Red star to red lion: the Soviet military mapping of Oxford

Davies, J. and Kent, A. J. (2018) Red star to red lion: the Soviet military mapping of Oxford. In: Mapping Empires: Colonial Cartographies of Land and Sea, 13th-15th September 2018, Oxford. (Unpublished)

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As part of its global military mapping project, the Soviet Union produced maps of many parts of the world during the Cold War at up to seven scales, from 1:1,000,000 to 1:5,000. These range from more general maps designed for military planning and terrain evaluation to highly detailed street plans of towns and cities, including Oxford.

The Soviet 1:10,000 plan of the city was compiled, designed and printed in secrecy within the Soviet Union in 1973 and reveals that a high level of information was collected about the location and function of buildings within the city, from the Morris Motors and Pressed Steel Fisher factories at Cowley to Oxford Prison and the Central Post Office in the city centre. Anomalies include the omission of Marston Ferry Road (which opened in 1971) and the inclusion of the two gas holders at St Ebbe’s (which were demolished in 1968). Further afield, the depiction of RAF Upper Heyford on Soviet 1:50,000 topographic mapping includes details not shown on contemporaneous Ordnance Survey maps.

With a particular focus on the Soviet mapping of Oxford and its vicinity, this paper therefore provides some new insights into the global mapping project and examines the achievements, methods and supposed purpose of this unprecedented cartographic exercise.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GA Mathematical geography. Cartography > GA0101 Cartography
Divisions: Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences > School of Human and Life Sciences
Depositing User: Dr Alexander J. Kent
Date Deposited: 18 Sep 2018 13:01
Last Modified: 18 Sep 2018 13:01

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00