Eduard Imhof – Swiss Cartographer (Video)

Eduard Imhof – Swiss Cartographer

A tv documentary on the Swiss cartographer Eduard Imhof.

In Swiss German but this English sub-title caught my eye:

But what can be extracted again from the map is also important.

A concern that should be voiced with attractive but complex visualizations.

The production of topographical maps at differing scales is a recurring theme in the video.

How to visualize knowledge at different scales is an open question. Not to mention an important one as more data becomes available for visualization.

Imhof tells a number of amusing anecdotes, including answering the question: Which two cantons in Switzerland have the highest density of pigs?

Enjoy!

For background:

Virtual Library Eduard Imhof

Eduard Imhof (1895-1986) was professor of cartography at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich from 1925 – 1965. His fame far beyond the Institute of Technology was based on his school maps and atlases. In 1995 it was 100 years since his birthday. On this occasion several exhibitions celebrated his life and work, among others in Zurich, Bern, Bad Ragaz, Küsnacht/ZH, Barcelona, Karlsruhe and Berlin. The last such exhibition took place in summer 1997 in the Graphische Sammlung of the ETH. There it was possible to show a large number of maps and pictures in the original. At the conclusion of the exhibition Imhof’s family bequested his original works to the ETH-Bibliothek Zurich. Mrs. Viola Imhof, the widow of Eduard Imhof, being very much attached to his work, had a major part in making it accessible to the public.

Imhof wie ein Kartographische Rockstar

Eduard Imhof was born in Schiers on 25 Jan 1895 to the geographer Dr. Eduard Imhof and his wife Sophie.1 At the age of 19 he enrolled in ETH Zürich,2 and after several interruptions for military service, was awarded a geodesist/surveyor diploma in 1919.

He returned to ETH as an assistant to his mentor Prof. Fridolin Becker, himself a cartographic god widely viewed as the inventor of the Swiss style shaded relief map.3 In 1925, the year after Becker’s death, Imhof became an assistent professor and founded the Kartographische Institut (Institute of Cartography). Although the Institute was initially little more than a hand-painted sign above his small office, it was nevertheless the first of its kind in the world.

In 1925 he produced his first major work – the Schulkarte der Schweiz 1:500 000 (the School map of Switzerland). Over the years he would update the national school map several times as well as produce school maps for nearly half of the cantons in the Federation. He even did the school map for the Austrian Bundesländer of Vorarlberg. (footnotes omitted)

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