The article characterizes first general geological (lithological-stratigraphical) maps presenting Quaternary deposits in Northern Poland. These were the maps of territory of the Prussian partition, elaborated by German geologists from Prussian Geological Survey "Königlich Preussische Geologische Landesanstalt". After Poland regained its independence they became a basis for many Polish geological publications. The article discusses the chronology and objectives of the main cartographic works of German geologists operating in the area of present-day Northern Poland (general and detailed geological maps) and briefly presents the methodology of geological mapping of lowlands at the scale of 1:25,000.
The authors present initial results of the sheet inventory of the Prussian geological map at the scale of 1:25,000 owned by the Polish Geological Institute - National Research Institute (PGI-NRI). Quick search of Prussian map sheets is enabled with the created GIS data base which contains basic information about sheets, i.e. map title, year, author/authors, sheet title and topographic map designation. The applied relations between data and their spatial reference make it possible to dynamically generate section map and perform spatial analyses of any type. The multiuser geodatabase was created using ESRI and Oracle technologies. Until now the inventory covered the sheets available in the archives of the Marine Geology Branch of PGI-NRI in Gdańsk and the Pomeranian Branch of PGI-NRI in Szczecin.
The article also presents examples of Prussian topographic and geological maps used to realize the objectives of the surface geology of Poland. Sheets of Prussian maps are a very valuable basis for elaboration of general and detailed Polish geological maps. Prussian maps make it possible to recreate the earlier geological, geomorphological and hydrographic picture of terrains which are now highly developed and antropogenically transformed. They are often used for the purpose of various time-spatial analyses, mostly to evaluate the dynamics and pace of erosional and accumulative coastal processes of the Southern Baltic coast. The maps of this type help to reconstruct and forecast the development of river mouths and to recreate the location of excavations and inactive open-cut mines of sand, gravel, clay, brown coal and amber. Old maps documenting the exact location of exploited deposits have practical application in geo-tourism.