Following the political changes in Eastern Europe at the end of the 1980s, the organization and availability of Polish mapping has changed radically and is still evolving. Prior to that time, two government organizations worked cooperatively to produce topographic mapping: the Polish Army Cartographic Service and the civilian Glówny Urzad Geodezji i Kartografii (GUGiK). The state commercial publishing organization is, Polskie Przedsiebiorstwo Wydawnictw Kartograficznych (PPWK).

In 1987, GUGiK was abolished and civilian governmental mapping was put initially under the control of the Ministry of Physical Planning and Construction. In 1989 a new National Geodetic and Cartographic Service was created under the Department of the Surveyor General (Glówny Geodetu Kraju (GGK)), and in 1991, a Center for Geodetic and Cartographic Documentation (Centralny Osrodek Documentacji Geodezynej I Kartograficznej) was established. Further restructuring took place in 1997 with the re-establishment of a Head Office of Geodesy and Cartography, and new administrative reforms introduced in 1999 will lead to a decentralization of official map production. Meanwhile the military survey, Wojskowe Zaklady Kartograficzne (WZK) has continued to provide topographic and thematic maps for the armed forces, but also now publishes maps designed for civilian use.

The Polish military survey, established in 1919, was reorganized after World War II, and a new topographic mapping programme was initiated in 1952, conforming to the Soviet-1942 specification (Krassovsky ellipsoid, Kronstadt datum) used by all the Eastern bloc countries at that time. A new primary triangulation and levelling program was also undertaken and completed in the 1960s. Military map series were published at scales of 1:25,000, 1:50,000, 1:100,000 and 1:200,000, using sheet lines derived from the International map of the World. From 1955, a more detailed survey at 1:10,000 scale (or 1:5,000 for some areas) was also begun. Civilian mapping had meanwhile been produced at scales of 1:25,000 and 1:100,000. In 1976, this was superseded by new mapping using the 1965 state coordinate system, and series were produced at scales of 1:10,000, 1:25,000 and 1:50,000, but they were based on five projection zones, each with its own meridian which introduced problems of edge matching between zones. Consequently, in the late 1970s a new uniform mapping system was adopted, the GUGiK-1980 system, on a quasi-stereographic projection. A 1:100,000 scale series was completed using this system.

Following the reorganization of the national mapping enterprise in the late 1980s, new printings were made of the existing topographic series. However, they had become rather out-of-date, and in the 1990s, new and revised mapping has began to appear. GGK is responsible for the basic-scale 1:10,000 topo-cadastral map, and currently a redesigned version of this map is being issued, with a 10-year program for its completion in 16,140 sheets. By 1999, about 1,000 sheets had been issued. There is a two-color planning version of this map, while the full four-color version provides a wealth of information including much land use detail.

A new 1:50,000 scale topographic series was initiated in 1993, and the first sheet were issued in 1995. It is derived from the 1:10,000 scale map and is designed for civilian use. The legend is in Polish and English, and the map is on the National Geodetic Coordinate System PSWG ’92. Sheets each cover 10′ latitude by 15′ longitude, and are printed in six or seven colors. There is a 10 m contour interval. This edition will eventually total 1,080 sheets.

A new tourist edition began production in 1993, published by WZK, and was completed by the end of 1999. This edition is in 151 double-quad sheets with the sheet numbering paired. Sheets include tourism symbols and have a touring guide on the reverse side. Another tourist series at this scale is published by PPWK.

At 1:200,000 scale, there is a complete cover of Poland in a civilian edition of the 1942-system military mapping, printed in the late 1980s. This map is in four colors with a 20 m contour interval and sheets have been designed with an integral cover. A six-sheet general map at 1:500,000 was derived from the 1:100,000 scale map prepared by the Institute of Geography and Spatial Organization of the Polish Academy of Sciences. It is also incorporated in the Polish national atlas.

The 1:50,000 scale topographic series is used as a base map for a new Mapa sozologiczna, showing areas of contaminated land and point pollution sources, as well as protected landscapes. It also forms the base of a new series of hydrological maps, Mapa hydrograficzna, which show land use and surface and subsurface water features. Both series replace earlier series issued in the 1980s.

Other small scale maps published under the auspices of GGK include administrative and aeronautical maps.

Soviet military topographic mapping of Poland exists at the following scales: 1:1,000,000 (5 sheets, complete coverage, published 1979-1990); 1:500,000 (16 sheets, complete coverage, published 1978-1990); 1:200,000 (86 sheets, complete coverage, published 1965-1995); 1:100,000 (287 sheets, complete coverage, published 1976-1993); 1:50,000 (1,069 sheets, complete coverage, published 1975-1995) and city (1:10,000 to 1:25,000) topographic mapping of 25 major cities from Biala to Zielona Gora published between 1965 and 1998. These products are available in print, digital raster and digital vector GIS formats from East View Geospatial.

The United Nations GRID-Warsaw office serves Poland and Eastern Europe, and has developed a digital data set for the Polish Ministry of the Environment, derived from the 1:100,000 scale topographic map, and a number of smaller scale databases. It is also working on an international digital mapping project covering the Baltic Sea Basin. GRID-Warsaw has cooperated with the Institute of Geodesy and Cartography (Instytut Geodezji i Kartografii (IGiK)) on the production of maps for the CORINE Land Cover project and on a derived map of the forests of Poland. The 1:100,000 scale CORINE land cover maps were completed in digital form in 1995.

Earth science mapping is undertaken by the Polish Institute of Geology (Panstwowy Instytut Geologiczny (PGI)), Warsaw, founded in 1919. Its remit includes geological, geophysical and geochemical mapping of the country, assessment of mineral resources, evaluation of groundwater resources, and the investigation of soil and water pollution problems. There is a huge output of mapping. The basic geological series is a 1:50,000 scale Detailed geological map of Poland (Szczególowa mapa geologiczna Polski), with a projected 1,025 sheets in the series. Much of this mapping is sub-contracted to other institutions, including the Polish Academy of Sciences and the universities. Map specifications were revised in 1996 to improve the map’s suitability for a digital format. There is also a 1:200,000 scale series which covers the whole country in 77 sheets. PGI has published numerous earth science atlases, both national and regional, and a series of geological maps of the Baltic seabed at 1:200,000 is in progress. New 1:50,000 scale geological-economic and hydrogeological map series were introduced in the 1990s.

Poland has a strong tradition of geomorphological mapping, and much detailed mapping at 1:25,000 scale was carried out from the 1950s by Polish university departments. This work is summarized in a 1:500,000 scale geomorphological map edited by L. Starkel and published in a new edition in 1995 by IGiPZ.

Soil and land capability mapping has been carried out by the Instytut Uprawy Nawozenia i Gleboznawstwa (IUNG), Pulawy, and a series of mainly 1:100,000 scale soil-agricultural maps cover 49 voivodships. These are issued in sets with an explanatory text for each voivodship. There is also an earlier atlas of soil at 1:300,000 scale and some small-scale agro-climatic maps. Other publications include a recent Climatic atlas of limiting factors for agriculture in Poland.

Climatic data is collected by the Instytut Meteorologii i Gospodarki Wodnej (IMGW). A climatic atlas of Poland was published in 1973, and a hydrological atlas published in 1987.

Several state map publishing houses have been privatized. PPWK was formerly the principal state cartographic publishing house, established in 1951 with its head office in Warsaw and its production plant in Wraclaw. In 1991, it was converted to a public company, Polskie Przedsiebiorstwo Wydawnictw Kartograficznych S.A. (PPWK), known in English as the Romer Polish Cartographic Publishing House. It is now in competition with many new commercial publishing houses as well as with the products of the military mapping authority, but continues to hold a significant share of the domestic cartographic market. Its products include general, educational and road atlases, wall and plastic relief maps, street maps of Polish and other European cities, motoring maps of Poland and other countries, and more detailed recreational maps within Poland.

Polskiej Wydawictwo Kartograficzne (PWK) is a regional geodetic and mapping enterprise located at Katowice. Following privatization, the organization has been much reduced in size. It has published administrative-topographic maps of the 15 regions (wojewodztw) of southern Poland, and has recently begun to produce tourist and town maps.

A Department of Cartography was established within the Institute of Geography and Spatial Organization of the Polish Academy of Sciences (Instytut Geografii i Przestrzennego Zagospodarowania PAN (IGiPZ)) in 1953, and in 1994 this was merged with the Laboratory of Geographical Information Systems. Among its most recent activities has been a leading role in the production of the new national atlas, Atlas Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej, issued during the 1990s, and taking advantage of the improved availability of statistical data following Poland’s changed political position. This supersedes the earlier atlas of 1978. The atlas was issued progressively to form four thematic parts, covering respectively ‘Country, territory and organization’, ‘Natural environment’, ‘Society’, and ‘Economy’. It comprises a boxed set of loose folios with texts presented in English as well as Polish, and a hardcover companion volume containing general information and an index of place names. IGiPZ provided the conceptualization, editing, and coordination of contributions to this work, while the maps were prepared by PPWK and by the Cartography and Geographical Information Systems Laboratory with the assistance of GRID-Warsaw. IGiPZ has also developed its own AVISO geographical information system and this is to be adapted for use in an interactive digital atlas of Poland, for which plans are in preparation. Other IGiPZ projects include a map of potential natural vegetation in 12 sheets, which has been compiled from 1:100,000 scale field surveys, and an Atlas of resources, values and degradation of Poland’s environment.

Since 1994, a large number of electronic atlases and route planners have been produced by Polish software and mapping companies, covering both Poland and beyond. Some are designed for school use, and other for home and business. The Atlas Polski, published in 1997, includes vector-format reference maps, and 27 thematic maps stored in raster format. Another significant product is the Mapa Polski 98 z Ksiazka Telefoniczna, which combines a business phone directory with maps and route planning software.

Following downsizing and privatization of the governmental mapping industry, many new, independent publishing houses have been established in recent years. Most produce street maps of cities and regional tourist maps. Wydawnictwo Kartograficzne Witanski have produced a number of such maps, as have JoKart, BAKS, Wydawnictwo Kartograficzne Eko-Graf (Eko-Graf) and Daunpol. Terra Nostra produces panorama maps of Polish cities. Maplan has undertaken cadastral mapping.

A number of overseas publishers also produce tourist maps and motoring atlases of Poland, including Michelin, Cartographia, Reise- undVerkehrsverlag (RV), Kummerly + Frey (K+F), Freytag-Berndt (FB), Hallwag and Falk.

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