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 make much greater use of the classical 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, 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!


February, 2017

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