2.2. Activities of new cartographic formations

As we already reported in Bournemouth the big social and political changes in Hungary resulted also stormy changes in all fields of cartography. We have now more than 100 organizations actively working in different directions: production, publishing and selling of maps. Also the "old" (state owned) institutions, companies and firms have developed brand new activities and branches, but in this part of our report we try to give some information about the new formations.

As we mentioned earlier we have a lot of cartographical organizations in all parts of the country and apart from them nearly all traditional book publishers, surveyors and advertising agencies are now producing and publishing maps and other map-related products. That is why we can not characterize each organization, but only try to describe the most important lines in their products and the technical trends to be observed. The financing of these new cartographical organizations and the ownership might also be interesting for the international public, that is why we light out some important things also in this field.

Some of the new cartographic firms are owned (50 % or more) by well known foreign firms and we can observe two very different directions. There are companies owned by foreigners, which have the main goal to distribute in Hungary their internationally accepted products. E.g. Officina Nova (Bertelsmann) has published (among others) the biggest scale maps and atlas of Budapest and Hungary based on RV originals. Also the Hungarian lettered World Atlas and different encyclopaedia of RV can be mentioned.
The same way Stiefel Ltd. has been distributing in Hungary for more than 3 years already the laminating services, the wall maps and charts, which have brought them the success in Germany and in other German speaking countries.

To tell the truth all we have avaited after the social changes a massive invasion of big foreign cartographic firms into the Hungarian market (like all international petrol companies have done it). But none of the well known firms (like Hallwag, Kümmerly, Michelin, Bartholomew etc.) have built up an own distribution organizations. The only thing we can report about is the foundation of Cartographia-Navigator Ltd, which is the sole agent in Hungary for Freytag, Ravenstein, Falk and Raethgloben.

Another part of foreign owned firms (the so called 'paid work enterprises') uses the skills and capacities of Hungarian cartographers to produce maps of their home country or for the international cartographic publishers. E. g. Katicom Ltd. (Huber Kartographie München) has produced a lot of all kind of maps (first of all many hundreds of German city maps, wall maps, advertisement maps) since its foundation in 1990.

There are some companies with foreign owners mixing the above described activities. They let produce maps in Hungary for export and the same time they are trying to spread their services in Hungary. Euroverlag and CartoStadt (Staedte Verlag) are the most characteristic representatives of this type of firms and both of them are producing and publishing city maps and regional maps with advertisements.

Exactly this type of product was most characteristic for the new cartographic firms in the whole period to be reported. Nearly all Hungarian owned private organisations started their life with such city and community maps, because there was a fully unsatisfied market and these maps could be produced the most quickly and simply regarding technology.

Some of these new companies are owned by former employees of the big state enterprises (e. g. DIMAP, SOLLUN, GEOMETRIA, INFO-GRAPH, KART & TEXT, NYÍR-KARTA etc.). Another big part of the map making and distributing firms were founded by (first of all very young) cartographers, engineers and other specialists coming from the most different industries (TOP-O-GRÁF, TECHNO-GLOBUS, PAULUS, KÓDEX, HISZI, WELL etc.)
Thanks to the activity of these smaller and bigger cartographic firms we can report, that the market of city and town maps has became now like in any developed country: for several county seats we have up to 7 maps of different scale, content, quality and price.

Taking into consideration the "overcrowded market" of the city and community maps the new private cartographic firms (like the state owned ones) are changing their course to the tourist maps, county maps, regional maps and bigger scale road maps of the whole country. HISZI and DIMAP have developed a new series of all counties at scale 1:200.000. FRIGORIA has published a series of biking guides with detailed maps of Hungary and its parts. Maps for water sport and other thematic maps are also published (e.g. Postal area codes map of STIEFEL and TOP-O-GRÁF, facsimile reprints of N.L. publishing, Transylvania and Slovakia with old historical names by DIMAP etc.)

The best selling titles in Hungary are also the road maps and of atlases of Hungary of the Budapest. These cartographic publications need bigger financial efforts. That is why the new formations could start with these products only some years after their foundation. But now there are several firms working on road atlases of Hungary, larger scale maps and atlases of Budapest.

These new titles will be produced mainly by computers, although the traditional cartography using astralon and other foils has still firm positions (SOLLUN, CartoStadt, GiziMap etc.). Some new organisations are using computer aided cartography for all their products (like TOP-O-GRÁF or Zéta-Sport), but some others are at home in both fields (DIMAP, TÉRKÉP STUDIO, KART & TEXT etc.).

Besides printed maps more and more maps and map related products are made for PC-s. There not too much CD-drives in Hungary, that is why the first Hungarian lettered World map (or atlas) is a very simple one and it is produced on a disk, which can be used by all PC-s. Several years from now however, normal CD-maps will be also be used widely in Hungary.

There are a number of different digital maps available for the whole country and for a lot of cities. It is very characteristic, that these very expensive products have been produced in co-operation between private firms (like INFO-GRAPH, GEOMETRIA, TOPOLISZ etc.) and the state land surveying authorities or the military cartographic services.

Most of the private cartographic firms in Hungary produce and publish maps on Hungary, but GiziMap has specialized itself on the new countries in Eastern Europe (Estonia, Ukraine, Latvia, Macedonia, Caucasus, etc.).

The specialized map shops and map distributing firms are very important in our cartographic life. Formerly we had only two map shops and no special distributor for maps. During the period to be reported we have got map shops not only in Budapest, but also in some smaller cities. The big book shops, stationeries, filling stations have a wide range of Hungarian and imported maps all over the country thanks to the activity of the following distributors: Cartographia-Navigator, FAVORIT, HISZI, KÓDEX, NYÍR-KARTA, SA-SZI, TÉRKÉPKER AND TÉRKÉPSKÁLA.

András Szarvas,
Szarvas Cartographic Agency

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