3.3. Cartographic Activities at the Geographical Research Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (MTA FKI)

MTA FKI is an important workshop of Hungarian thematic mapping. As such it is also a significant user of maps as it adds its thematic content to existing (topographic, geological) maps. The cartographic presentation of research results forms the most important responsibility of the Cartographic Department, although similar works are being done at other departments of the Institute, too. Other duties of the Cartographic Department include the edition of publications (like the cartographically well illustrated periodical of the Institute, the Geographical Bulletin, and other professional books).

Of the complex map works prepared by the Institute in earlier times the Geomorphologic Map of Hungary (1:500,000, 1972), the Loess Map (1:1,250,000, 1983), and among synthetic maps, the Village Types of Hungary (1:2,500,000, 1982) should be mentioned. Research workers of the Institute took part in the scientific preparation and editing of maps of the 1st edition of the National Atlas of Hungary (1967), while - with similar editing works - MTA FKI co-ordinated the activities of the 2nd edition (1989). The database constructed for the affected area of the earlier planned Gabíkovo-Nagymaros barrage complex may be regarded as one of the first attempts at computer-assisted cartography. Participation in the works of the Atlas of Danubian Countries (sheets of geomorphology and hydrology, 1970-1989) was a good example of international co-operation.

Activities between 1991-94 were partly characterized by the continuation of earlier works by traditional techniques, but partly also by the emergence of new projects done by new methods.

Works on the National Atlas of Hungary have continued; several new sheets were published as a supplementary series. Editing and fair drawing of 8 double sheets were entirely done by computer at the Cartographic Department, scanning and printing were done by Cartographia Ltd. (a separate chapter of this volume is devoted entirely to the National Atlas).

Cartographic works of the project on cultivation potentials of major crop cultures, began in the early '80s, have been continuing, along with those of agroecologic zoning (mapping of the area of Transdanubia was completed in the early 1990s). The programme, initially running on Commodore computers, was later adapted for ARC/Info GIS and more recent agropotential studies (Pest and Bács-Kiskun counties) were done by this method.

As part of the project to monitor the vicinity of the Paks nuclear power plant the Geomorphologic Department has produced a map of geomorphologic and geoecologic facies.

The Department of Social and Economic Geography has concentrated its efforts in the past few years on the study of recent transition processes. Maps of demographic processes, international migration, new enterprises, the spread of unemployment were prepared by the unit. New subjects also include political cartography (results of 1990 and 1994 general elections), ethnic mapping (including the direct surroundings of Hungary). Investigations also bear witness on the special role of the City of Budapest: a thematic map series has been produced based on the database (a matrix containing the population and housing data of over 500 planning districts of the capital city) of the 1990 census. Some parts of the city (VIIth and VIIIth Districts) have also been mapped in GIS basis in larger scales from aspects of city ecology and environment.

In 1992 the Atlas of Paleoclimates and Paleoenvironments of the Northern Hemisphere /Late Pleistocene-Holocene/, (ed. by MTA FKI - Gustav Fischer Verlag) was published within a major international venture. All cartographic works of the atlas have been done by the Institute (from editing to printing).

Members of the Institute have also taken part in the editing of several maps (ethnic relations, environment, social and economic changes) of the series Atlas Ost- und Südosteuropa, published in Vienna.

Continued Work on the National Atlas of Hungary (1992-94)

The second edition of the National Atlas of Hungary (MNA) published in 1989 has since lost much of its timeliness in several subjects, due to the socio-economic changes accelerating at the very time of its publishing. This aspect, along with the availability of the database of the 1990 census have prompted the editorial board of MNA to continue its work. Revenues from selling the 2nd edition (1989) formed a modest financial basis to start from.

In 1991 it was already clear that the limited financial possibilities, that were markedly smaller than they had been a few years earlier, restrict works to the updating of some sheets of the 1989 edition and the preparation of a few new maps with the most interesting themes. Activities were further constrained by the lack of adequate information (statistics) in some branches of the economy, while financial support was also limited by strict legal measures. Among financial institutions Budapest Bank was a major supporter of the project, and the National Bank of Hungary also contributed a smaller grant.

In this situation the Institute, that had co-ordinated the earlier activities on MNA, has taken on itself the work on producing the supplementary sheets. The leadership of MTA FKI, an institute with ample experience on thematic mapping, has taken the decision to place map production entirely on computer (GIS) basis, and consequently make significant investments within its possible financial limits. Procurement of a workstation, PCs, and Arc/Info softwares, along with other expenditures (wages, contracts, printing works etc.) ran into several million Forints. As a result a new working system was received that comprises the entire process of map-making.

Eight double-page map sheets were published in four supplementary folio units in late 1994 and early 1995 in the following subjects (with explanatory text, complementary figures and tables on the back pages in both Hungarian and English):

Scanning and printing of computerized fair draughts were done by Cartographia Ltd. In contrast to the earlier (1989) copy number of 6,000, the supplementary folios were printed in 2,000 copies.

Information on the timely objectives of MNA were presented on the Visegrád meeting of three ICA commissions (1993) and its proceedings.

both chapters by
László BASSA
Geographical Research Institute of
the Hungarian Academy of Sciences

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