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Cartographica Helvetica


Arthur Dürst:

The topographic survey of Zurich canton 1843–1851

Cartographica Helvetica 1 (1990) 2–17


The Zurich canton can recall to a long tradition in map-making. With the beginning of the 19th century, the federal surveying programme became established. Under the strict management of General Guillaume Henri Dufour, the different cantons finally achieved their 2nd-order triangulation, the detail triangulation, and the topographical survey. The lack of funds was the main reason for its slow process.

Zurich entrusted Johannes Eschmann with the triangulation and Johannes Wild with the topographical survey. Between 1843 and 1851, they prepared 27 ordnance survey maps. Even though the very precise defined 'instructions for the topographical survey in the 1:25,000 scale' by Dufour were perfect guidelines, Wild mapped sometimes even more details.

The limits of the 27 ordnance survey maps were given by the boundaries of the municipalities. Because of these irregular limits, the maps had to be redrawn several times: once for the 'Dufour map' into 16 sections in the same scale, which in turn served as a guideline for one sheet at the 1:100,000 scale. Later the ordnance survey maps were redrawn a second time as a guideline for the printing of the 1:25,000 Topographical Map of the Zurich canton.

Bibliographic note

  • Edited version of: Die topographische Aufnahme des Kantons Zürich 1843–1851. Eine Dokumentation zur Faksimilierung der Originalzeichnungen aus dem Archiv des Bundesamtes für Landestopographie. Zürich, 1989.

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