1809 - 1899

1832: Dufour appointed quartermaster general

Guillaume-Henri Dufour appointed quartermaster general (until 1847, and "Directeur de la Carte" until 1865) as successor to Johann Ludwig Wurstemberger (since 1831).

1837: Completion of triangulation

Completion of the first-order triangulation as a further basis for detailed surveys (since 1825/1832). 

1838: Foundation of the Federal Topographic Bureau

Guillaume-Henri Dufour establishes a topographic bureau in Maison Chossat, Place du Temple (today, Rue St-Victor 22) in Carouge (Geneva), the first forerunner of the present-day Federal Office of Topography. The Federal Topographic Bureau commences operation on 1 January 1838 (= official foundation date).

1838: Foundation of the Federal Topographic Bureau

Guillaume Henri Dufour establishes a topographic bureau in Maison Chossat, Place du Temple (today, Rue St-Victor 22) in Carouge (Geneva), the first forerunner of the present-day Federal Office of Topography. The Federal Topographic Bureau commences operation on 1 January 1838 (= official foundation date).

1838: Instructions for surveys in the Alps

Instructions for surveys in the Alps, 1:25,000 and 1:50,000. 

1838: Publication of topographic map of canton of Geneva

Publication of the topographic map of the canton of Geneva under the supervision of Guillaume-Henri Dufour. This map serves as the model for other works.

1839: Initiation of topographic surveys in the Alps

Initiation of the topographic survey in the Alps by various surveyors (until 1862). 

1840: Johannes Eschmann publishes results of trigonometric surveys in Switzerland

Johannes Eschmann publishes the results of the trigonometric surveys in Switzerland - the document that forms the basis for all other work on the planned map. It permitted the calculation of the altitude of the R.P.N. control point in Geneva as 376.2 metres above sea level. For modern-day comparison purposes, this figure may be regarded as the initial altitude for the Dufour Map. 

1841: Introduction of copper engraving

Introduction of copper engraving for the 1:100,000 topographic map. 

1845: First sheet of the Dufour Map

After a one-year delay, publication of the first sheet (no. XVII) of the 1:100,000 topographic map (referred to as the Dufour Map), printed by Rudolf Foppert in Zurich. 

1862: Specification of the height of the R.P.N. control point

Height of the R.P.N. control point in Geneva calculated on the basis of French levelling as 374.052 metres above sea level (publication, 1864). This triggers the precision-levelling survey. 

1863: Commencement of triangulation of own network

Swiss Geodetic Commission initiates the triangulation of its own first-order network within the scope of the central European arc measurement (until 1890).

1863: Federal Council names Dufour Peak

Federal Council names the highest peak to date on the Dufour Map as Dufour Peak.

1864: Precision levelling (Adolphe Hirsch and Emile Plantamour)

Decision to carry out precision levelling under the supervision of Adolphe Hirsch and Emile Plantamour, to commence in 1865 (until 1883).

1865: Hermann Siegfried appointed head of Federal Topographic Bureau

Hermann Siegfried appointed head of the Federal Topographic Bureau (until 1879) as successor of Guillaume Henri Dufour (since 1838).

1865: Publication of last sheet of Dufour Map

Publication of last sheet (no. XIII) of the Dufour Map. Total of 57,952 copies printed since 1845.

1867: Publication of first sheet of general map

Publication of first sheet (no. II) of the 1:250,000 general map.

1868: Adoption of legislation governing continuation and publication of original surveys

Swiss Alpine Club successfully campaigns for adoption of legislation governing the continuation and publication of the original surveys.

1870: Publication of the 13 first sheets of the topographic atlas

Publication of the first 13 sheets of the 1:25,000 and 1:50,000 topographic atlas (Siegfried Map). 

1878: Publication of overview map

Publication of 1:1 million overview map. 

1879: Calculation of altitude of R.P.N. control point by Siegfried

Hermann Siegfried calculates the altitude of the R.P.N. control point in Geneva as the starting point for height measurement based on precision levelling elements (but with the previous reference height of the Chasseral dating from 1840) as 376.86 metres above sea level (also referred to as "old horizon"). This figure is applicable for all published sheets of the Siegfried Map.

1880: Aarberg base line measurement

Aarberg base line measurement by Spanish General Ibañez as part of the central European arc measurement. 

1887: First maps with relief shading

Publication of first maps with relief shading (Oberland I and Jaun-Thun sheets, 1:50,000). 

1898: Systematic surveys of the national borders

Commencement of systematic surveys of the national borders. 


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3084 Wabern
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Federal Office of Topography swisstopo

Seftigenstrasse 264
P.O. Box
3084 Wabern

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