The Soviet Atlas as a Source

atlases as a source,
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east of the Urals. The Soviet atlases give arctic climate data that would otherwise be difficult to obtain from overt sources and, although somewhat generalized, is sufficient for the reconstruction of conditions in the Soviet northeast. On all areas it is useful to have information on the separation of climatic zones, the number of frostfree days and days with snow cover in each, the maximum and minimum daily temperatures and amounts of precipitation, and the seasonal paths of cyclones and anticyclones.
Hydrographic information can be gleaned from several sections of an atlas. The general maps can be used for the size and configuration of lakes, rivers, swamps, and bogs, the location of canals and hydroelectric projects, and coastal water relationships. The transportation map will show navigable rivers, or navigable parts of them, and canals. Then the specialized hydrographic map will give the characteristics of the major rivers-perennial water level, velocity of flow, seasonal flood period and area flooded, and hydrochemical classification.
Information on Soviet soils is presented in soil maps in both the national and the regional atlases. The Atlas SSSR identifies sixtyfive distinct soil types. The regional atlases have still more detail, giving for example soil profiles with associated graphics describing composition. Such information is of value in studies of the agricultural potential of particular areas.
The Intelligence End Product
All these kinds of information contribute to the basic encyclopedic store for the maintenance of which geographic intelligence is responsible. Some of it, however, can be put to more immediate use for special purposes. Evasion and survival studies need data on climatic and other characteristics of particular regions, their drainage pattern, the types of vegetation present, the ethnology of the inhabitants, food and water supplies available, and any peculiar environmental hazards, say the presence of wild animals. Atlases are at least a confirmatory and sometimes a unique source for such information.
Other specialized studies that may use atlas information include those seeking to locate possible ICBM sites or underground caves that might be used for nuclear testing. Geographic analysis of the suspected areas would center on the nature of the bedrock there


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Posted: May 08, 2007 08:06 AM
Last Updated: Aug 05, 2011 08:57 AM