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Cartographica Helvetica


Samuel Wyder and Hans-Uli Feldmann:

The maps of Switzerland (1620–1657) by Hans Conrad Gyger

Cartographica Helvetica 43 (2011) 3–18


The life and cartographic works of Hans Conrad Gyger (1599–1674) have already been described and acknowledged a number of times. A rediscovery of a manuscript map of Switzerland approx. 1:350,000, presumed lost for over 100 years, has given cause to chronologically categorize and evaluate his most important works between 1620 and 1657. Never before have the Swiss maps by Gyger been presented and compared in such a manner.

Gyger succeeded in revolutionizing the representation of mountains, which were up to then drawn as side views, by representing them as elevated masses. This was the origin – similar to today's bird's-eye-view maps – of showing the terrain as contiguous mountain ranges and valleys. Even though the improved content of Gyger's maps was copied for years by Swiss as well as foreign cartographers, his ingenious innovation in terrain representation remained untouched for many years.

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