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Cartographica Helvetica


Theme: Kaleidoscope of Swiss cartography

Cartographica Helvetica 55 (2017)


On the occasion of the International Map Year, the Swiss Society of Cartography SSC presented the 'Map of the Week' blog. The 70 documents shown between August 2015 and December 2016 represent a cross section of Swiss cartography. A selection of 58 of these documents is printed here, half of which are contemporary and historical productions. The oldest maps date back to the early 16th century, whereas the most recent map was created in 2016. Most of the maps shown here are typical of what Swiss cartography is known for, and some are even world-famous: topographic maps, hiking maps, city maps, street maps and school maps. Furthermore, there are numerous thematic maps (folklore, navigation, archaeology, sports, etc.) and various map-related representations (touristic bird's-eye views, panoramas, a relief model, etc.). An extraordinary item is a globe which can also be used as a drinking cup. Underground and lunar maps are also included, and maps of imaginary places were not left out either. Some of the authors and producers of the displayed maps are well-known cartographic publishing houses and federal institutions, whereas others are silent achievers in private industry. In addition to professionals in cartography, others such as a minister, a spy and an artist have their place as well.

Each map is accompanied by a short and easily understood commentary. The texts offer profound information, go into humorous or absurd detail, or try to question our understanding of maps and cartography. There is also mention of cartographic procedures and reproduction techniques, including the almost forgotten techniques of typometry and printing on silk. Furthermore, a recipe for a relief map is displayed as well as a letter to a literally trailblazing map author. The comments for this edition have been reviewed, supplemented and updated. And just like with a real kaleidoscope, it doesn't make any difference where one starts to read and look.

Translation by Christine Studer

Review (in German)

  • Daniel Anker auf Ein wunderbares, höchst interessantes Kaleidoskop von schweizerischen Kartenwerken, farbig präsentiert, informativ und unterhaltsam kommentiert. Ein ungeahntes Schau- und Lesevergnügen. (2. November 2017).

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