Monday, March 16, 2020

Secret Images in Swiss Maps

Byter Graham E, Master of Matters Trival, sent me an email: 
Hi Mr O, 

Thought that you would find this article amusing as it has all the aspects of a detective story and small details overlooked in plain sight ...... 

For Decades, Cartographers Have Been Hiding Covert Illustrations Inside of Switzerland’s Official Maps. They’ve eluded one of the most rigorous map-making institutions in the world to do so. 
On certain maps, in Switzerland’s more remote regions, there is also, curiously, a spider, a man’s face, a naked woman, a hiker, a fish, and a marmot. These barely-perceptible apparitions aren’t mistakes, but rather illustrations hidden by the official cartographers at Swisstopo in defiance of their mandate “to reconstitute reality.” 
Thanks Graham. 

Graham provided me a number of photographs and these are posted below. 

The Swiss mapping site, Swisstopo, has its own story about these inserted images, at: 

The following comment is from that site: 
Landscapes change with urban development or climatic variations for example, and maps need updating. Maps and their contents are reworked during the updating process. In rare cases, just like an artist or a graphic designer, cartographers give free rein to their imagination and hide drawings that are hard to find but always relate to their environment.

These drawings in no way detract from the precision and details of our maps, nor from the safety of their users. They just add a touch of mystery to these national symbols. 


That was the main course, here are some map comments to finish off, dessert as it were:

I love my map. I’d be lost without it. 

Yorkshire Constabulary have had all of their maps stolen. 
A spokesman said that they are searching for Leeds. 

I bought a map from Bono. It’s rubbish. 
All the streets have no name, and I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.

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