During the Cold War, the Soviet military mapped the entire world in one of the most ambitious mapping projects ever undertaken (see this feature article for more about these amazing maps, and the unlikely group of scholars trying to figure out how they were made—and why). The maps are fascinating to look at, and for those of us who grew up during the paranoid days of the Cold War, seeing your hometown covered in cyrillic text is a bit unsettling.
But the Soviets didn’t stop at just making some of the most accurate and detailed maps of the day. Some of the medium scale maps of include extremely detailed descriptions of the area–everything from the load-bearing capacities of bridges to the paving materials of the roads. (Yes, comrade, they will accommodate your tanks!) Continue reading