This 1968 poster titled “Hydrology” explains the map symbols used for waterways and manmade structures like bridges and dams.
Secret Soviet Posters Demystify Map Symbols
These posters, part of a massive military program, illustrated how to map different types of buildings, bridges, and even trees in intricate detail.
During the Cold War, the Soviet military mapped the entire world. This secret program was one of the most ambitious mapping efforts ever undertaken, and it produced thousands—perhaps even millions—of maps of every part of the planet. It also produced these clever training posters, which show in a very visual way how the symbols used on Soviet military maps corresponded to things in the real world.
The posters offer insight into the remarkable range of symbols the Soviets used to create their maps. There are symbols differentiating types of power plants, factories, and train stations, to name just a few examples.
The posters, each roughly 2 feet by 3 feet, were discovered in a map shop in Riga, Latvia by John