Swiss National Mapping

Swiss topography has long been regarded as the epitome of this form of mapping, often characterised by the iconic hill shading techniques of the late Eduard Imhof, professor of cartography at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. The Federal Office of Topography (swisstopo) has not rested on it’s laurels and has continued to advance it’s mapping products. In order to keep pace with modern analogue and digital requirements, swisstopo released a new National Map for Switzerland; their core 1:25,000 scale series, together with a new, fully automated, 1:10,000 series. Essentially, these new maps have become a litle more colourful and much greater use of the classically Swiss typeface, Frutiger. Personally, I feel they are a well-judged evolution of the original series, maintaining the character yet embodied of the 21st Century.

Admittedly, this started a few years ago, but it is still ongoing in terms of refinement and worth visiting now as an almost complete suite of maps, although I would call this an atlas. The entire range of maps and geodata, including specific relief shading forms, can be explored on swisstopo’s very well implemented online interactive map tool. The browser-based tool provides over 150 layers of data including current and historical aerial photographs, a range of thematic data, geology, split screen map comparisons… and let’s not forget the obligatory 3D view!

I’m naturally biased, with my love of (mid-century and vintage) Swiss design and continued use of the classic typeface, Helvetica, but I would still encourage you to explore this further. What more could you want from a national mapping organisation? I know, there’s always more yet to be imagined!

1:25,000
1:10,000

February, 2017

kepler.gl

Uber—who would thought—have released kepler.gl, an open-source geospatial toolbox. It’s designed to provide the easiest way of visualising geospatial data and gaining useful insights.

Cartograms

Not to be confused with Mapbox’s nonsensical hijacking of the term for creating colour styles, cartograms are extraordinary map types. The relaunch of Worldmapper in April 2018 celebrates this form of mapping.

Google Earth

When it was first released, 16 years ago, it was amazing being able to travel around the globe and look at anywhere in such remarkable detail… and it still is today!

National Geographic

Since the very first issue in 1888, the National Geographic magazine has been the benchmark for quality researched articles supported by well-crafted graphics.

Heightfields

There is always an aspect of work that emerges out of error, experimentation and/or serendipity.

Big Data Visualisation

Visualisations of ‘big data’ have been commonplace over the last few years, though their is still much debate to be had about the value of many of them beyond their visually interesting presentation.

A Monitor for a Cartographer?

Screen estate and colour are very important to a cartographer. Maps can be any size from A6 to more than 5m×5m square.

An Open-source World

Over the last few years we have seen the release of numerous mapping platforms/frameworks to allow the manipulation and representation of open-source mapping and other spatial data.

OS Maps – the App

Recently, the Ordnance Survey (OS) updated an app for both mobile and desktop devices that utilises their 1:25,000 Explorer and 1:50,000 Landranger maps—classic OS mapping at it’s best.

Swiss National Mapping

Swiss topography has long been regarded as the epitome of this form of mapping, often characterised by the iconic hill shading techniques of the late Eduard Imhof, professor of cartography at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology.

Relief Shading, Part I

As we seem to be moving in to presentational modes where 3D (mapping) is becoming ever more commonplace, enabled by software and hardware advances, it is relevant to look back

Mac Pro 5,1… resurrected?

I decided to raise the bar on my workstation and go for something with a little more grunt, and that would be up to the job for the next 2–3 years.