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Narodowy Atlas Polski

Stanislaw Leszczycki
Polska Akademia Nauk, Instytut Geografii

Full title

Poland has not had a national atlas so far, even though the polish cartography reached a high European level already in the interwar period. The forerunner of the Polish national atlas should be the Geographical and Statistical Atlas of Poland developed by E. Romeral, first published in 1916. In the interwar period, the Central Statistical Office issued in 1930 the atlas of the Republic of Poland, a statistical atlas reissued in during the war in London. After the war, further attempts were made. In 1947, Maly atlas Polski, compiled by J. Kondracki, was published, and in the years 1947-1948, two volumes of the atlas Study of the national plan, edited by J. Chmielewski, were published. K. Dziewoński and B. Malisz. The most serious attempt to develop and publish a national atlas-type work was made by the then Central Office of Geodesy and Cartography, publishing four issues (24 maps) of the Atlas of Poland in the years 1953-1956. This publication was unfortunately interrupted due to publishing difficulties. Only the establishment of the Institute of Geography (currently the Institute of Geography and Spatial Development) of the Polish Academy of Sciences created real grounds for undertaking extensive work on the national atlas.

The development of the National atlas of Poland has gone through various stages of development. Initial preparatory work began as early as 1959, but the establishment of the Editorial Committee in 1960 should be considered the appropriate moment to begin work on the atlas. This committee, with several changes, operated until the publication was completed. Based on the general concept and preliminary model adopted by the Editorial Committee, they began to prepare atlas maps showing the state in 1960, partially updated according to data from 1965. A complete set of editorial outlines was ready in 1968, but further work was suspended due to difficulties related to publication possibilities. It was not until 1971 that the publishing matters were finalized. Based on the decision of the Scientific Secretary of the Polish Academy of Sciences of December 30, 1971, the publication of the National atlas of Poland was undertaken by the National Institute Ossolińscy, Publishing House of the Polish Academy of Sciences. The issue of fully updating the atlas according to data from 1970 became obvious.

Most of the maps were developed completely from scratch, but the previous concept of the work as a whole was maintained. The atlas maps include many original works that have not been published anywhere before. ATLAS was developed in the Cartography Laboratory of the Institute of Geography of the Polish Academy of Sciences with extensive participation of representatives of all departments of geography and specialists from other fields of science. The reproduction of the atlas was undertaken by the Military Cartographic Works in Warsaw.

The general concept of the Narodowy Atlas Polski is based on five main assumptions:

  1. The atlas gives a comprehensive picture of Poland, both in terms of knowledge about the natural environment and socio-economic development.
  2. The atlas presents Poland at a specific moment, namely around 1970. Therefore, it basically does not include historical maps, with some exceptions that facilitate the understanding of the presented phenomena.
  3. The atlas is a scientific publication and therefore all maps are filled with the names of the authors who are substantively responsible for them knowledgeable.
  4. The atlas is a solely cartographic publication. Therefore, it does not include monographic texts on the presented phenomena. The Editorial Committee assumed that such texts become outdated much faster than the cartographic image. Relevant detailed information can be found in currently published textbooks, statistics and monographs.
  5. The atlas serves as a scientific and research tool, and at the same time is a source of information for wide circles of society. The arrangement of its content, the way of presenting individual issues, as well as the editorial solution were subordinated to this double role of the atlas. 

The 127 foldout sheets contain over 500 individual maps and are divided into following 14 sections:

  1. General issues (25 maps on 11 pages)
  2. Geological structure and landscape ( 9 maps on 6 pages)
  3. Climate (12 pages)
  4. Water (15 maps and 10 diagrams on 4 pages)
  5. Soil, flora and fauna (17 maps on 6 pages)
  6. Physical and Geographical Structure (3 maps on 2 pages)
  7. Population (46 maps on 12 pages)
  8. Settlement (34 maps on 9 pages)
  9. Structure of the national economy (44 maps on 3 pages)
  10. Agriculture, forestry and fishing (115 maps on 22 pages)
  11. Mining and industry (61 maps on 18 pages)
  12. Communication and connection (40 maps on 11 pages)
  13. Trade (11 maps on 4 pages)
  14. Socio-cultural issues (78 maps on 9 pages)

The atlas also contains a plastic transparent overlay sheet with administrative boundaries in 4 most commonly used map scales (1:2 000 000, 1:4 000 000, 1: 6 000 000 and 1:8 000 000).


Very good condition, with very little signs of use.

Over 500 maps on 127 foldout sheets
Width × Height
32,5 x 40,5
Total map area
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