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Hans-Uli Feldmann:

Topographer Charles Jacot-Guillarmod (1868–1925): A pioneer in rock representation in Switzerland

Cartographica Helvetica 31 (2005) 3–13


Charles Jacot-Guillarmod was a very talented topographer. Thanks to his knowledge, he was jointly responsible for rock representation in the Topographical Atlas of Switzerland 1:25,000 and 1:50,000 (the so-called 'Siegfried Map') and thus also in the modern National Map Series. Even though he was active in the Federal Topographic Bureau over a period of 24 years (1890–1914) and contributed a great deal to the representation of the large-scale mountain maps, his name is remarkably absent in the technical literature of the time. This fact as well as the procedure of his dismissal leads to the assumption that he was a mobbing victim.

Following his dismissal from the federal services in 1914, he created two 'topographical sketches' of the Chogori ou K2 and Kangchinjunga based on terrestrial photographs taken by his cousin and Himalaya researcher Jules Jacot-Guillarmod (1868–1925). The two original drawings at the scale of 1:50,000 with 100 m contours are the first exact maps of the Himalaya massif. They were lithographed and published in the Bulletin de la Société Neuchâteloise de Géographie.

From 1916 to 1922 Charles Jacot-Guillarmod taught geodesy and topography at the Central Army Surveying School in Beijing. After his return to Switzerland he drew various large-format panoramas and in 1923 the rock representation for the Carte du Mont Olympe, the first topographic map of this mountain massif at a scale of 1:20,000.

Bibliographic note

  • Based on a paper read at 12th Kartographiehistorisches Colloquium, Frankfurt-on-the-Main, 2nd October 2004.
  • Also published as: Der Topograph Charles Jacot-Guillarmod (1868–1925): Einer der Pioniere der Schweizer Felsdarstellung. In: Aspekte der Kartographie im Wandel der Zeit. Eds. Wolfgang Kainz, Karel Kriz, Andreas Riedl. Wien, 2004. (Wiener Schriften zur Geographie und Kartographie 16). pp. 62–70.

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