The Maps of Military Geographical Institutes in the Croatian History Museum
You are reading the LI catalogue of museum collections, entitled The Maps of Military Geographical Institutes in the Croatian History Museum. The decision to produce an e-catalogue of the Cartographic Collection was made, among other things, due to the specific working conditions that marked 2020: the pandemic caused by COVID-19 and the Zagreb earthquake of March 2020, which damaged the palace housing the Croatian Museum of History, making it inaccessible to the public. Due to the mentioned causes and the mission and activities of the museum, which are among other things directed towards digitisation programs, The Maps of Military Geographical Institutes in the Croatian History Museum has been published as the first catalogue of museum collections in e-format.The goal of the e-catalogue is to present, through the process of digitisation and professional processing, the topographic and topical maps as well as plans and atlases published by two military geographical institutes—in Vienna and Belgrade—as valuable historical sources. This type of cartographical material of various provenances makes up the greater part of the Cartographical Collection’s holdings and has not been exhibited or published thus far. The topographic maps from the holdings are not well known to scholars and experts and almost entirely unknown among the broader public. The Collection’s e-catalogue offers users unique access to information, allowing each user to choose the option of searching its contents, with the goal of popularising cartographical material while also preserving cultural historical heritage and protecting original museum items. In addition, the innovative and modern way of displaying two-dimensional museum materials with the help of modern technologies is highlighted.The portal Mapire.eu  is a good example of a modern way of displaying cartographical material, such as cadastral plans and topographic maps from the 18th and 19th centuries. The mentioned database also contains digitised cartographic data from the time of the Habsburg/Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, which can be visually projected over contemporary satellite images. Furthermore, one can mention the individual digitised topographic maps published by the Imperial and Royal Military Geographical Institute that are available on the web pages of the Austrian National Library. In Croatia, certain cultural institutions, such as the National and University Library in Zagreb, have digitised a small part of their cartographical material that was published by the Institute in Vienna, which can be found on the portal digitalna.nsk.hr. In addition to the mentioned national and international portals and databases, this catalogue brings together numerous and diverse cartographical depictions published by the Imperial and Royal Military Geographical Institute in Vienna and those published by the Military Geographical Institute in Belgrade in one place, also offering a fuller overview of the work of the mentioned institutions as well as a part of the holdings of the Cartographical Collection of the Croatian History Museum.From today’s viewpoint, the topographic and topical maps represent a valuable historical source because, apart from the wealth of information and data they present, they also have a significant documentary and artistic value. Although some maps presented in this e-catalogue are over 200 years old, they nonetheless give insight into the core elements of cartography, such as the methods of producing and studying maps and temporal and spatial orientation, and into natural as well as socio-geographical features. These can serve as the basis for tracking changes in the historical and administrative-territorial organisation of Croatia (e.g. state, county, and municipal borders), changes of geographical names, i.e. toponyms, the systematic growth and development of infrastructure (cities and other settlements and/or roads), etc.The catalogue is structured as follows:
The Publications of Military Geographical Institutes in the Cartographical Collection of the Croatian History Museum serves as an introduction to the holdings of the Cartographical Collection of the Croatian History Museum, with emphasis on topographic and topical maps and their provenances and the goals accomplished through the making of this catalogue. Furthermore, it offers a sort of historical overview of the development of topographic surveys and production of topographic and cadastral maps from the mid-18th century to the 1980s under the direction of the Imperial and Royal Military Geographical Institute in Vienna and the Military Geographical Institute in Belgrade as well as the way in which topographic surveys left a trace in the Croatian lands in the mentioned period. In addition, there are plans to supplement it and link documentary and visual material from the holdings of the Croatian History Museum.
The Catalogue allows users to choose to browse or search digitised cartographical material, including 154 catalogue units, with separate categories for the editions of the Imperial and Royal Military Geographical Institute in Vienna and of the Military Geographical Institute in Belgrade. In addition, easier orientation and visual searching of the maps is facilitated by visual aids. Furthermore, the Catalogue includes a search function, allowing users to search by type of material (e.g. topographic and topical maps, atlases, plans, manuals), geographical feature shown, or time of creation. When searching by geographical feature, the user is offered a list of cities and other settlements shown on the topographic sheets of the Croatian lands, which also attest to topographic surveys and territorial changes throughout history. During the cataloguing process, the geographical maps were sorted into topographic maps and topical maps. The Collection holds a large number of special maps or specials, made in the late 19th century for the entire area of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy in 1:75,000 scale, which are a type of topographic map and catalogued as such.
Some of the map data, such as German, Italian, or Serbian titles, written using various scripts (Latin, Gothic, Cyrillic), is presented as it appears on the cartographical units themselves, while their descriptive titles are translated into English using the Latin script;
Although the Military Geographical Institute in Belgrade often changed its official name through history, which is visible on individual topographic maps (e.g. Military Geographical Institute of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia; Geographical Institute of the Yugoslav People’s Army; Military Geographical Institute), the institution’s adopted name is Military Geographical Institute, and is presented this way in map descriptions.
The military almanacs and schematisms (Militär-Almanach/Militärschematismus der österreischischen Kaiserthums)have been used to determine the authors for the 1791 to 1914 period, in order to ascertain the ranks and duties of the officers, surveyors, and engineers employed at the Imperial and Royal Military Geographical Institute in Vienna who participated in topographic surveys and later in the making of topographic maps, and whose names are recorded on the maps.
In writing the subject descriptions and contextualisation in regard to the contents of the cartographical depictions, the former German names for certain towns, places, etc. were written using a combination of German and the language spoken in the area presented in the material, taking into account that these were the publications of the Imperial and Royal Military Geographical Institute in Vienna.
The newer topographic maps printed after World War I were professionally processed using a more modern approach, including a simpler subject description that mentions only the titles and nomenclature of the sheets of individual topographic maps. This was done because of the cartographical changes that took place over time, such as the abandonment of obsolete methods of producing cartographical presentations, changes in the way certain relief forms were depicted (cross-hatching was replaced with shading and/or contour lines), toponomastic changes through history, or names and nomenclature that became component parts of every topographic map. More modern topographic maps were not subject to the same methods of description and processing as was the case with the Austrian topographic maps, which were created when topography was still in its infancy.
In order to present and historically contextualise the LI catalogue of the museum collections The Maps of Military Geographical Institutes in the Croatian History Museum, there are plans to supplement it with newly-collected cartographical depictions published by the Imperial and Royal Military Geographical Institute in Vienna and the Military Geographical Institute in Belgrade, and to illustrate it with graphic sheets published by the Viennese Institute that depict the contemporaneous historical events and persons from the Painting, Graphic and Sculpture Collection of the Croatian History Museum, which will contribute to the broader historical contextualisation of this specific material.
List of abbreviations:YPA – Yugoslav People’s Army
ISC – Independent State of Croatia
pp. pages col. – column
u. l. – upper left
l. l. – lower left
u. r. – upper right
l. r. – lower right
ref. no. – reference number
inv. no. – inventory number