I am not a map collector, neither ever thought about preparing a kind of an electronic resource. This all happened once when I understood that my scanned maps, that were to illustrate my lecture, may be interesting for many other people, especially because the originals are hardly available and buried deep in the Russian archives. All the original maps are much more beautiful and colorful, unlike these black-and-white copies.
Well, you should not expect high quality images here for two reasons. We are limited in disk space and I was to reduce the volume of the images to fit the allowed quota. Next, this is done to prevent distribution of the originals. I got the permission only for personal use of my copies for non-profit purposes. This includes the permission to illustrate an academic paper or a lecture but not to distribute them. You should know that the archive conditions in Russia are greatly differ from the Western ones and archive officials have a power to prevent anybody from seeing and copying any document. They are willing to earn as much as they can from their documents (I understand this because they suffer from the terrible underpayment and often work practically for free!). So if they think that I do not follow their conditions I may get into a trouble. If you are going to use even these low quality images for any purpose I beg you to discuss this with me in advance!
I wrote two papers in English on the history of Russian land and forest cadastre and mapping. Some of the facts and explanations concerning these maps may be found there. Russian Cadastral Surveys before and after Peter the Great' is a report at the XX International Congress for the History of Science, Liege, Belgium, 1997. State, Navy and the Origin of Petrine Forest Cadastre is a report at the International Conference "Peter the Great and the West: New Perspectives", Greenwich, UK, July 1998, organized by National Maritime Museum and School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University of London. For the information on Russian archives I recommend the ArcheoBiblioBase: Archives in Russia page. Maybe you would be interested in looking at my personal page.
I would like to acknowledge here the help I received while preparing this collection. Invaluable indeed is the help of Dr. Irina Merzliakova, who spent a lot of time discussing everything related to the history of cartography and historical geography with me and performed scanning, processing and preparing hard copy illustrations and files. Sergei Ryndin, our system administrator, assisted me in every possible way. I would like to thank the Russian Conservation Monitoring Center for the permission to use it's equipment. I am grateful to the staff of Departments of of Manuscripts of Academy of Sciences Library, Russian National Library (and personally to P. A. Medvedev, keeper of the Hermitage collection there), Russian State Navy Archive (Petersburg) for all the help I received while working with their collections and for the kind permission to copy documents.
I am willing to continue this initiative though it depends more from the funding
I will receive for my other projects. This will help me to pay for copying documents
in the archives. I would be grateful for any comments and suggestions you may
have, especially on what else you may like to see here and what is the best
way to organize the
Alexei Karimov, Ph. D.,
Research fellow, Institute for the History of Science and Technology,
Staropansky 1/5, Moscow, 103012 Russia.