MapCarte 19/365: Atlas of Switzerland 1961-1978 by Eduard Imhof, 1978


Eduard Imhof, Swiss cartographer, was asked to produce an “Atlas of Switzerland” in 1961. The atlas illustrated the country with its variety of nature, population, culture and economy in maps that exhibited the full expression of Imhof’s abilities. Supported by numerous Swiss scientists the first edition was finished in 1978 and published by the Federal Office of Topography. The maps are authoritative precisely because of this fundamental scientific basis and consultation but they are brought to life by the artistry of Imhof.

Imhof himself was an expert cartographer and artist. That combination is fundamental to understanding his work since the artistic dimension to his many works creates maps that are beautiful on the eye. Here, even a complex statistical map showing daily commuter patterns in 1960 mixes clear geometric point symbology with perfectly curved distributive flowlines. Text is kept to a minimum and the hillshaded backdrop provides a subtle ground to the thematic figural elements. This map is simply one example from an atlas that as a collection is clinically designed and represents the very best of atlas production.

This will not be the only Imhof in the MapCarte series.