Austrian Military Surveys

1st Austrian Military Survey

After losing the seven-year war (1756-1768) where mainly Müller maps were used, the empress Maria Theresa ordered a new detailed survey of Austrian monarchy. The whole territory of Habsburg monarchy was surveyed in a relatively short period of 23 years (1763-1785). This survey is often called Joseph's survey because it was finished during the reign of Maria Theresa's son, Joseph II. Medium scale of 1:28 800 was used. The whole territory of the Czech lands was surveyed in 1763-1768. Müller maps enlarged to scale 1:28 800 served as a basis. This basis was not efficient due to lack of its precision. The landscape was surveyed by military officers by estimation and the surveying table was used minimally. Nevertheless, the map contained all important topography elements. The altitude was represented by hatches. Here is an example how such map looked like.

Besides of the maps, military geographical descriptions of the territory were created. The territory of Bohemia is covered by 273 map sheets and 19 volumes with description, Morava is covered by 126 map sheets and 4 volumes, and Silesia is covered by 40 map sheets. Due to the errors on the maps that became obvious during wars with Prussia in 1778-1779, correction of the most important (northern) map sheets was undertaken. This correction revealed neccessity of completely new survey. During 1779-1783 141 new map sheets were created (and 2 corrected) in Bohemia, 36 map sheets (and 4 corrected) in Moravia, and 30 map sheets (and 10 corrected) in Silesia.

Because of the lack of geodetic basis, maps from the 1st Austrian military survey can be rectified only very roughly. Transformation into S-JTSK was undertaken at Laboratory of Geoinformatics, University of J.E. Purkyně in Ústí nad Labem. The positional errors ranged between 400 and 700 m, depending on the terrain and the period of survey. Few attempts were also undertaken at the Department of GIS Applications, Silva Tarouca Research Institute for Landscape and Ornamental Gardening, pub. res. inst. The positional error for Moravia ranged betwen 500 and 800 m. Furthermore, a substantial deformation of the features depicted in the maps was recorded. Thus these maps cannot be used in quantitative analyses of land use changes. However, they can be a valuable source for approximate evaluation of land use, e.g. for verification of larger pond systems or floodplain forests and meadows.

Maps from the 1st Austrian military survey covering the territory of Czech lands were obtained in a digital form within cooperation with Laboratory of Geoinformatics, University of J.E. Purkyně in Ústí nad Labem. To view the source data, click here.

2nd Austrian military survey

Insufficient quality of maps from the 1st Austrian military survey led to initialization of a new survey. Maps from this survey had to be based on a continuous astronomical-trigonometric network enabling more precise survey. Construction of this network was initiated in 1806 during the reign of Francis I. This trigonometric survey used coordinate system in transverse cylindrical projection with equidistant cartogaphic meridians (Cassini-Soldner). The survey (also called Franciscean) was done with the help of survey table and the scale was set to 1:2880. These maps from so called stabile cadastre were subsequently transformed into the 1:28 800 scale. Survey of Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia was undertaken in 1836-1852. Bohemia was covered by 267 map sheets, Moravia and Silesia by 146 map sheets. The maps were very precise. All important topographic elements were captured. The altitude was represented by Lehmann hatches and spot heights in trigonometric points. Maps from this survey represent the oldest source usable for detailed research of land use development in the GIS environment.

Original of the map can be viewed here.

Maps covering the teritory of Czech lands were obtained in digital form from Laboratory of Geoinformatics, University of J.E. Purkyně in Ústí nad Labem. They were rectified at the department of Geomatics, University of West Bohemia in Pilsen. Rectification was done in programme MATKART developed at Czech Technical University in Prague. Mean positional error was approximately 11 m.

Unfortunately maps from this survey do not completely cover the whole territory of the Czech Republic as can be seen in this picture. Originally, regions in the south, which were part of Lower Austria at the time of the survey, were missing. Maps covering these regions were subsituted by maps from this part of Habsburg monarchy. Also a map sheet covering Brno was missing but it was replaced by black and white copy of a more detailed survey at a scale 1:14 400 (Brno).

Maps from former Prussia from 1825 at a scale 1:25 000 served as a basis for region in the northeastern Moravia, i.e. region that was not part of the Habsburg monarchy.

Source maps from 2nd Austrian military survey are available at http://oldmas.geolab.cz, also at a map server http://geoportal.cenia.cz, or public map browser at www.mapy.cz

3rd Austrian military survey

Not very good experience with the maps from 2nd Austrian military survey in Prussian-Austrian and also industrial development lead to the initiation of the 3rd Austrian military survey (so called Francisco-Josephean). The scale was set to 1:25 000. Beside very precise topography, the elevation data were expressed by spot heights, hatches and contour lines in the interval 20 m and somewhere also 10 m. A new projection was used - Samson-Flamsteed polyhedron projection based upon Bessel ellipsoid. The survey of our territory was undertaken between 1874 and 1880. The contour lines were not very precise. Nevertheless, this survey is very significant because it was used in both world wars and it was the only map set covering the whole territory of Czechoslovakia until 1953. Moreover, it belongs to one of the best information sources about landscape during industrialization at the end of the 19th century.

Original of the maps can be viewed here, their black and white copy here.

Maps were obtained in analogue form from Map collection at Faculty of Science, Charles University in Prague, Institute of Geonics, Czech Science Academy, pub.res. inst., Department of Geography at Faculty of Science, Masaryk University and Czech office for surveying, mapping and cadastre. They were scanned at the Department of GIS Applications, Silva Tarouca research institute for landscape and ornamental gardening, pub. res. inst. (formerly part of Nature conservation agency).

Maps were rectified with the help of MATKART programme at the department of Geomatics, Univesity of West Bohemia in Pilsen. Mean topological error in Bohemia was ca. 30 m; in Moravia, however, it was up to 120 m. Thus map sheets with the topological error larger than 50 m were repeatedly rectified with the help of ArcGIS Programme. Topological error after this rectification ranged between 10 and 20 m.

Parts of original maps form 3rd Austrian military survey can be viewed at the webpages oldmaps.geolab.cz and ČÚZK.

Also these maps do not cover the whole territory of the Czech Republic (coverage) - Hlučínsko is again a problematic region. However, it was possible to obtain maps from prussian military survey (example) that are at the same scale (1:25 000) and from approximatelly same period (1882-1884).


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