Guillaume Henri Dufour: topographical map of Switzerland 1:100 000. page 8, Aarau, Lucerne, Zug, Zurich. (Printed in 1926)

The Dufour Map (surveyed and published at the behest of the Swiss Federal authorities, recorded under the supervision of General G.H. Dufour, first edition 1845–1865, updated until 1939) documents the settlement and landscape development of modern Switzerland in the 19th century. Epic feats of engineering like the Linthwerk had already been completed, others were still under construction, such as the reservoirs in the Alpine valleys and the corrections of the Aare and Rhine rivers. The detail shown highlights how there are still kilometres of uninhabited areas between the City of Zurich and today’s outlying suburbs.


Zurich and surroundings, detail from the Dufour Map, 1926

The Dufour Map – Switzerland’s first official map series – was created based on the federal and cantonal records. The original records were compiled on a scale of 1:25,000 (in the flat country) and 1:50,000 (in the mountains). However, the map was published on a scale of 1:100,000, with Switzerland’s territory was spread across 25 pages. Maps on the scale of the original records were published as the Siegfried Map from 1870. The Dufour Map was produced using a copperplate printing method, initially in monochrome, later in two and three colours.

The mostly hilly and mountainous terrain is depicted with hachures, creating a particularly three-dimensional effect. Dubbed “Swiss style”, this received much praise and won the Topographical Office several international awards.

ETH Library’s Map Collection contains various editions of the map series.

The map series can be searched for on our Search Portal and viewed in the Reading Room Collections and Archives.

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