General map

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
General map of Central Europe 1: 200,000, sheet 34 ° / 48 ° Vienna from 1893

A topographical overview map has been called a general map since the 19th century . The most common map scale is 1: 200,000, at which the cartographic representation of the terrain can still be fairly detailed. This article also deals with maps of the same type, which did not appear under the name general map , but with other names and which appear today.

Historical general map


Lechtalheiden 1904. Detail of the general map 1: 200,000 of the Franzisco-Josephinische Landesaufnahme

Before 1900, several countries in Europe published maps with this name, u. a. Germany and Austria-Hungary as a general map 1: 200,000. This map series was extended by Austria as a general map of Central Europe (about 300 sheets, each 1 × 1 ° or about 111 × 75 km) even to half of Europe from Nice to Belarus ; Base was the Francisco-Josephinian land survey from 1880 to about 1890. Some states also gave maps at scales of 1: 100,000, 1: 300,000 and 1: 288,000 out, the latter on the former customs and fathoms based -Längenmaß.

In the military field, the term general map was also used for the so-called general staff maps, which had similar map scales.

GD Reymann's special topographic map of Central Europe (1806–1908)

This map did not appear under the name general map, but represents the original form of the modern general map. The map series is the first complete topographic map for all of Central Europe ; It is to be seen as the forerunner of the official topographic overview map 1: 200,000 (TÜK 200) of the Federal Republic of Germany "and also remotely as the predecessor of the German general map of MairDumont ".

In 1806 planning chamber inspector GD Reymann began to create this huge map series. In 1846 Reymann's Special Karte was published by v. C. Flemming taken over. The Prussian Army praised the level of detail. A total of 796 single sheets (34 × 23 cm) for all of Central Europe, from Alençon in Normandy to Minsk in Belarus , were to be completed, which was not implemented for Switzerland and Austria-Hungary .

“The Reymann's Special card is unfortunately quite unknown to cartographers and historians. This is hard to believe in view of Gottfried Reymann's cartographic work and the importance of maps in the 19th century. The maps are very accurate and range from Paris to Minsk. For historians and for genealogy, these maps can be described as one of the most important sources of information of the 19th century. The Prussian military had a great military advantage through Reymann and later Flemming and took over cartography from 1874. "


Modern general map


The modern form of the general map is a combination of a topographic map with a road map and therefore has a much higher information content and a much better quality map than the schematic online road maps .

In Austria, the map series was modernized from around 1950 as the Austrian map ÖK 250 (approx. 20 sheets, sheet cut according to geographical coordinates 1 × 1 °). The publisher is the Federal Office for Metrology and Surveying .

In the national map of Switzerland , the 1: 300,000 scale edition is referred to as the general map .

Important main characteristic: the scale 1: 200,000

However, the main feature of the modern general map, at least in Germany, was the scale 1: 200,000, which is why this scale became synonymous with the term general map . It is of great importance for road maps because only from this size in densely populated areas such as Central Europe does a road map offer enough space to show every village , every hamlet and every side street. One of the few exceptions is, for example, the Westallgäu , with an extremely high density of hamlets, wastelands and “ Grüner Plan roads”, for which even this large scale is no longer sufficient. Recently, this has also been the case for densely built-up cities, mainly in basins ( Stuttgart , Würzburg ), where the increasingly dense network of bypasses and thoroughfares marked in red can no longer be clearly depicted.


ADAC road map Germany from Mittelbach (1930s)

The first map series appeared in the early 1930s as an ADAC road map of Germany in 56 sheets in a modern, present-day map that was ahead of its time. The novel map was produced by the Robert Mittelbach Cartographic Institute in Dresden.

General map of MairDumont (1954–2007)

Under the name Deutsche Generalkarte , this modern format was first published in its present form from 1954 to 1970 in a map series of 31 sheets for Germany by Mairs Geographical Publishing House , which was renamed MairDumont in 2005 . Since 1978 the series has been extended to include the GDR with slightly larger sheets (26 + 8 map sheets). This widespread map series has been published since around 1985, also combined with city ​​maps and tourist information. Coastal regions in the Mediterranean that are popular for tourism have also been recorded. After all, large parts of Europe were covered with separate map series for individual countries, such as Italy with 14 very large-format sheets.

Loss of quality due to computer-based reworking (from 2000)

The maps were initially created as detailed topographical overview maps that were drawn in the conventional way by cartographers . Since around the turn of the millennium, the entire map series has been reworked using computer-based production and has since been available in a somewhat simplified form, with the advantage of being easier to read. However, as with digital production almost everywhere, there were losses in accuracy and reliability, with errors also in terms of being up to date. The maps were created in this now common, simpler production method, only with graphical conversion of the map image and without sufficient (local) geographical knowledge of the processor and on-site inspections.

However, the map is still of a much higher quality than the computer-based maps produced from the start with their only schematic, two-dimensional representations of an online road map, without relief and pronounced topographic map image.


Great upheaval in 2007

2007 saw a major change at MairDumont. The special geographic publisher surprisingly got out of its decades-long core business, the general map on a scale of 1: 200,000, which had shaped German individual tourism to a large extent. MairDumont took over a map series on a scale of 1: 200,000 and other scales from RV-Verlag, part of the Falk publishing group , which had been taken over in 1998 when the RV-Verlag brand was dissolved.

Map series from Marco Polo ("new general map")

Under the Marco Polo brand , under the travel guide previously published by MairDumont , the digitally created map series of the same name has been published in a detailed scale of 1: 200,000 since 2007 (see the section on quality loss due to computer-based reworking ). The map is very simplified in the localities and no longer even reaches the quality of the general maps of the 19th century. On the other hand, it is again very reliable in the connecting roads and paths, even if without a detailed representation, where there were major losses as a result of the digital reworking of the general map. In addition, places worth seeing for tourists are marked in great detail, which previous online maps were unable to do.

To date (2018) the following areas appear on a scale of 1: 200,000: Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, the Czech Republic , Slovakia , Benelux , Denmark as well as parts of northern France, the Croatian coast and some Spanish coasts. The areas of the former general map are now covered again.

Map series of the ADAC

Since the withdrawal from the MairDumont general card, the ADAC has also filled the gap in the market for Germany. He brings out a map that is almost identical to the general map, nameless (only labeled Germany ) as a map set on a scale of 1: 200,000 with 20 maps on ten double sheets. It is also available in the form of an automobile atlas called the ADAC Reiseatlas .

Freytag & Berndt

The Viennese cartographic publisher Freytag & Berndt publishes maps of various holiday regions on a scale of 1: 200,000 or larger, especially of Italy and almost all of the area of ​​the former dual monarchy Austria-Hungary , the focus of the Austrian cartographic institute. The cards do not correspond to the German card image. As is common today, they are computer-based, with a loss of detail. The topography, especially with mountains and mountain ranges, is only partially shown. In contrast to the maps of the ADAC on a scale of 1: 200,000, beautiful landscapes, scenic routes, hiking trails and mountain inns are not marked.


Michelin map No. 66 Dijon from 1940

With the exception of Italy, the tire manufacturer Michelin concentrates on its map-making core area Western Europe for its road maps in detail scales and thus largely did not compete with the general maps of German publishers. The Michelin maps are even more informative than the German map and are particularly valued by connoisseurs because of their great attention to detail.

17 Michelin regional maps are currently being published on a scale of 1: 200,000 for France. In addition, the Pyrenees , Northern Spain, some Spanish coasts and the Balearic Islands are covered, partly on a more detailed scale of 1: 150,000. The maps also appear in the form of auto atlases: for France and Italy on a scale of 1: 200,000, for Benelux on a scale of 1: 150,000 and for Spain / Portugal.

For countries that are not covered by the above publishers, it is often not possible for motorists and motorcyclists who place demands on their trip to find detailed road maps.


  • V. Heissler, G. Hake: Kartographie, Volume I (p. 167-214) and Volume II (p. 76ff, 187ff). Göschen Collection, de Gruyter, Berlin 1970.
  • Johannes Frischauf : Basics of land survey and cartography. K. Wittwer, Vienna / Stuttgart 1913.
  • The general map - Germany. Mairs Geogr. Verlag, Ostfildern 1982–1995.
  • Ingrid Kretschmer: Atlantes Austriaci. Volume 2, 1919–1994, Böhler-Verlag, Vienna / Cologne 1995.

Individual evidence

  1. a b GD Reymann's Topographical Special Map of Central Europe (1806–1908) 1: 200,000. Retrieved April 10, 2018 .
  2. Map excerpt from the ADAC road map M = 1: 200,000, successor to the German general map published by MairDumont until 2007. Retrieved April 12, 2018 .
  3. ^ ADAC road map of Germany in the 1930s. Retrieved April 10, 2018 .
  4. Michelin Travel Partner (Firm),: España & Portugal: atlas de carreteras y turístico = atlas rodoviário e turístico = atlas routier et touristique = tourist and motoring atlas = road and resis atlas = toeristic route atlas. Retrieved October 27, 2018 .