Gong Chu in his Memoir mentioned several times Red Army officers poring over 1:50,000 maps of the most backward areas of China in early 1930s. I wonder who could possibly make those maps.

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    Not for sure but I would imagine it was the Jesuit missionaries, i have several old maps of theirs, none at that exact scale though but close. – ed.hank Apr 27 '17 at 16:15
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    What evidence says the answer is anything other than a national cartography bureau? It seems at least as plausible that the Red Army was able to clandestinely get some government maps, than that it was able to create them itself. – Aaron Brick Apr 27 '17 at 19:43
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    China between 1911 and 1930s consisted of dozens of war lords big and small constantly switching alliances; there was no national anything to speak of. Before 1911, China was a medieval country. But I'd be fascinated if these maps were indeed made by a Chinese government. – George Chen Apr 27 '17 at 21:18
  • I think it is a mistake by one zero. Maps with the scale of 2cm/km are very thorough and very expensive. Or they were maps for some special region. – Gangnus Dec 6 '17 at 18:59

The maps may have been made by the New Army, specifically the Military Survey and Mapping Academy. Quoting from a book by Nicolas Schillinger:

[M]ilitary reformers and New Armies leaders attached great importance to surveying, mapping, and cartography (cehui or celiang). The Detailed and Illustrated Manual, for instance, included a substantial chapter on military maps (cehui tushuo). Yuan et al. [1899] 1992, 991–1022. A central Military Survey and Mapping Academy (Cehui xuetang) was officially set up in February 1906, and numerous articles in a variety of military journals discussed the advantages of cartography and reprinted regulations concerning surveying ...

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  • This is indeed fascinating. Thanks for the reference. – George Chen Apr 27 '17 at 23:23
  • And where is a word about 1:50000 scale? – Gangnus Dec 6 '17 at 19:00

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