Wednesday, 6 January 2016

First Estonian National Atlas Summarises Country’s 100-Years’ Development

The first Estonian national atlas will be compiled by the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia at the initiative of the University of Tartu Department of Geography. On the one hand, the unique atlas, first of its kind, is a representative work of the country and, on the other hand, it is a reference book where Estonia’s 100 years of development is presented on old and new maps.

The atlas, dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia, is intended first and foremost to people interested in the history of Estonian cartography and in the newest data of the modern situation. “The atlas will include a number of historical maps as well as maps that depict the current state. This provides an opportunity to see the development of Estonian cartography and the changes in Estonian life. The maps can be used for home studies and studies and research,” said one of the developers of the national atlas, UT Research Fellow in Human Geography Taavi Pae.

An Estonian national atlas has not been published yet. The first Estonian-language atlas was published in 1859. “In the 1930s, geographer August Tammekann led the preparatory works for publishing a national atlas, but of the planned four hundred maps, only one was printed—a hypsometric map sheet on a scale of 1:750 000,” said Pae.

Several map collections have been published in the re-independent Estonia, which resemble national atlases. More important collections are Avita’s “School Atlas” (2004) and “Atlas of Estonian History”, published in cooperation with UT Department of Geography, “Great World Atlas” (2005) published by Eesti entsüklopeediakirjastus and Regio’s “Estonian Road Atlas”.

“The Department of Geography has proven to be capable in collecting and generalising cartographic information,” said Pae and added that now, on the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia and the Department of Geography, is the suitable time to publish the first Estonian national atlas.

On 29 December 2015, UT Department of Geography founded the editorial board of the Estonian national atlas. The task of the board is to coordinate the extensive preparatory works already conducted in the Department of Geography for the publishing of the atlas and include various institutions, experts and map publishers (e.g. Regio) to ensure the high quality of the special maps in the national atlas.

The planned publishing date of the national atlas is the end of 2019 when the Estonian-language University of Tartu and the Department of Geography celebrate their 100th anniversary.

Additional information: Taavi Pae, UT Research Fellow in Human Geography, tel. 55613338, e-mail: