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Cartographica Helvetica


Hans Brunner:

The map of Saxon Switzerland by Otto von Odeleben

Cartographica Helvetica 10 (1994) 42–48


Saxon Switzerland, situated southeast of Dresden, is an important touristic and mountain climbing area for more than 200 years. The complicated structured landscape with its ragged rockformations, tablemountains and gorges, is a very difficult task for surveying and mapping. Until the 19th century, no satisfying cartographic representation existed.

The saxon officer Otto von Odeleben (1777–1833) realized between 1823 and 1826, out of his own personal interest, a topographic survey of Saxon Switzerland. He was a trainee of Johann Georg Lehmann, who introduced an accurate, mathematically-based topographical representation with hachures for the survey of Saxony around 1800. Odeleben's map was published in 1830 in the scale 1:23,500. It is a remarkable work with an amazing accuracy, an impressive clarity of the topography and a great amount of additional information. The following official and private maps of the same area were published in smaller scales and did never reach the quality of Odeleben's map.

Besides his surveying and cartographic activity, Odeleben became well known through his book on Napoleon's campaign to Saxony in 1813. Odeleben was destined as a deputy to the headquarter of Napoleon for half a year and was in close contact with the Emperor.

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