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Cartographica Helvetica


Martin Rickenbacher:

Fortification maps – Maps for the national defence of Switzerland

Cartographica Helvetica 29 (2004) 17–26


After the recent appearance of three different articles concerning the various aspects of the German war maps of Switzerland during World War II, this article concerns the cartographic activities in Switzerland at that time. Until recently still classified as secret, the fortification maps are for the first time being recognized as the direct cartographic expression of the Swiss concept of defence. They started being developed towards the end of the 19th century and reached their summit during World War II.

Technical innovations such as terrestrial photogrammetry were tested and introduced for practical use. Thanks to these efforts, the Swiss army was in possession of excellent cartographic material of the regions along the national border for defending the Central Plateau and the Alps. Moreover, this material could be used as a basis for the development of military thematic maps such as artillery maps or 'impact maps'.

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