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Ingrid Kretschmer:

Natural colors versus hypsometric colors

Cartographica Helvetica 21 (2000) 39–48


Three significant methods for representing height in maps, also called hypsometric maps, were developed in Austria. One method published in 1864 by Franz von Hauslab (1798–1883) used the principle of 'the higher, the darker' for achieving a three-dimensional effect, thus making it easier to compare and interpret the colors.

The second scientific attempt at height representation was developed by Friedrich Simony (1813–1896). He realized a synthesis between three-dimensional color scales and the natural colors of vegetation.

An internationally acclaimed method was the idea by Karl Peucker (1859–1940) which was based on the principle of 'the higher, the more saturated the colors' combined with bird's-eye-view effects.

In describing the historical development, the author is trying to develop a comprehension of contemporary cartography. She is convinced that height information in small-scale maps will also be an important component even in the future.

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