Currently (11/09/2022), image downloading is unavailable, but we are working to restore it. If you need to download a map, contact GIMMS ( with a list of no more than ten maps to begin with and we will assist you.

About the Russian Military Topographic Map Collection

The IU collection of these (mostly) former Soviet Red Army topographic maps came to us from the duplicate map room of the Library of Congress Map Collection. While by no means complete, this collection is a fine addition to our existing international map holdings. These maps have a great story to tell: some carry the stamp from both the University of Berlin and the University of Bonn Geography Departments, some are stamped "Captured Map", some carry the ID of the CIA Map Library or the Bureau of Geographic Names, and still others are hand-annotated. They are in a variety of conditions (paper, laminated, photographically reproduced in color or black and white, plasticized, or muslin-backed). The collection ranges from around 1880-1945. You can read more about the collection in the National Geographic article, "See the Classified Russian Maps That Fell Into Enemy Hands"

The maps are indexed in a similar fashion to those of the International Map of the World Series, which means that they are indexed latitudinally beginning with the letter A at the equator and proceeding north at 4 degree increments to the letter Z at the north pole, and longitudinally beginning with the number 1 at the 180th meridian and proceeding east around the world at 6 degree increments until the number 60, which is the 180th meridian.

The US Army translated a guide to the symbols used on these maps. This guide can be viewed in the HathiTrust.

We have the German counterparts to these maps produced during WWII as well. They share much of the same information and are indexed in the same fashion. These, however, are not organized at the moment.

IUCat records: 1:25,000 maps , 1:50,000 maps , 1:100,000 maps

The Interactive Index

Indexed and available for download by the public, these maps may be accessed through the Russian Military Topographic Map index. You can also browse these maps through Indiana University's Image Collections Online.


A screenshot of the Russian Military Topographic Maps index interface.



The Old Index

Before our interactive map was finished, we made do by adapting paper indexes for the web. The original index maps were scanned copies of copies, and were extremely difficult to use (see example below).

Sample of an index map demonstrating the condition the maps were received in. It's hard to tell what all these lines, triangles, numbers, blotches, and squiggles are trying to say.


The small rectangles reading left to right numbered 1 through 12, 13 through 24, etc., (this pattern continues down--which is shown on the example below--until the number 144) represent one map at the scale of 1:100,000. For example, a map with the number O-37-1 is the first map in this area, O-37-2 is the second, and so on down to O-37-144.

Example of the pattern used to number maps at 1:100,000 scale.

Each 1:100,000 scale map can be further subdivided into 4 maps at 1:50,000 scale:

Image shows how individual maps in the above example are broken down further into 1:50,000 scale.
How the Cyrillic characters on the four maps in the above example transliterate into the Latin alphabet.


Their numbering scheme is just a continuation of the 1:100,000 parent map sheet. For example, O-37-132-A is the 1:50,000 scale northwest quadrant of the O-37-132 1:100,000 map.

Each 1:50,000 scale map can be further subdivided into four 1:25,000 scale maps. With the exception of just a few of this scale, all are in the N-34 area.

Example showing how the 1:25,000 scale maps are broken out of the 1:50,000 scale maps which have been broken out of the 1:100,000 scale maps.

Their numbering scheme is also a continuation of the 1:100,000 and 1:50,000 parent map sheets. For example, N-34-132-A-a is the 1:25,000 scale northwest quadrant of the N-34-132-A 1:50,000 scale map.



Project Support

The digitization, georeferencing, and cataloging of the Russian Military Topographic Map Collection was supported by a Digitizing Hidden Collections grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR). The grant program is made possible by funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.  

The project team included:

Michelle Dalmau (PI), Head of Digital Collections Services

Theresa Quill (PI), Map and Spatial Data Librarian


Brianna Best, Image and Metadata Quality Control Specialist

Jordan Blekking, Image and Metadata Quality Control Specialist

Conner Capik, GIS and Digitization Specialist

Alexis Fain, Image and Metadata Quality Control Specialist

Kathrine Hastings, Image and Metadata Quality Control Specialist

Ardasher Khashimov, Cataloging & Digitization Specialist

Matthew Leetz, GIS and Digitization Specialist

Sam Szewczyk,  Image and Metadata Quality Control Specialist

Veronika Trotter, Cataloging & Digitization Specialist

Sarah Ward, Image and Metadata Quality Control Specialist


With special help from:

Kara Alexander, Digital Media Specialist

Caitlyn Smallwood Hastings, Digital Imaging Specialist

Jennifer Liss, Head of Monographic Image Cataloging

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