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How to read elevation on Soviet period maps?


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I have recently started reading a book that might provide ideas for scenarios when the new RT module comes out. So I had a look at period maps and they didn't show elevation lines in the same way that I'm used to. I have a vague recollection of a thread in which someone explained how to do it, but I can't find it. So if some kind sould could shed some light on this issue it would be great.

Gubanitsy1.jpg

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The only thing I think I know is that the numbers with decimal points, like the 133.5 along the bottom edge are point elevations in meters. How to interpolate the spaces between I don't know.

I've used this key on occasion to help me make sense of things, but not sure it's much use here.

https://s3.eu-west-2.amazonaws.com/redatlas/TM30-548_1958.pdf

I love maps, so will follow along and see where the thread leads and hopefully learn something. Good luck.

 

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 I've been (virtually) spending some time on the eastern front, myself. You visit some places in Google Earth and the landscape's as flat as a pancake.  Topo maps of the region are hard to read because there's no topography! On that map I'm seeing '140' elevation line in a couple places, then a couple specific spots marked 139.6, 134.8, 138.7, 133.5. So basically the map's flat. If the place you're looking at is amenable to Google Maps you might be able to locate equivalent modern topographic maps of the spot, or even Google Earth Street View the exact spot.

flat.jpg

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Here is a direct link to the publication on Soviet topographical matters. I see contour lines there, mainly at the top. If there is a larger map, look at that as well, as there will be additional hints as to the underlying heights. As that appears to be vaguely around Leningrad, there should be a few period maps about.

https://www.lib.berkeley.edu/EART/pdf/soviet.pdf

The relevant bit:

309666822_ScreenShot2019-10-31at12_44_05PM.thumb.png.9ae469aeb00326a518c7a9a0c5a6d80c.png

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1 hour ago, landser said:

The only thing I think I know is that the numbers with decimal points, like the 133.5 along the bottom edge are point elevations in meters. How to interpolate the spaces between I don't know.

I've used this key on occasion to help me make sense of things, but not sure it's much use here.

https://s3.eu-west-2.amazonaws.com/redatlas/TM30-548_1958.pdf

I love maps, so will follow along and see where the thread leads and hopefully learn something. Good luck.

 

Thank you, will have a look at it.

Edit: and to @benpark for the same source.

Edited by rocketman
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1 hour ago, MikeyD said:

 I've been (virtually) spending some time on the eastern front, myself. You visit some places in Google Earth and the landscape's as flat as a pancake.  Topo maps of the region are hard to read because there's no topography! On that map I'm seeing '140' elevation line in a couple places, then a couple specific spots marked 139.6, 134.8, 138.7, 133.5. So basically the map's flat. If the place you're looking at is amenable to Google Maps you might be able to locate equivalent modern topographic maps of the spot, or even Google Earth Street View the exact spot.

flat.jpg

Granted the area is pretty flat, but using Google Earth Pro I can get elevation changes at about 25 m in this area. And surely they couldn't measure elevation to within a decimeter, like 139.6?

There are also a bunch of other numbers on the map that I can't attribute to grid lines or something like that.

I guess I have to dig into this.

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23 minutes ago, rocketman said:

And surely they couldn't measure elevation to within a decimeter, like 139.6?

Spots with those measurements would have been made on the ground during surveys in many places you can actually find a marker at that location. So, those measurements are likely that accurate while the contour lines are "pretty close".

Also note that if the contour lines are 10m apart - as an example - that means in the area between the lines there can easily be features that are 2m, 5m even 7 or 8m that are not reflected on the map at all. If the lines are 20m apart then even bigger features will not show up. So even flat maps can have fields with crowns, ditches and small gullies etc.

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Here is a comparison I made with the period map and Google Earth using elevation tracking function.

The center of the village has 139 m which corresponds to the spot elevation of 137.2 slightly NE in the old map. On either side to the W and E there are hills at about 158m and 153m in modern day map. Looking at the forested areas it looks like nothing has changed since WWII. The one on the west side has hills. In the old map there seems to be a small elevation changes to 150m but in the modern one it is 150m+ in a larger area. In the eastern one there is a marked "51" in the old map that could signify elevation perhaps "153" but omitting the "1" would be strange. But I can't figure out what the "53" stands for. I have seen that type of italicised number in several wooded areas. Also, underneath all towns there is a number like "0,22 CC" - does that signify population?

map comparison.jpg

Edited by rocketman
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Yeah those numbers are curious. There is a 23 towards the top centre and 66 in the lower right. I do not think they have anything to do with height. The 158 and 153 numbers don't seem to match the contour lines on the map but the town and the 142 do seem to be inline. Not sure what to make of it.

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  • 3 weeks later...
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BTW If you're looking for Red Army maps: 

http://webapp1.dlib.indiana.edu/images/splash.htm?scope=images/VAC9619 (you can activate a "interactive view" to zoom in, but there doesn't seem to be an option to download...) --> index map available here: https://iu.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=098c42997ca441029b69f0597ff92ea6 - here you can also download the maps in high resolution

Some interesting situational maps: http://armchairgeneral.com/rkkaww2/

 

Edited by Kaunitz
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