Swisstopo (Federal Office of Topography) is world famous for the quality of its official map series. Swisstopo’s shaded reliefs contribute to this fame. A small group of specially trained relief cartographers at swisstopo is responsible for the shaded reliefs.
It took Rudolf Morf about 300 hours to complete the original relief shading “Alpnach” (image size 70 × 48 cm). The shaded relief is incorporated behind the printed map, brightened and additionally enhanced with a light tone (yellow tone). Such an original relief exists for every single Swiss map sheet of the various provided scales – about 350 in total. swisstopo employs the airbrush technique.
“Carte du relief des Alpes” (section from the southern French Alps), original scale 1:1 million (size 124 × 85 cm), © swisstopo.
The swisstopo map with the smallest published scale is the “Carte du relief des Alpes” (displayed above). It is a mute map (i.e. without lettering), only containing a coloured relief shading with hydrographic, but no other topographic or thematic features. The relief depicting the whole alpine area was created in the years 1992/93 in two halves. Relief cartographer Paul Ehrlich used a brush for the mountain edges and an airbrush for the mountain slopes. The relief was created on silver bromide paper with Pelikan ink. Contour lines served as a base.