Swisstopo is the common name for the Swiss Federal Office of Topography (in German: "Bundesamt für Landestopografie". French: "Office fédéral de topographie". Italian: "Ufficio federale di topografia". Romansh: "Uffizi federal da topografia"). This name was chosen as a neutral name to avoid choosing a language when its website was launched in 1997.
The main class of products produced by Swisstopo are topographical maps on seven different scales. Swiss maps have been praised for their accuracy and quality. [
Edward Tufte. Envisioning Information. Graphics Press, May 1990. ISBN 0961392118. See also Edward Tufte's "Ask E.T." online forum: [http://www.edwardtufte.com/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=000051 A classic book: Imhof's Cartographic Relief Presentation] .]
* 1:25.000. This is the most detailed map, useful for a lot of purposes. Those are popular with tourists, especially for famous areas like
Zermattand St. Moritz. These maps cost CHF 13.50 each (2004). 208 maps on this scale are published at regular intervals. The first map published on this scale was "1125 Chasseral", in 1952. The last map published on this scale was "1292 Maggia", in 1972. Since 1956, composites have been published, starting with "2501 St. Gallen". They have the same information, but consist of several parts of regular maps combined, especially in tourist or urban areas. 22 composite maps have so far (September 2004) been published.
* 1:50.000. Since 1994, routes are coloured on these maps. It is marketed as "for hikers, Alpinists, cyclists, planners, tourists and explorers". 78 maps on this scale are published at regular intervals. Composites also exist, and are more frequent than the assemblages for 1:25.000 maps. As of September 2004, 24 composite maps have been published.
* 1:100.000. These are marketed as "Geographical regions of special interest to tourists on one map". 24 maps on this scale are published at regular intervals. 11 composite maps have also been published.
* 1:200.000. Switzerland and surroundings in four sheets (no composite maps).
* 1:300.000. A photographic copy of 1:200.000, with Switzerland on a single sheet.
* 1:500.000. Switzerland with surroundings.
* 1:1.000.000. Switzerland with wide of surroundings, from
Luxembourgto Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The numbering system of Swiss regular maps (apart from composites) is directly based on the geographical situation. A map number is always one higher than the map number of the adjacent map to the west, and one lower than the adjacent map to the east. From north to south, the numbers differ 20 for the scale 1:25.000, 10 for the scale 1:50.000 and 5 for the scale 1:100.000. However, as can be seen on the [http://www.swisstopo.ch/en/maps/lk/25overSE.htm Mapsheen Index Southeast] , there are some exceptions to this rule: Switzerland is a little bit too large to be only 20 1:25.000 maps wide. Instead of choosing another system, the map to the east of "1199 Scuol" is called "1199bis Piz Lad". The same is true for some maps at scale 1:50.000.
Hikingmap, these are published on the scale 1:50.000. They are based on the regular maps 1:50.000, but include information about which routes are good to walk. They also have information about public transport. These maps are published in collaboration with "Swisshiking".
Skitour map, 1:50.000. Based on the topographical map 1:50.000, but including information about steep slopes, ski routes and snowboard routes.
* Cultural Heritage, 1:300.000
* Map of
* Map of
Castles, 1:200.000. It is based on the topographical map 1:200.000, but includes information about castles, fortresses and ruins.
* Everest, in collaboration with a lot of other organizations, including the
National Geographic Society.
* Swiss Path. The "Swiss Path" is a
hikingtrail around Lake Urito celebrate the 700th anniversary of Swiss Confederation.
* Seeland-Trois lacs, 1:75.000, not directly based on any topographical map (e.g. it lacks contour lines). It was made for the "Expo. 02" which was in this region.
* Satellite map, 1:300.000.
* Community map, 1:300.000, with only political borders, no topographical information except for lakes.
* Einst und Jetzt (history map; 1:25.000): only Bern and Basel have been published so far.
* Land use map, 1:300.000, with statistical information only (no topographical information)
* Aeronautical map, 1:500.000, based on the topographical map 1:500.000, with aviation information.
* Glider chart (1:300.000)
* Chart of Air Navigation Obstacles (1:100.000)
* Solar Radiation
Early work and Dufourkarten
In 1809, the first topographical surveys of
Switzerlandtook place on a confederate, military level. They took place in the north-eastern area and were led by Hans Conrad Finsler. Measurements in the alpine region started in 1825 with triangulations by Antoine-Joseph Buchwalder. This work would be finished in 1837 by Johannes Eschmann. Directly hereafter, at New Year 1838, the Topographical Bureau ("Eidgenössisches Topographisches Bureau") is founded in Carouge, Geneve by Guillaume Henri Dufour. This bureau publishes its first map the same year, the "Carte topographique du Canton de Genève". Topographic surveys also start in the alpine regions of Switzerland. This has its first results in 1845, a year later than planned, when a map scaled 1:100.000 is published. This is the start of the so-called "Dufourkarten". The topographic surveys finish in 1862. To honour Dufour, the Swiss government decides to rename the highest peak on the "Dufourkarten" from "Höchste Spitze" to Dufourspitze: it still carries that name today. In 1863, the SAC published a 1:50.000 map of the region Tödi, based on unpublished survey material. A year later, the last map of the "Dufourkarten" is published, and one year later still, Dufour retires and Hermann Siegfriedbecomes the Chief op the Topographical Bureau.
Herman Siegfriedbecomes the Chief of the Topographical Bureau, and the bureau moves from Genevato Bern. Over the next few years, a composite map is published of Ticino, soundings start to measure the depth of the major Swiss lakes, and a first map is published scaled 1:250.000. In 1868, a Federal Act is passed to enforce the continuation of the initial topographic surveys, as well as the publication of the results. This results in new topographical surveys in 1869 and the publication of the first 13 "Siegfriedkarten" (1:25.000 and 1:50.000) in 1870. In 1878, a 1:1.000.000 map is published, and the next year, the height of the Pierre du Nitonis measured to be 376.86 metre. In 1880, Herman Siegfried is succeeded by Jules Dumur.
In 1895, the Topographical surveys for the "Siegfriedkarten" are finished. As of 1901, 581 sheets of the "Siegfriedkarten" have been published, with only a few individual more maps to come (there would be 604 maps in 1926). On old maps of the modern series, a reference to those maps can still be found: until the seventies of the 20th century, the "Siegfriedkarte" was the best scale available for some areas of Switzerland, and therefore used by climbers and other alpinists. The printing of the "Siegfriedkarten" would continue until 1952.
In 1887, the first maps with relief shading are published. In 1889, a photographic studio is appended to the bureau. In the years after 1894, a wall-map for schools is published, in response to a request from the parliament to do so. In 1898, the soundings of the major Swiss lakes are finished. In 1901, the bureau is moved into an independent division within the military, and the name "Eidgenössische Landestopographie" becomes customary, a name still used by some people until today, and a name which can be found on some older maps.
Hermann Kümmerlypublishes a relief wall-map for schools in the same year. In 1908, map trials are started to serve as a replacement for the "Dufourkarten". Two years later, trials start to replace the "Siegfriedkarten". Much of this military work would remain secret for many years. In 1913, 1922 and 1924, trials are done with aerial photogrammetry, first with balloons and later with aircraft, but only as of 1930 this is used for production of maps, and in 1940 terrestrial photogrammetry is abandoned.
21 June, 1935, a [http://www.admin.ch/ch/d/sr/c510_62.html Federal Act] (German only) is passed on the production of the new National Map series. This is the start of the modern maps, ranging from 1:25.000 to 1:1.000.000 (see above). Because of the political situation in Europe, work is started on the 1:50.000 maps. For this purpose, a 'M18d' Messerschmidtis bought for aerial photography. This is the first aircraft owned by the "Eidgenössischie Landestopographie". In 1938, the first map 1:50.000 is published: "263 Wildstrubel". From 1939 to 1945, all sales are suspended because of World War II. In 1939, the "Eidgenössische Landestopographie" also gets its first vehicle.
The first 1:25:000 map, "1145 Bielersee", is published in 1952. The last 1:25.000 map, "1292 Maggia", is published in 1979. This marks the finish of the lowest-scale mapping of Switzerland. The first composite in this scale, "2501 St. Gallen", was published in 1956. New composites still appear in 2004.
The 1:50.000 series was completed in 1963 with "285 Domodossola". With the publication of this map, the "Siegfriedkarten" have been entirely replaced. The first composite on this scale, "5001 Gotthard", was published in 1954. As of 2004, new composites still appear.
The 1:100.000 series started with "41 Col du Pillon" (1954), and finished with "47 Monte Rosa" in 1965. With this publication, the "Dufourkarten" have been entirely replaced.
The 1:200.000 series started with No. 3 in 1971 and finished with No. 4 in 1976.
The maps on the scales 1:500.000 and 1:1.000.000 were respectively first published in 1965 and 1994. With the publication of the latter map, the work required by the Federal Act of 1935 was finally finished.
Since 1951, different sorts of leisure maps have been published by the Federal Office of Topography. See above for a list of those.
In 1958, the coordinate system of the maps is changed. Before 1958, the centre of the coordinate system,
Bern, had coordinates (0, 0). From this moment, it has coordinates (600, 200). This is done so that any coordinate is either a x-coordinate or a y-coordinate: this prevents confusion about the order of the coordinates.
In 1968, the name officially becomes "Eidgenössische Landestopographie" instead of "Abteilung für Landestopographie", although this had been common practice for decades. The English name remains unchanged ("Topographical Survey of Switzerland").
In 1979, the "Eidgenössische Landestopographie" is renamed to the current name "Bundesamt für Landestopographie". See above for the names in other languages. Since 2002, the international name "Swisstopo" is acquired. This name had already been used since the homepage [http://www.swisstopo.ch www.swisstopo.ch] went online in 1997.
See also: [http://www.swisstopo.ch/en/about/gesch.htm Swisstopo - history]
Some maps produced by Swisstopo scarcely have any Switzerland on it. This is especially true for the scales 1:100.000 and 1:50.000. As can be seen [http://www.swisstopo.ch/images/maps/lk/100/mapview/45.jpghere] , the map "45 Haute Savoie" only has a very little spot of Switzerland on it, in the extreme north-western corner. The same is true for the 1:50.000 map [http://www.swisstopo.ch/images/maps/lk/50/mapview/285.jpg285 Domodossola] . In both cases, no 1:25.000 maps have been published for the corresponding part of the 1:50.000
Initially, the plan was to be more generous also for 1:25.000 maps. Thirty-one maps were once planned, most of which did not have a single km^2 Switzerland on it, that were never published. Some of them ("1158 Zeinisjoch") were up to ten kilometers away from the Swiss border. On old Swiss maps, one can still see the "Blattübersicht" were those are signified as "planned maps".
Some maps have been published in the past, but have been discontinued, also because they lack any part of Switzerland. "1035 Friedrichshafen" is an example of that. When one looks at the [http://www.swisstopo.ch/en/maps/lk/25overNE.htm Mapsheet Index Northeast] , there is no map to the east or to the north of "1055 Romanshorn". However, when one then looks at the area of "1055 Romanshorn", it can be seen that these maps do in fact exist, but do not have any Swiss land on the map.
* [http://www.swisstopo.admin.ch/internet/swisstopo/en/home.html Swisstopo] - homepage in English
* [http://www.swisstopo.ch/ Swisstopo] - homepage in German, English and French.
* [http://www.swissgeo.ch LdS online] - online maps of Switzerland, in French and German.
* [http://www.stub.unibe.ch/maps/ta/ Siegfriedkarte digital] - Maps, homepage in German
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