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Maps of military origin

There are around 750,000 military maps in the holdings of the Federal Archives-Military Archives. A distinction must be made between two categories of military maps:

Site maps relating to the holdings of official records (e.g. deployment map showing front changes 26.8. - 17.9.1941; annex to war log of Army Group South in the southern section of the eastern front)

Military map collection, consisting of topographic maps and special military maps (roads, infrastructure, troop drill grounds etc.).

Geodetic and topographic information is an integral component of the archives of military origin. In the fields of geodesy and topography (e.g. maps as basic guides), geography (e.g. special maps and spatial analysis), geology (e.g. accessibility of terrain) and geoinformatics (use of digital geodata in guidance and weapons systems) military geoinformation plays a key supporting role in both defence and security planning on a strategic level and in actual deployment at operational and tactical level. The range of military maps is not therefore just limited to the representation of events and movements in space, as is the case with classic deployment maps.

There are also cartographic representations of military geographical factors such as infrastructure (industry, traffic, administration, supplies, communication, sanitation etc.), resources (e.g. raw material and agricultural sources, population distribution, demographic/ethnic composition), geographical and political borders, nature of terrain, weather and climate, water and water bodies, flora and fauna. Based on the original remit of the armed forces, the National Defence, the geographical reference framework covered by the map archives stretches from the territories of the German state to all the corners of the globe with relevance to the deployment of German land, sea and air forces.

Consequently the archives of the military map collection ranges from topographic maps of the Prussian land survey by the German Reich via booty maps of both world wars (e.g. position maps, capacity of places for occupation, town plans), sea charts e.g. of the German colonies in the Pacific (e.g. unloading stations), aeronautical charts from the armed forces and NATO, and the extent of the GDR border zone, all the way to bathymetric maps for U-boat deployment in the Horn of Africa or terrain and road navigation maps of the Hindu Kush region (Uzbekistan and Afghanistan).