and the meridian (taken from the meridian).

Survey reference points required to form a future land chart's grid were established astronomically. For that goal they took an instrumental latitude and a mathematical longitude- the coordinates fixing any point on the surface of the earth.

Prior to departure surveyors were provided with an instruction drafted with the participation of the Czar himself. It prescribed to take latitude measurements with a quadrant in each town and on district boundary, compute the longitude from special tables and record the data; to map all towns, settlements, villages, as well as rivers indicating for each one the outflow and the estuary; lakes, forests and fields. The terrain relief was not depicted, except for an arbitrary sketch of high mountains. In taiga and forest areas the survey was conducted only along wide rivers and roads.

The practice showed that the instruction was not specific enough about the map content, which affected the quality of the charts. Therefore, having received the first results of surveyors' work, Peter had to prepare a list of additional data which henceforth were to be included in presented land charts. Thus, it was required to show water mills, thoroughfares and, wherever possible, back roads too, big hills, forests, steppes, marshes, uninhabited townships, abandoned stone structures, old walls and felled-tree barriers, canals and canal locks. Besides, it was prescribed to maintain catalogs of charted towns, suburbs, settlements, villages and woods.

Sub-lieutenant Akim Kleshnin educated at the School of Mathematical and Navigational Sciences and the geodetic class of the Maritime Academy, a patriarch of 18th century Russian surveyors, wrote a follow-up on the above instruction which was more comprehensive and detailed. Essentially that was a manual with notes and even examples, especially valuable since it expanded on the mathematical substance of methods for obtaining the required parameters and the program of geographic description. It is noteworthy that the practice of such supplementary instructions to the framework one, particularly in the light of any local peculiarities, has become traditional in Russian cartography.

Surveys undertaken under Peter I to compile scientific geographical maps of Russia and military-topographic charts of its individual areas occupied over 25 years and culminated in the publication (already after the Emperor's death) of some outstanding cartographic works. The most significant of those were "The Atlas of the Russian Empire" (1734) and "The Academy of Sciences Atlas" (1745).

Illustrations provided by the author

Опубликовано 10 сентября 2018 года




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