Posts Tagged ‘freehand map’

drawings & digital

Before I’ll start, I feel that I need to provide some context to my assignments. For my doctoral dissertation I am dealing with the history of a sugar factory from Rybnitsa- a tiny town in the north-eastern corner of Moldova. In order to find at least some general historical maps of this region from Eastern Europe, I went to the Library of Congress. I understood the difficulty of this task when the librarian from the Map Division asked me what I am looking for and it was rather puzzling for me to explain where this town is.

First of all, this town passed to Russia in 1793, after the second partition of Poland.  Then, after the October Revolution of 1917, it was involved in the Civil War, which made it practically a no man’s land for several years. In 1924 it became a part of The Moldovan Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic (MASSR) inside the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, which was a part of USSR. In 1940, MASSR was dissolved, and a part of it was ceded to Ukraine, while the other part united with a part of Bessarabia to become Moldovan Socialist Republic (MSSR).

From 1941-1944, Rybnitsa was occupied by Romania, which was an ally of Nazi Germany. From 1944 to 1990, it was again a part of MSSR inside USSR. Finally, from 1990 until now, it is situated in Transnistria, which in 1990 proclaimed its independence from Republic of Moldova, but this independence is not recognized by international community. So, as you see, it is quiet a challenge to explain in few words how borders change in that part of the world. Finally, the guy from the Library of Congress decided that he will give me all the historical maps of Moldova, Ukraine and Romania. After browsing through this collection I found an interesting map of Moldova:

This map was published in 1966 and was a part of a campaign to make this tiny Soviet republic a heaven for tourists. Anyway, I chose this map to show you the territory, which I’ve mentioned in the first paragraphs. Also I like it because it resembles the map of California from Historical Atlas of the United States. Remember it? If not then take a look below:

Finally, I used Photoshop to crop the map of Moldova in order to show you where exactly on the map is Rybnitsa:

In Cyrillic script, “Rybnitsa” is spelled “Рыбница.”

Now, all the intros have been accomplished! Let’s get to practical matters.

Since I couldn’t find a historical map of Rybnitsa, I decided to take a contemporary map and to adjust it to my purposes. Because I am interested more in the sugar factory than in the town itself, I decided to show the location of the sugar factory during a particular moment in time. The factory was founded in 1898 and existed until 2001. Obviously along with numerous territorial changes, both the factory and the town have not hold to their places. Borders have moved and they have moved in tune with them. That is why my choice was to show the map of 1926-1941.

So, here is a simplified map of contemporary Rybnitsa:

I got this map from OpenStreetMap. As you can see, there is no sugar factory on this map. So, I decided to map it in both digital and analog formats. At the same time, in 1926, there where no roads such as M4 and A279. So, I erased them, if not from memory then from paper.

This is what I got in analog:

And this is the same map but in the digital format:

It was interesting that although it seems that I performed the same operation with both maps, there was a major difference: in the case of hand drawing I had to reproduce all the map from the beginning, while in the case of the digital map, I had to erase some elements of the map. To a certain extent, this was a mixture of creation and destruction.


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