The Soviet Military Secretly Mapped the Entire World
English retiree John Davies has been smitten with maps his whole life. “I was drawing maps of my house as a toddler,” he said. Though his career in software didn’t allow regular forays into cartography, he would visit map shops on his travels.
On a business trip to Riga, Latvia’s capital, in the early 2000s, he hit the mother lode. Davies happened upon a shop that held bundles of Cold War-era maps of British cities, created by the Soviet military. The maps were so detailed that they included such elements as the products factories made and bridges’ load-bearing capacity. “I was just amazed,” Davies said.