Existing Cliff Representations in Topographic Maps and their Ability to be Generated Digitally

Tobias Dahinden dahinden@karto.baug.ethz.ch
Institut für Kartographie
HIL G14.2
ETH Hönggerberg
8093 Zürich


The representation of cliffs on topographic maps is, probably, one of the most difficult cartographic endeavors. This reputation is based in large part on the art of painting of rock hachures, a style made famous by the Swiss Federal Office of Topography. This is an expensive method and the hachures that can only be produced by specialists [Hurni, 1995]. Another consideration is based on the fact that the most impressive rock faces typically occupy only a small area on any given map. The painter has to use graphical tricks to give rock depicted on a map equivelent visual importance compared to that observed in nature [Schrader, 1911].

During the last two centuries, cartographers have developed different cliff represention styles (see e.g. [Kraizsl, 1930], [Brandstaetter, 1969], [Hurni,1989]). In my paper, the different cliff representation styles are compared and, to the extent possible, an attempt is made to rank their effectiveness. The main consideration is whether representations are meaningful and illustrative. Finally, it is important to consider whether a rock representation can be drawn and vectorized with standart graphic software and how long a specialist would take to complete the task.