Historic data concerning the construction of the bridge called Cordoba on the main Madrid to Cadiz road by Luis Sainz Gutiérrez, inspector general of the Civil Engineers Corps, Anales de la Revista de Obras Públicas, tome III, 1984
A region’s geographic characteristics, especially its relief, its rivers and the quality of the soil, have a decisive impact on the configuration of its network of communications by land. The information about the conditions of the terrain that maps provide is very valuable for the layout of roads, railroads and canals. When there were no topographic maps (the first page of the National Topographic Map in Spain was published in 1875 and the last in 1968), the preliminary work done in reconnaissance and levelling of land for linear engineering projects was very complex, labour-intensive and not always safe. In the 18th century when roads were planned, it was common for engineers to look for remains of Roman roads to follow their layout, as it would entail guaranteed success.
If the know-how provided by the study and interpretation of maps in linear projects is important for an engineer, this is also the case for individual projects. Geological maps, for instance, enable terrain to be classified according to its use as construction materials, its hydrological qualities or its behaviour in foundations.
For public works historians it is also essential to study and interpret maps, as they make sense of a project by their graphic narrative; and nobody could do their job without knowing how to read the plans and sketches that form part of construction projects.
This Cartography Manual was published in 1945 for readers without higher education in mathematics, designed for university students focusing on humanities. However, thanks to its timing and scope, it is complementary to the other editions in this section of the information system.
José Gavira Martín and Antonio Revenga Carbonell were renowned geographers in the mid-20th century, and both made important contributions to the development of geography in Spain. Gavira is also remembered for his activity as the librarian of the Royal Geographic Society around 1947, when he drafted a catalogue of the contents, now part of the National Library.