International Map of the World

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The International Map of the World (called the Millionth Map after its scale of 1:1000000) was a project begun in 1913 to create a complete map of the world according to internationally agreed standards. Roads were depicted in red, towns and railways were depicted in black, and the labels were written in the Roman alphabet.[1]

The Central Bureau of the Map of the World was established at the Ordnance Survey in London. After the Second World War, the United Nations took over the project, and interest waned. Only 800 to 1,000 of 2,500 planned maps were completed.[1]

Map Indexing System[edit]

Map index of northern and central Asia. Since it lies entirely north of the equator, prefix map index numbers with N.
Note longitudinal span increasing to 12° at 60°N, then to 24° at 76°N.
Map NL 39

A system was developed for dividing the globe into sections spanning six degrees of longitude by four degrees latitude.[2] Longitudinal slices are numbered 1 (180-174°West) through 60 (174-180°East). Latitudinal slices are named NA (0-4°North) through NV (84-88°North) and SA (0-4°South) through SV (84-88°South). For example

Due to shortening of longitudinal distances with increasing latitude, longitudinal span beyond 60 degrees latitude doubles to twelve degrees. Beyond 76 degrees it doubles again to 24 degrees.

This indexing system outlived the international project and is still used in national and international mapping programs by Australia,[6] Russia,[7] and the United States.[8]


  1. ^ a b "International Map of the World". 
  2. ^ "The International Map of the World and its Numbering System". Retrieved 2011-06-26. 
  3. ^ NJ 10 San Francisco Bay (Map). 1:1 million. World (North America). U.S.A. Corps of Engineers. Army Map Service. 1962. Retrieved 2011-06-26. 
  4. ^ SG 35 Johannesburg (Map). World (Africa). ...Army Map Service. c. 1962. 
  5. ^ NI 54 Tokyo (Map). World (Asia). ...Army Map Service. 1957. 
  6. ^ "Topographic Maps". Retrieved 2011-06-26. 
  7. ^ Советская система разграфки и номенклатуры топографических карт [Soviet system of subdividing and naming topographic maps]. Wikipedia (in Russian). Retrieved 2011-06-26. 
  8. ^ ...Army Map Service. "International Map of the World 1:1,000,000". University of Texas at Austin. Retrieved 2011-06-26.