Mappers' lines take a licking


The changes in what used to be the Soviet Union seem endless.

The Baltic states are establishing independence, Sverdlovsk is restoring its name to Yekaterinburg and Leningrad will return to St. Petersburg.

Charles E. Lees Jr. and his colleagues in Maplewood, N.J., meanwhile, are re-sharpening their drafting pencils.

"The world is changing all the time, and so are maps," said Lees, vice president and cartographic editor-in-chief for the Hammond Map Co. "What's different about this is that there are so many changes happening so fast that affect so much.

"The Soviet Union was the largest country in the world," said Lees. "Parts of it touch maps of Europe, parts touch maps of Asia. We have a lot of work ahead of us."

Lees and other mapmakers said that not since 1960, when 17 new African countries were recognized as the continent shook off colonialism, has cartography faced so many important changes at the same time.

Last year, the reunification of Germany and the war in the Middle East kept the map industry humming.

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