Patrick R. Galloway








Galloway Topographic Map Atlases Digital Versions

High quality, detailed topographic maps in digital format are now available for the entire eastern Mediterranean: Albania, Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, Iraq, Kuwait, Iran, and Egypt. These digital maps are scans of the excellent paper maps made for the Army General Staff of the Soviet Union in the 1980s and early 1990s. The maps are particularly suitable for institutions, libraries, geologists, geographers, surveyors, archaeologists, expeditions, media, historians, travelers, explorers, and hikers. Each map comes with latitude and longitude scales, distance scale, and elevation contours, making them ideal for GPS use. Included in each atlas are the Soviet topographic maps, a 104 page technical manual in English explaining the over 750 Soviet topographic map symbols, a gazetteer, and a set of U.S. and U.K. military TPC (Tactical Pilotage Chart) topographic maps for each country. You get the best land maps and the best aeronautical maps in one package. The set of paper maps for Greece alone weighs about 50 pounds (23 kg). In digital form on a SD card they weigh almost nothing, and are much easier to access than paper.

Ithaki village and Perakhorion village on Ithaka Island.  This is a small portion of a page from the Greece 1:50,000 atlas.  This may take 30 seconds or so to download if you are using a dial-up connection.

Ithaka village and Perakhorion village on Ithaka Island, Greece.
This is a small portion of a page from the
Greece 1:50,000 atlas.
The grid overlay shows 1 km squares.

As a service to those interested in detailed high quality topographic maps, Patrick R. Galloway provides the following:

Albania 1:50,000
Greece 1:50,000
Turkey 1:100,000
Cyprus 1:200,000
Syria 1:100,000 (central desert 1:200,000)
Lebanon 1:100,000
Israel, Gaza Strip, West Bank, and Golan Heights 1:50,000
Jordan and West Bank 1:100,000
Iraq 1:100,000
Iraq 1:200,000
Kuwait 1:100,000
Iran 1:200,000
Egypt 1:200,000

Extraordinary accuracy
The Soviet topographic maps in the atlases are formerly classified Top Secret Soviet Army General Staff maps. They are the best, and for some countries the only, detailed topographic maps available. The maps show many features, including airfields, fuel storage tanks, dams, ruins, caves, chapels, bridges, roads, trails, and built-up areas. The maps display over 750 different topographic features, just about anything you can think of that would be of use to a Soviet field general. Each map also has a latitude scale, longitude scale, distance scale, elevation contour lines, and spot elevation heights.

To see an image which compares a Soviet topographic map from the Greece 1:50,000 atlas with a NASA satellite photograph of Athens Hellenikon Airport and nearby waterfront, click here (287 Kb jpg). The overlay grid on the Soviet map shows 1 km squares. Note the accurately mapped airport layout, and the details of the waterfront, with all its harbors, coves, and major buildings.

To see the area northwest of the summit of Mount Ararat in Turkey, click here (192 Kb jpg). The Soviet map is from the Turkey 1:100,000 atlas. The overlay grid shows 2 km squares. The satellite photo is taken from a somewhat oblique angle. Note the cliff and circular formations to the northwest, the peak to the southeast, and the various spot elevations. The map shows a trail running from northeast to southwest.

To see Kharg Island, Iran, click here (88 Kb jpg). The Soviet map is from the Iran 1:200,000 atlas. The overlay grid shows 4 km squares. The piers, fuel storage tanks, western cliffs, airfield, the built-up area to the northeast, and the highest elevation (87 meters) are clearly shown on the map. The 1:200,000 scale is the least detailed scale of the atlases, but it still shows plenty of detail.


The only software needed to view the atlases is a browser and a pdf reader.

You will also need an SD card slot on your computer. No files are written to your hard drive when you run the atlas off your SD card. You have the option of loading the atlas files to your hard drive if you like.

Each Galloway Topographic Map Atlas Digital Version includes

  • Key map. This shows the entire country.
  • TPC maps. A TPC map always shows an area one degree latitude by one degree longitude. It is always at a scale of 1:500,000. The base maps for the TPC maps are United States and United Kingdom Tactical Pilotage Chart maps.
  • Soviet topographic maps. The scales vary from 1:50,000 to 1:200,000 depending on country.
  • Cyrillic to English transliteration table.  Names on Soviet topographic maps are printed in the Cyrillic alphabet.  A transliteration table which gives the sounds of the Cyrillic alphabet is included.  You don't have to know anything about the Russian language to read the place names.  You only need to know the sounds of the Cyrillic alphabet. Many of the letters have the same sound as in English. Names of important places and features are shown in English on the TPC maps. You can look at a Soviet map and its corresponding TPC map at the same time.
  • U.S. Army Technical Manual TM 30-548 Soviet Topographic Map Symbols.  This 104 page manual describes in English over 750 different Soviet topographic map symbols. 
  • Gazetteer. The Gazetteer shows place name, designation (town, river, mountain, ruin, etc.), province, latitude and longitude in degrees, minutes, and seconds.

Galloway topographic map digital atlases work like paper atlases, but with many more features than paper atlases. You use a key map to take you to more detailed maps. Instead of turning pages to get to the more detailed maps as in a book, with a digital atlas you simply click on the area of interest. Furthermore, with a digital atlas you can have multiple pages open at the same time, you can zoom in and out, and because the whole atlas is on one SD card, it weighs practically nothing.

To use the atlas,
click on the area that you are interested in on the Key map. This zooms you into a TPC map. Then click on the area you are interested in on the TPC map. This zooms you into a Soviet topographic map. If you do not know where a place is, you can use the Gazetteer. The samples explain how to use the gazetteer with the maps.

These files are taken directly from the atlases. The Key map and TPC map are gif files about one megabyte each, and the Soviet topographic maps are pdf files about two megabytes each. It's best to have a fast internet connection, or some patience. Note that responses using the purchased disc in your disc drive will be almost instantaneous. Click anywhere it says "Click here" in red. These are the features that have been activated in the sample files. Click on the "Introduction" button on the first screen you see if you want to learn more about the maps and how to use them. Each file will open into its own window. Resize the Soviet maps, open windows, close windows, compare the Soviet maps to the TPC maps.

The area around Khalkis, Greece from the Galloway Topographic Map Atlas of Greece 1:50,000 Digital Version. Includes four of the 1,931 Soviet topographic map pages found in the atlas.

The area around Izmir, Turkey from the Galloway Topographic Map Atlas of Turkey 1:100,000 Digital Version. Includes four of the 2,223 Soviet topographic map pages found in the atlas.

Image details
The TPC maps included in each atlas cover the entire country, all land and all water. The Soviet maps cover land area and water adjacent to land, as shown in the above samples. Because an image can be scanned in many different of ways (depending on coloring, brightness, gamma, sharpening, and other factors), each scanned image is unique. Efforts have been made to present the images in the atlases in a manner that is both informative and aesthetically interesting.

Image quality
Galloway Topographic Map Atlas digital maps are high quality raster image files scanned from the actual paper maps, not the poorer quality vector image or jpg files that are distributed by some digital map vendors. Map scans from other companies and institutions often have unwanted lines running through them, the images are not in focus, or the map is misplaced on the scanner, resulting in off-center and misaligned images. Often the compression method blurs the details. All Galloway Topographic Map Atlas images are high quality, high resolution scans. Look at the image of the area around Ithaka village on this page, or look at the samples.

Of special interest to archaeologists, and others
TPC maps are used as base maps for most of the maps in the Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World (2000), ed., R.J.A. Talbert. As a consequence, it is easy to find the locations of the Barrington Atlas ancient sites on both the TPC maps and the associated detailed Soviet maps included in each Galloway Topographic Map Atlas. Because the Soviet topographic maps are zoomable to nearly any size, they are informative when used together with a site plan, so that the site may be viewed within a broader geographic context. Every page in a Galloway Topographic Map Atlas has latitude and longitude scales, so it is possible to precisely pinpoint any location.

Detailed descriptions
Click here.

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Copyright Patrick R. Galloway