1 Litvinov N.Yu.

Center of Geodesy, Cartography and SDI

Exploring the relevance of the contents loaded in site Russian federation National atlas is considered in the article. Its attendance and the provided data’s importance for the period of the recent 7 years are analyzed. This analysis made a background for the author on renovation of the resource. During the research some foreign experience on creating printed and digital national atlases was studied. Basing on the modernization results the change in activities of the users was noted in comparison with their previous ones. The research shows that the site has been functioning for fifteen years already, and the information provided still remains relevant. Due to connecting the domain .ru the renovated resource became more easily available for foreign audience. In the period of the Russian Federation digital transformation the National atlas site (nationalatlas.ru) with its updated contents can make a part of the National spatial data system.
The history of national atlases creation started at the end of XIXth century in Russian Empire, where the first one of the Great principality of Finland was issued1. Some experts consider the first national is Statistical Atlas of the United States, published in 1874 containing the 9th population census data of 1870. In the Soviet period, the national cartographers created 11 soviet republics’ atlases2 and a variety of those national together with sectoral authorities of some other countries3.
Afterwards these atlases became a base for national ones of CIS independent states4 [4–6, 13]. That of RSFSR was not released, though scientists reckon that a fragment of the part of the Big Soviet World atlas (first chapter) may be considered as its prototype, published in 1937 (see the footnote1).
In present-day Russia works on national atlas began in 1995 (see the footnote1)5. The directive for its preparation was signed by Russian Federation government in 2000. The first volume6 of four7 National atlases of Russia (NAR) was issued in 2004, then the latest ones8 – in 2008. NAR took the Grand gold medal at the Siberian Fair [7].
At the same time the state scientific innovation center for geoinformational systems and technologies (former Federal State Unitary Enterprise “Gosgiscenter” – modern Federal State Budgetary Institution “Center of Geodesy, Cartography and SDI”) developed its electronic version9, 10. Four CD-disks were released. Each of the three disks has one volume but the fourth one has jointly all four volumes (see the footnote 6, 8)11.
Aims and challenges of National atlas of Russia
The aim of National atlas of Russia is gathering and arranging informational and map data on natural resources, population, economics, ecology, history and culture of Russia for the further usage in national economy development as well as in science, education and culture. 
Basic challenges of NAR:
  • Encyclopedic set of modern information on the current state and level of country’s progress12;
  • Rendering materials for research of the whole Russian and regional programs on economical, educational, ecological, cultural, historical13  and other assignments;
  • Provision of state power bodies, scientific, projecting and industrial institutions, social organizations and public movements with reliable space-and-time information on the nature, resources, population, economics, ecology, history, culture, heritage and social life of the country, and on the factors influencing them.
The NAR creation was considered the largest scientific project; its implementation would take more than a year. Simultaneously it was planned to establish Russian National map-info Center, where the whole necessary spatial data would be concentrated and updated (see the footnote 5)14.
National atlas of Russia in Internet
On the 26th of December 2005 NAR site started at the address www.national-atlas.ru. In February 2013 at the time of merging the four Federal State Unitary Enterprises (Federal State Unitary Enterprise “Gosgiscenter”, former Krasovskiy Central Research Institute Of Geodesy, Air Survey; Cartography awarded by a “Medal of Honor” /TsNIIGAiK/, Central cartographic and geodetic repository, State Scientific Innovation Center of geoinformational systems and technologies, State cartographic and geodetic Center) into Federal State Budgetary Institution “Center of Geodesy, Cartography and SDI”, the site was off-line for two years. In 2015 Federal State Budgetary Institution “Center of Geodesy, Cartography and SDI” launched an original electronic multimedia version of NAR, taken from the fourth CD-disk to the site address: https://xn--80aaaa1bhnclcci1cl5c4ep.xn--p1ai/.
For the last 7 years of this resource functioning about half a million of men visited it. 
It should be noted that the majority of traffic was related to direct entries.
The decrease of the visitors number, which began in 2018 (see table 1) is correlated with fact of deleted Rosreestr banner, linked to https://xn--80aaaa1bhnclcci1cl5c4ep.xn--p1ai/, that provided the biggest segment of traffic. (Fig. 1).
Table 1. Attendance of the site https://xn--80aaaa1bhnclcci1cl5c4ep.xn--p1ai/ home page in 2015–2021
Year Number of visits Number of visitors Number of views
2015 45 006 39 632 59 947
2016 58 283 51 850 76 029
2017 60 616 53 273 77 865
2018 18 132 14 592 24 205
2019 11 303 8 495 16 009
2020 12 002 8 259 17 223
2021 5 038 3 960 8 818
In totol 210 000 176 130 278 778

Fig. 1. Traffic sources for the https://xn--80aaaa1bhnclcci1cl5c4ep.xn--p1ai/ site

The site https://xn--80aaaa1bhnclcci1cl5c4ep.xn--p1ai/ is located in national section of Internet and according to the information of Yandex.Metric; 94% of site users are from Russia, the rest 6% are spread between the Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Germany, Armenia, the USA, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, China and other countries. Geographical scope of Russian regions is presented in figure 2.
Fig. 2. Attendance of the site https://xn--80aaaa1bhnclcci1cl5c4ep.xn--p1ai/ in regions
The dynamic of site attendance was affected by COVID-19 outbreak and Adobe Systems refusal of Adobe Flash Player technology support dated 2021. That player carried out the presentation of the whole map contents of the site.
Fig. 3. Dynamics of attending the site https://xn--80aaaa1bhnclcci1cl5c4ep.xn--p1ai/ in 2020–2021
The analysis of site https://xn--80aaaa1bhnclcci1cl5c4ep.xn--p1ai/ data relevance
As a result of Adobe Flash Player shutdown the site https://xn--80aaaa1bhnclcci1cl5c4ep.xn--p1ai/ lost a part of its functional, therefore faced the impossibility of receiving necessary data. The author made a revision of the materials posted and the estimation of its relevance is done15.
For these purposes 1138 content web pages were analyzed and the information listed there was divided into the following categories: web page, text, map, picture, table, diagram (fig.4).
Fig. 4. Contents of the site https://xn--80aaaa1bhnclcci1cl5c4ep.xn--p1ai/ in categories
The figure 5 shows that the 3rd volume called “Population. Economics” needs more updating. The amount of text information which remains relevant in the 4th volume “History. Culture” exceeds 84 %.
Fig. 5. Data to be updated in categories
1914 images are located on its pages (maps are joined in a separate category), including data of the Earth remote sensing16, graphical objects, people, animals, collages, photos, landscapes, old maps scans etc.
It should be marked that almost 57% of the first volume images, requiring correction are snapshots of spacecraft (most pictures of “Resurs F” satellites are used), which can be changed for higher resolution space survey images not less than 1 m/pixel. In the view of esthetics and informative value a bigger part of Earth remote sensing data still seems a matter of interest.
Taking the above-mentioned into account as well as the analysis result, web pages to be updated represented on the site https://xn--80aaaa1bhnclcci1cl5c4ep.xn--p1ai/ were defined for cartographic materials [3], reference text and statistic data.  Besides a part of them involves relevant information, but needs corrections of the drawn Russian Federation’s borderlines and addition of data layers of the Crimea Republic.
It is noted that some contents is still actual (see the footnote 12) and in users’ demand now.
Modernization of National atlas of Russia site
After the shutdown of Adobe Flash Player in 2021 for modernization of the site https://xn--80aaaa1bhnclcci1cl5c4ep.xn--p1ai/, its upgraded version was created, posted at the address nationalatlas.ru. The choice of the domain name was interpreted with the idea to provide the global community with the access to electronic resource, not only for Cyrillic section of Internet.
During the research the experience of countries who had ever released built up and supported their national atlases was studied17 [1, 8–31]. 107 such countries were reviewed. The records of 445 atlas volumes were collected in a dataset, including republished and multilingual versions. Discrepancies occurred in counting their quantity, probably caused by the union republics atlases were referred to new independent states of the former USSR.
France was noticed to face the same challenge in 2021 – building up the web site of national atlas [20]; the Adobe Flash Player technology was used as well as Russian programmers did.
After monitoring the news feeds from some countries the information was found that Belarus was planning to refresh its national atlas after 2020; Mongolia and Uzbekistan announced publishing theirs in 2021.
While projecting modernization the Canadian experience was taken in consideration [27] that had initiated its national atlas site first in the world before 1996.
The modernized site nationalatlas.ru statistics
In the process of the code revision the mistakes and misprints, occurred at the site https://xn--80aaaa1bhnclcci1cl5c4ep.xn--p1ai/ editing, were corrected. In addition, the site navigation was remade. On nationalatlas.ru the free library for presenting qualitative images in decent resolution was involved; it negatively impacted functioning of map and satellite photo browsing primarily in mobile version.
After launching nationalatlas.ru the proportion of traffic sources changed, most of guests moved to search results (fig.6)
Fig. 6. Traffic sources for the site nationalatlas.ru
Proportions of entire number of visits also became different. If for https://xn--80aaaa1bhnclcci1cl5c4ep.xn--p1ai/ the per cent of single accessing amounted 85.9, for nationalatlas.ru it decreased to 72.3. The users began entering the resource repeatedly (Fig.7).
Fig. 7. Attendance of the sites: https://xn--80aaaa1bhnclcci1cl5c4ep.xn--p1ai/ (a); nationalatlas.ru (б)
After the start of the upgraded site version search engines had to index the new resource for several months (Fig.8).
Fig. 8. Attendance dynamics of the site nationalatlas.ru
Visualization of the latest appeals to the numerous volumes of National Russian atlas is of interest (fig. 9).
Fig. 9. Pages of entering the site nationalatlas.ru
As it follows from the fig.9, the biggest interest for users is the volume 2 “Nature. Ecology”18 and volume 4 “History. Culture”, that is confirmed by the analysis made before the modernization concerning actuality of data posted on site https://xn--80aaaa1bhnclcci1cl5c4ep.xn--p1ai/ volume 1 “Common territory characteristics” and volume 2 “Population. Economics” – needs a serious updating.
In nationalatlas.ru the geographical scope of foreign audience altered. The site became more popular in China, Poland, Finland, Czech Republic and Great Britain. In the territory of the Russian Federation, there is no significant change of that. The site entries from Google- translator are registered; that outlines foreign language speakers’ interest to text materials, posted on nationalatlas.ru. At the time the share of search traffic in Google is a bit more than 1%, because nationalatlas.ru is functioning in text mode, can be taken for https://xn--80aaaa1bhnclcci1cl5c4ep.xn--p1ai/ site-clone, and is lowered in search results.
The greatest interest to nationalatlas.ru is noticed from social network VK.com users; it correlates with the age metrics presented in Table 2.
Table 2. Age categories of site nationalatlas.ru
Age categories Percentage of site users, %
https://xn--80aaaa1bhnclcci1cl5c4ep.xn--p1ai/ nationalatlas.ru
Elder then 18 years old 5,56 14,1
18–24 года 14,1 36,8
25–34 года 40,9 13,4
35–44 года 24,2 16,7
45–54 года 13,6 11,1
The rest 1,52 7,86
In spite of the fact that the NAR site has been working for more than 15 years, its data is still relevant for the users of Internet in 2021.
It should be noted that the upgraded site nationalatlas.ru has points of growth19 [2], for instance the increase of international audience presence caused by search traffic from Google, addition of automatic translation functions into other languages. If before National atlas of Russia was perceived as a prestige printed publication, a kind of visiting card of the state 20, now, at the time of digital transformation in Russia, with actualized information it may become a part of National spatial data system (see the footnote10)21 [2].
In accordance with Russian Government plans of foundation of a public legal company “Roscadastr”, rearranging of Rosreestr subordinate institutions(FSBI «FCC of Rosreestr», FSBI “Center of Geodesy, Cartography and SDI” and joint-stock companies “Roscartografia” and “Rostechinventarizatsiya – BTI” is supposed to implement the key projects of the industry, including the complete constant updating of spatial data.
1 Sveshnikov V.V., Tikunov V.S. (2003) National atlases: history and current state. Geodesy and cartography = Geodezia i Kartografia, 64(12), pp. 35–45. (In Russian).
2 Atlas Azerbaidzhanskoi SSR. Moscow: GUGK, 1963. 213 p.;
Atlas Moldavskoi SSR. Moscow: GUGK, 1978. 132 p.;
Atlas Ukrainskoi SSR i Moldavskoi SSR Moscow: GUGK, 1983. – 69 p.
3 Natsional'nyi atlas Mongol'skoi Narodnoi Respubliki – Ulan-Bator–Moscow: GUGK, – 1990. – 144 p.;
Natsional'nyi atlas Kuby. V oznamenovanie desyatoi godovshchiny revolyutsii / Gl. red. d-r Pedro Kan'yas Abril'. Gavana: AN SSSR – AN Kuby – GUGK pri SM SSSR, 1970. 132 s.
4 Natsional'nyi atlas Respubliki Kazakhstan. Vol. 1. Prirodnye usloviya i resursy. 2 izd. Almaty: Agentstvo Respubliki Kazakhstan po upravleniyu zemel'nymi resursami, 2010. 150 p.;
Natsional'nyi atlas Respubliki Kazakhstan. Vol. 2. Sotsial'no-ekonomicheskoe razvitie. 2 izd. Almaty: Agentstvo Respubliki Kazakhstan po upravleniyu zemel'nymi resursami, 2010. 163 p.;
Natsional'nyi atlas Respubliki Kazakhstan. Vol. 3. Okruzhayushchaya sreda i ekologiya. 2 izd. Almaty: Agentstvo Respubliki Kazakhstan po upravleniyu zemel'nymi resursami, 2010. 157 p.;
Natsіonal'nii atlas Ukraїni / Pod red. L. G. Rudenko. Kiev: Kartografiya, 2007. 440 p.;
Natsyyanal'ny atlas Belarusі. Minsk.: Belkartografiya, 2002. 292 p.
5 Kontseptsiya Natsional'nogo atlasa Rossii: Proekt. – Moscow. Roskartografiya, 1996. – 96 p.; 
Osnovnye polozheniya Kontseptsii Natsional'nogo atlasa Rossii: Proekt. Moscow, Roskartografiya, 1996. 24 p.
6 Natsional'nyi atlas Rossii: v 4 t. / Sost. i podgot. k izd. PKO «Kartografiya» i Gostsentrom «Priroda» v 2004 g. pod obshch. ruk. Roskartografii; otv. red.: G. V. Pozdnyak, N. N. Polunkina, N. V. Smurova; preds. redkoll. V. F. Khabarov (1 t.). M.: Roskartografiya, 2004. T. 1. Obshchaya kharakteristika territorii. 496 s. 3000 ekz.
7 Natsional'nyi atlas Rossii: v 4 t. / Redkoll.: A. V. Borodko (preds.), V. V. Sveshnikov (gl. red.) i dr. M.: Roskartografiya, 2004–2008.
8 Natsional'nyi atlas Rossii: v 4 t. / Sost. i podgot. k izd. PKO «Kartografiya» pod obshch. ruk. kartogr. rabotami Federal'nogo agentstva geodezii i kartografii M-va ekonomicheskogo razvitiya Rossiiskoi Federatsii; 
otv. red.: E. M. Regentova (razd. «Istoriya»), E. N. Lazareva (razd. «Kul'tura»); preds. redkoll. A. V. Borodko. Kaliningrad: OOO Skaz, 2008. T. 4. Istoriya. Kul'tura. 495 s. 1500 ekz.
9 Zhukovskiy V.E., Kiselev V.V., Sveshnikov V.V. (2002) National Atlas of Russia in printed and electronic versions. Geodesy and cartography = Geodezia i Kartografia, 63(1), pp. 26–28. (In Russian).
10 Pleshkov V.G., Rebriy A.V., Stepanova Ya.V. (2004) On the concept of creating an electronic version of the National Atlas of Russia: cartography. Geodesy and cartography = Geodezia i Kartografia, 65(12), pp. 30–34. (In Russian). 
11 Natsional'nyi atlas Rossii: v 4 t. / Sost. i podgot. k izdaniyu PKO «Kartografiya» pod obshch. ruk. M-va transporta Rossiiskoi Federatsii i Roskartografii; otv. red. G. F. Kravchenko; preds. redkoll. A. V. Borodko. – Kaliningrad: OAO Yantarnyi skaz, 2007. T. 2. Priroda. Ekologiya. 496 s. 2000 ekz.; Natsional'nyi atlas Rossii: v 4 t. / Sost. i podgot. k izd. PKO «Kartografiya» i Gostsentrom «Priroda» v 2004 g. pod obshch. ruk. Roskartografii; otv. red.: G. V. Pozdnyak; preds. redkoll. A. V. Borodko. Kaliningrad: OOO Skaz, 2008. T. 3. Naselenie. Ekonomika, 496 s. 2000 ekz.
12 Vedenin Yu.A., Elchaninov A.I. (2010) National Atlas of Russia - the latest scientific geographical dictionary. Geodesy and cartography = Geodezia i Kartografia, 71(3), pp. 53-56. (In Russian). 
13 Kuroshev G.D., Lazebnik O.A. (2010) National Atlas of Russia: content and meaning to geographic higher education. Geodesy and cartography = Geodezia i Kartografia, 71(2), pp. 45-48. (In Russian).
14 Kozlov V.V. (2009) National Atlas of Russia - fundamental cartographic edition of early XXI century. Geodesy and cartography = Geodezia i Kartografia, 70(11), pp. 57-63. (In Russian).
15 Svatkova T.G. Atlasnaya kartografiya. M.: Aspekt Press, 2002, 203 p.
16 Zhukovskiy V.E., Krayukhin A.K., Pozdnyak G.V., Riabchikova V.I., Krivov S.V. (2008) Space information in the National Atlas of Russia. Geodesy and cartography = Geodezia i Kartografia, 69(1), pp. 18-25. (In Russian). 
17 Pleshkov V.G., Rebriy A.V., Stepanova Ya.V. (2004) National atlases of foreign countries. Geodesy and cartography = Geodezia i Kartografia, 65(11), pp. 38–47. (In Russian); 
Barend Köbben (2013) Towards a National Atlas of the Netherlands as part of the National Spatial Data Infrastructure. The Cartographic Journal, 50:3, 225–231. DOI: 10.1179/1743277413Y.0000000056.
18 Komedchikov N.N., Krayuhin A.N., Pozdnyak G.V., Kravchenko G.F., Krivov S.V., Riabchikova V.I. (2012) «The National Atlas of Russia», the volume 2 «The Nature. Ecology», condition of the environment, nature conservation. Geodesy and cartography = Geodezia i Kartografia, (5), pp. 20-29. (In Russian). 
19 Komedchikov N.N., Kotlyakov V.M., Krayuhin A.N., Tikunov V.S. (2011) Atlas cartography in Russia at the beginning of the new millennium: results and perspectives. Geodesy and cartography = Geodezia i Kartografia, 72(1), pp. 18-22. (In Russian).
20 Shul'gina O.V. (2009) Natsional'nyi atlas Rossii - vizitnaya kartochka strany. Rossiya i sovremennyi mir, 3 (64). pp. 248–253.
21 Sveshnikov V.V. (1998) Trends in the development of national atlases and problems of creating a National Atlas of Russia (based on the materials of the meeting of the Commission of National and Regional Atlases of the ICA). Geodesy and cartography = Geodezia i Kartografia, 59(11), pp. 22–28. (In Russian);
Tikunov V.S. Atlasnaya informacionnaya sistema «Ustojchivoe razvitie Rossii». Vestn. Mosk. un-ta. Seriya 5. Geografiya, 2002, 5, pp. 21-32. 


Done within the framework of “Geokarta-2030” research.
OPEN ACCESS. Full-text article: 
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Litvinov N.Yu., 
(2021) Analyzing the data from the website of the National Atlas of Russia, its relevance and demand. Geodesy and cartography = Geodezia i Kartografia, 82(12), pp. 53-62. (In Russian). DOI: 10.22389/0016-7126-2021-978-12-53-62
Publication History
Received: 30.11.2021
Accepted: 17.12.2021
Published: 31.12.2021


2021 December DOI:

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