When a Swiss goes Awry

A couple of months ago I read a rather interesting article about how cartographers working for Swisstopo (Swiss Federal Office of Typography) hide illustration on Switzerland’s official maps.

The same story reappeared recently here.

Those articles (especially the first) are full of funny facts about this most mysterious profession: the cartographer.

For instance, a hidden illustration, it is believed, is put on a map when a cartographer is about to retire in order to prove his or hers superior wit — because, if the illustration indeed is published, the cartographer has eluded a rigorous system.

At other times, a tiny mistake is intentionally made so that the cartographer might prove if someone has plagiarised his or hers maps.

It’s weird. The cartographers, who are, according to Professor Lorenz Hurni, of ETH Zürich, « quite meticulous, really high-precision people, » to me, they have an aura of mystery.