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Cartographica Helvetica


Urban Schertenleib:

The topographic survey of Saint Gall canton 1841–1854

Cartographica Helvetica 8 (1993) 9–22


Although the Canton of Saint Gall was shown in part on the Map of Suabia (Charte von Schwaben) and as a whole in the Atlas Suisse, published by Meyer/Weiss, the lack of an accurate survey was still evident.

Finances for a serious triangulation were allotted under the direction of Guillaume Henri Dufour. In autumn 1841, the astronomer Johannes Eschmann (1808–1852) started the trigonometric measurements, following Dufour's directions to the letter. The planetable sheets were reduced and compiled for the Topographic Map of Switzerland 1:100,000.

Several facts, for instance the disadvantageous sheet division and the small scale of the Topographic Map of Switzerland, led to the decision of the cantonal Government to make its own map Topographische Karte der Cantone St. Gallen und Appenzell in the scale 1:25,000. Jakob Melchior Ziegler (1801–1883) from Winterthur was commissioned for the lithography and printing of the map. He especially wanted to produce a map which represented the topography realistically. Various studies in geology and morphology were carried out. A few preserved intermediate printing proofs are interesting documents of these elaborations which were further complicated because other cantons such as Appenzell and Glaris had to be shown as well.

For various reasons the work was severely delayed, and prior to printing the final edition, some of the sheets were delayed even further by time-consuming revisions of different features such as newly constructed railway lines. In autumn 1854 the last of the 16 sheets was published. Ziegler was honoured for his work at the World Fair in Paris.

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