During the Cold War the Soviet Union carried out a cartographic project of unprecedented scale and ambition – the detailed mapping of the entire world. Not only strategically vital ports and industrial centers, but cities, small towns and rural areas alike, were plotted and recorded. This book describes, for the first time, this gigantic project, from its origins to its legacy after the fall of communism. Just as fascinating as the story of the maps during Soviet times, is their role in the post-Soviet world, as the only reliable mapping in existence in many parts of the world, of value to explorers, scientists and even the military of the Western alliances. A fantastic historical document of an era that sometimes seems less distant, The Red Atlas offers an uncanny view of the world through the eyes of Soviet strategists and spies.