First national atlas to be published in time for Estonia’s 100th anniversary Published: 06.01.2016

The first Estonian national atlas will be published for Estonia’s 100th anniversary at the initiative of the Department of Geography at the University of Tartu. The first of its kind, this atlas will serve both as a monument to the country and as a valuable reference book that will depict Estonia’s 100 years of development on historical and new maps.  

Estonia will get its first national atlas. The picture is for illustration purposes only. Photography: Aime Jõgi

This atlas, dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia, will be primarily aimed at people who are interested in the history of Estonian cartography, as well as in modern and up-to-date databases. “The atlas will include many historical maps and maps reflecting the current situation. This will enable the reader to see the development of both Estonian cartography as well as changes in the Estonian way of life. The maps can be used both by amateur researchers as well as for research and study purposes,” says Taavi Pae, Research Fellow in Human Geography of the University of Tartu and one of the authors of the atlas.

No national atlas has ever been published in Estonia before. The first atlas in the Estonian language was published in 1859. “In the1930s, under the leadership of geographer August Tammekann, the preliminary work for publication of an Estonian national atlas was commenced, but only one of the planned 400 maps was ever actually printed – a relief map at the scale of 1:750,000,” says Pae.

Since the restoration of Estonia’s independence, several collections of maps have been published with the characteristics of a national atlas. The most important include “School Atlas” (2004), “Atlas of Estonian History” (2006) by Avita, “Big Atlas of the World” (2005) by Eesti entsüklopeediakirjastus (Estonian Encyclopaedia Publishers) and “Atlas of Estonian Roads” (2005) by Regio, all of which have been published in cooperation and collaboration with the Department of Geography at the University of Tartu.

“The Department of Geography has proved to be an highly effective centre for the collection and generalisation of cartographic information,” says Pae and adds that publication of the first national atlas of Estonia in time for the 100th anniversary of both the Department of Geography and the Republic of Estonia carries a truly symbolic meaning.
On 29 December 2015, the Department of Geography of the University of Tartu established the Editorial Board for Publication of the National Atlas of Estonia. The task of the Board is to coordinate the large-scale preliminary work already performed by the department for publication of the atlas and to involve various institutions, experts and map publishers in the process of publishing the atlas in order to ensure the high quality of information on the special maps. Publication of the national atlas is planned for the end of 2019 which will mark 100 years of both Estonian language education at the University of Tartu and the 100th anniversary of the Department of Geography.

Source: Kaspar Koort / Postimees


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