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The Military Geographical Institute The Military Geographical Institute Vojnogeografski institut
Address: ul. Mije Kovačevića 5, 11000 Belgrade,     Phone: +381 11 3205 007,     Fax: +381 11 3205 350,     e-mail: vgi@vs.rs  
Vojnogeografski institut

History of the Military Geographical Institute

The Military Geographical Institute (MGI) is a research institute and productive institution of Geodetic Service of Serbian Armed Forces which gathers, processes and distributes spatial data of significance for geospatial security of the Serbian Armed Forces. It is under Department for System Logistics MOD.

MGI executes jobs in area of: astronomy, geodesy, geophysics, topography, aerial imaging, cartography and reprinting maps according to its primary assignment.

It is founded on the 5th February 1876 as the Second (since 1878 Geographical) department of General staff of Serbian Army.

In Kingdom of Serbia MGI has done topographical survey of state in scale 1:50 000, on the basis of which were made 95 sheets of General staff map scale 1:75 000, the first map of Serbia made by surveying the territory. This map remained in military and state use for several decades and served as the main source to all maps of the Kingdom of Serbia smaller scale. Also, during this period main geodetic networks are developed (trigonometric triangulation the 1st, the 2nd and the 3rd accuracy and precise leveling), astronomic measurements are made for determining the shape of geoid etc.

During the Balkan wars and IWW, MGI gave contribution to Serbian Army and allies, making and printing maps of SE Europe, in various scales. Cartographic works are done during retreat of Serbian Army, then in Corfu and then in Thessalonica.

During the period between two world wars, MGI created unique geodetic basis on the whole territory of the Yugoslav Kingdom (triangulation and levelling). And on the basis of surveying in scale 1:50 000 topographic map scale 1:100 000 is made as well as the whole number of topographic maps of smaller scale. In this period, MGI with its personnel and material stuff is becoming strong institution which has been present in various projects of International geodetic and geophysics union, International Geographical Union and other international organizations, besides satisfying domestic military and state needs. MGI was initiator of big international geodetic scientific projects – degrees measuring along the 22nd meridian and the 45th parallel, and took part in other international geodetic and cartographic works and projects.

After the IIWW, MGI continued and finished work on the basic geodetic networks. Topographical and aerial surveying scale 1 : 25 000 is done, and on the basis of this survey numerous topographic and geographic maps scales of 1 : 25 000,
1 : 50 000, 1 : 100 000, 1 : 200 000, 1 : 300 000, 1 : 500 000, 1 : 750 000 and 1 : 1 000 000 were made, so as many special maps for military, educational, scientific and other needs. MGI carried and continues carrying out other numerous various assignments – geomagnetic survey of military airports, marking state border lines, metrology security for big angles and long length, etc. – as well as numerous demands of commands, units and institutions related with geospatial security, along with this capital, long last projects.

Disintegration of the former communistic Yugoslavia at the beginning of the nineties in last century, followed by civil war and bad economic situation in the country caused serious problems in MGI's operating and caused its adapting to new circumstances. Nevertheless, during this period, besides successful servicing of the current military and state needs for present products and services, development of the institution has continued: implementation of some new technology has been done successfully (before all GPS and converting analogue maps in digital shape), new maps and geoproducts have been made, the Experimental polygon near Belgrade was made, in cooperation with civil geodetic service MGI took part in making modern geodetic referent basis, etc.

History of the Military Geographical Institute by Year...

Former head chiefs of the MGI...



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