Maps are great, I could spend hours looking at them. It makes no difference if it is a map of somewhere I know well, or a place I don’t know at all. Cartographic styles vary around the World and it is interesting to be able to explore maps that are in foreign languages or even different alphabets.
There is a great site that displays Russian maps. You can view and download the maps and are primarily old Russian Army Maps. They are fantastically detailed given that they are not created by the national mapping agency of the country they represent. In fact, the old maps (1950-60’s) of the UK will show military facilities that were deliberately omitted from the map by the Ordnance Survey. Makes you wonder how they collected the base data doesn’t it. OK, they would have aerial images, but there would need to be some ground-truthing data. One thing that I would like to see added to the metadata that accompanies each sheet, is the date the sheet was published.
Anyway, take a look at the site and download maps that interest you. Not a bad way to spend a cold, dark evening in my opinion. But then, i am a bit of a map geek.
Links to historic map viewers
Maps of the World – old maps, mainly military
NLS Maps – archive of old maps brought to you by the National Library of Scotland (GB focus)
Old Maps Online – an expanding archive of historic maps from around the World.