The exhibition Latvian Military Cartography – displaying cartographic works prepared for military use since the 17th century – will be opened in the level 6 gallery at the National Library of Latvia (NLL) at 16.00 on 21 February. Over this period, the territory of Latvia has been mapped by the armed forces of Sweden, Poland, France, Germany, the Russian empire, the Soviet Union, Estonia, the United Kingdom, the United States and Latvia. The exhibition is open until 30 December. Entrance is free.
Latvian state military cartography can be considered to have begun in July 1919, when the Topography Section of the Operational Division of the Latvian Army Chief of Staff was established, its main task to provide the Latvian Army with maps. In 1921, it was transformed into the Geodesy-topography Section of General Headquarters. Today, this work is being continued by the Latvian Geospatial Information Agency, which also prepares maps for civilian use.
Celebrating the centenary of Latvian state military cartography, the exhibition presents an extensive range of Latvian-army military maps drawn up during the inter-war period and also after the restoration of independence. The exhibits also include the oldest-known maps of Rīga, the first Latvian stamps printed on German-army map sheets, a US Air Force aeronautical map printed on fabric, and a Latvian SSR Civil Defence Staff map with potential radiation areas marked around major cities should there be an atomic attack. Historical geodesic instruments will provide an insight into the creation of topographic maps.
The exhibition includes materials from the collections of the National Library of Latvia, the Latvian Geospatial Information Agency, the Riga Technical University Department of Geomatics, the University of Latvia Department of Geomorphology and Geomatics and the personal collection of Pēteris Zariņš.
The exhibition is part of the National Research Programme: The Importance of Documentary Heritage Research in Creating Synergies between Research and Society.
Exhibition content: Reinis Vāvers
Design: Tatjana Raičineca
Project manager: Kristīne Liniņa
Exhibition installation: Ainārs Egle, Jevgenijs Sisojevs
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