River ferries on old topographic maps

Medium and large rivers were a major obstacle to historic trade routes and trails. River ferries were one of the main ways to cross them, so their sites were considered points of strategic importance. Using old topographic maps from Austrian military mapping from 1763–1768, 1836–1852, 1876–1880, Prussian military maps from 1825 and 1877, and Czechoslovak military maps from 1953–1957, we systematically located ferries throughout the current territory of Czechia. Map keys from individual mappings were also analysed to examine how ferries are depicted on these maps. Based on the study of old topographic maps, a geographical database was created with the location of individual ferries, including the period in which the river ferry was registered. A total of 514 historical ferries were recorded on old topographic maps from military mapping throughout Czechia; another 28 ferries were identified from other available, more detailed, map sources.