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The map as a photograph: Theodor Scheimpflug’s balloon aerial photogrammetry

Michael Kempf

What if our maps were photographs? Wouldn’t it be astonishing to see the terrain in all its detail? And what if photography could also deliver a way to facilitate map production—making cartography almost as easy as taking a snapshot? It’s a concept we are well accustomed to now, but the prospect of a photographic double of the world had considerable novelty value at the turn of the twentieth century, when aviation was still in its infancy. The most impressive experiments in early photomapping were associated with the name of Theodor Scheimpflug, a former captain in the Austro-Hungarian army. Although he himself has since fallen into oblivion, his legacy remains in the Scheimpflug principle, a geometric rule which is well known among professional photographers and originated in his kite and balloon aerial photography.

Until his early death in 1911, Scheimpflug worked on methods of transforming aerial photographs into precise maps. He not only constructed camera equipment on his own, but also invented techniques to deal with the many distortions that inevitably appear in aerial views. Scheimpflug explained his thoughts on photomapping for the first time at a conference in Braunschweig (Brunswick), Germany, in 1897. His ideas sounded simple, but would be hard to implement: if photography were to be applied to the matter of cartographic rectification, maps would draw themselves, and map production would become automated. Extensive areas—Scheimpflug later thought of the colonies, in particular—could then be mapped very quickly: “The idea itself opens up a grand, exhilarating perspective; its conclusion, a vision, is the map as a photograph. It’s a long way off. And if I were to do no more than encourage experiments in this direction, I would count myself a fortunate man”.1

In the future, our maps will be photographs—a catchphrase, for sure; but could photography and cartography ever really be brought together?

Even though we know today that Scheimpflug had only limited success with his techniques in his own lifetime, his work reflects the expectations that photomapping was able to evoke in the early days of aviation. In this chapter, I wish to show the various blueprints for the so-called “Photokarten” (photomaps) that Scheimpflug developed in the first decade of the twentieth century. These maps ranged from precise likenesses of the ground covered—as the term just stated suggests—to more abstract visualizations in which aerial photography figured as a mere source material for further processing. In reference to the title of this anthology, Hybrid Photography, I will discuss the different techniques on which these images relied—photo combinations, cutouts, rectifications, inscriptions, and retouching in particular. Although Scheimpflug stressed the naturalness of photography, it shall be argued that his concept of

The map as a photograph 29 photomapping was not confined to imitation. Beyond his audience-grabbing balloon panoramas, Scheimpflug thought about how photographs might be enhanced to meet cartographic standards and provide tailored information.

A pioneer of aerial surveying

Born in 1865, in Vienna, Theodor Scheimpflug attended the city’s Akademisches Gymnasium, one of the oldest secondary schools in Austria, then the Marine-Akademie in Fiume, where in 1883 he was appointed a naval cadet.2 In 1888, after voyages at sea, he was promoted to “Linienschiffsfahnrich”, the highest possible rank for graduates of the Marine-Akademie. He was sent to work at the hydrographic office in Pola and, beginning in 1890, at the local naval observatory. In 1894, Scheimpflug obtained a captain’s license in the merchant navy. He asked the Imperial and Royal Navy for time off to graduate from Vienna’s business school and subsequently enrolled in mechanical engineering at the Technische Hochschule. It was there that he became acquainted with Eduard Dolezal, who was known to be a promoter of photogrammetry, the science of using photographs to take measurements. Scheimpflug accompanied Dolezal on several photogrammetric surveys and eventually, in 1896, the two men jointly filed a patent for a rangefinder with a telephoto lens. In 1897, Scheimpflug joined Vienna’s Militargeographisches Institut (Military Geographic Institute), but an early disagreement led him to ask for leave of absence in 1900: Scheimpflug, who was said to have a “self-assured, self-opinionated nature, [and] sense of intellectual preeminence”,3 felt hurt that in order to become a full member of the Institute he had to give up his naval rank for a more mundane army rank. Since his father’s death in 1899, the family inheritance had granted Scheimpflug the financial independence to conduct his photogrammetric studies, and so he fully retired from the Austro-Hungarian army by the age of 38, in 1904.

After his initial parting from the military in 1901, Scheimpflug used kites as a starting point for his experiments. It wasn’t until 1907 that he undertook three balloon expeditions to test his mapping method. The outcome of these test runs—and what can be defined as the first type of his photomaps—were star-shaped panoramic views that gave a true-to-life impression. The typical shape of Scheimpflug’s aerial photographs was a consequence of his self-constructed equipment consisting of seven separate cameras arranged in a ring around one camera in the center (Figure 2.1, top left). The photographs from the eight cameras overlapped each other and were combined only after the shots were taken. While the central camera pointed vertically downward, the outer cameras were inclined to take oblique photographs “in all directions towards the horizon”, which increased “the angle of vision to such an extent [as to] cover a circular area, the diameter of which is about five times the height of the camera above the ground, that is, about 2 square miles from a height of 1,500 feet, 8 square miles from 3,000 feet, 32 square miles from 6,000 feet, 128 square miles from 9,000 feet”.4 To bring the eight pictures of Scheimpflug’s aerial camera into one image, the oblique photographs of the inclined outer cameras had to be rectified first. The very fact of photo combinations shows that Scheimpflug’s photomaps, despite their homogenous impression, were by no means simple snapshots but—as will be further emphasized— synthetic images. But to understand Scheimpflug’s interventions in the photographic material, one must first understand the obstacles he faced given the techniques of photomapping.5

Photokarte von k

Figure 2.1 Photokarte von k. u. k. Hauptmann Th. Scheimpflug [Photomap of imperial and royal captain Th. Scheimpflug], undated. Teaching aid by Kaltschmid, wall chart no. 6,74.6 x 58.2 cm. Bundesamt für Eich- und Vermessungswesen Wien (BEV). © BEV 2018, N 39849/2018.

First of all, only strictly vertical photographs could be used for photogrammetric measuring. But keeping photographic plates in the correct position proved to be impossible, given the moving balloon car. Scheimpflug instead found a way to calculate the position of the plates in retrospect, if at least three triangulation stations on the ground could be found on the overlapping images from his aerial camera. If the exact geographic coordinates of these control points were known, the altitude, scale of survey, and the distance between two survey positions—all necessary data for further photogrammetric calculations—could be determined from the plates after the shot.6 Scheimpflug called this, the first step in his method, “Orientierung” (orientation), a fixed term in photogrammetry. The second step—which Scheimpflug called “Horizontierung” (leveling)—consisted of rectifying the eight inevitably distorted aerial photographs from his balloon camera and combining them in a single image that resembled a map. This latter step can be considered as the core of Scheimpflug’s method as it epitomizes his basic idea that photography should do most of the work in mapping. When Scheimpflug explained his concept for the first time in 1897, his words were reminiscent of the metaphor for photography of “nature as a drawing mistress”,7 often accredited to Henry Fox Talbot:

Shouldn’t it be possible to use light, which conjures images of the outside world for us, in an incredibly short time, on the photographic plate, also for this, hence to produce maps and plans by optical means, directly from the photographs?8

According to Scheimpflug’s rhetoric, the cartographer of the future—thanks to his loyal servant, light—would have only to supervise the mapping process. Scheimpflug accordingly endeavored, in the years after his keynote speech in Brunswick, to find photographic techniques for rectifying distorted aerial images. As early as 1902 he presented a prototype of the “Photoperspektograph” (Figure 2.1, top center), a machine able to correct even the most crooked pictures, which he had built himself after discovering the principle of oblique transformation. To illustrate how perspective aerial views could be transformed into the top views required by the cartographic standards of his day, Scheimpflug used balloon photographs of well-known sites in Vienna, the main cemetery, for example, or the Rotunda at the Prater, then the largest cupola construction in the world. These chosen locations were not only impressive examples in themselves; they also comprised geometric structures that could be easily compared with the map excerpts provided (Figure 2.2).

Theodor Scheimpflug, “Erste Versuche, Ballonaufnahmen geodätisch zu verwenden

Figure 2.2 Theodor Scheimpflug, “Erste Versuche, Ballonaufnahmen geodätisch zu verwenden: Die Rotunde” [First experiments to use balloon photographs for geodesic purposes: The Rotunda], probably from 1906. Wall chart. Technisches Museum Wien.

Scheimpflug revised the “Photoperspektograph” several times with his assistant Gustav Kammerer, finally arriving in 1908 at “Modell IV”, the so-called “Universaltransformator”; but the apparatus always basically consisted of a reproduction camera with two plate mountings which could be tilted toward each other at any angle.9 A plate with a crooked picture would be inserted in the first mounting in front of the lens and projected on the plane of the second mounting with a mercury lamp. By tilting the mountings and by moving the lens, the projection on the reproduction mounting could be altered in many ways, before a picture of it was taken on a fresh plate.10 If one followed this procedure with every plate, the oblique images from the seven inclined outer cameras of Scheimpflug’s panoramic apparatus could be transformed so as to match the plane and scale of the central camera’s horizontal perspective. After being thus rectified (i.e., corrected and realigned), the eight separate aerial photographs from Scheimpflug’s balloon camera were combined in a single image. Initially, Scheimpflug joined them manually using scissors and glue; but this led to visible seams, as an example from Vienna’s Technisches Museum shows (Figure 2.3a). Later, he found a way to merge the various images photographically in a photomap, which rendered the overlaps and transitions indistinguishable and reflected once again his initial idea: that photography should be applied to all stages of mapping.

Photographing completely flat terrain resulted in an instant photomap, claimed Scheimpflug; but if, instead, the terrain were hilly, the image of it would be distorted, because those objects at greater heights (i.e., located closer to the photographic lens) would appear bigger than those further away in the valleys. In this case, the different

(a) Theodor Scheimpflug, Panoramic view with contour lines, constructed out of eight aerial photographs, undated. 56 x 73 cm. Technisches Museum Wien

Figure 2.3 (a) Theodor Scheimpflug, Panoramic view with contour lines, constructed out of eight aerial photographs, undated. 56 x 73 cm. Technisches Museum Wien.

(b) Detail of Figure 2.3a

Figure 2.3 (b) Detail of Figure 2.3a.

levels of terrain would have to be cut out and rectified, one after another, then reinserted in the single photomap image—a step that Scheimpflug called “Zonentrans-formation” (zone transformation). It required the use of a stereo restitution device to measure the level lines of the terrain. The procedure implied a cartographic simplification of the photographic map sheet, as only a limited number of contour levels could be defined and rectified.

However, one cannot cut up the image into infinitely many, just mathematical levels, one rather wants to keep the photographic characteristic of the image. Hence, one must, as it is the case with common maps, restrict oneself to certain levels—adjusted to the map’s purpose—for the depicted contour lines; and for every zone that shall not be torn apart, to a median scale correction.11

The step of “Zonentransformation” also involved retouching because reinserting the rectified parts into the map sheet led to gaps and overlaps that had to be masked.

Finally, several of Scheimpflug’s star-shaped balloon aerial views were orientated to one another and combined to make a rectangular map—an image that looked like a single photograph of the earth’s surface but was in fact a mosaic of a large number of pre-modified images, defying in the process the notion of photographical indexicality.

Claims to a natural cartography through photography

The synthetic image of the “Photokarte” was contradictory to Scheimpflug’s rhetoric. In almost all of his articles the inventor emphasized that vividness, naturalness, and completeness (in his own words: Anschaulichkeit, Naturtreue und Vollständigkeit) were the main qualities of photomaps.

The final product ... keeps the character of a photograph and is just as vivid and true to nature as one, but it is in all of its parts to scale and therefore in geometric respect a proper map. This amalgamation of the pictorial impression of a photograph and the accuracy of a map with regard to all proportions might aptly be named a “photomap” (Photokarte). As experiments have shown, such a photomap enables every child to instantly recognize certain natural objects on the map, and therefore facilitates orientation immensely.12

If, as Scheimpflug argues here, even children were able to read an aerial photograph, the interpretation of a photomap would—so to speak—be no more than child’s play; and this viewpoint was echoed in an article by the then well-known cartographer and supporter of Scheimpflug’s photomap concept, Karl Peucker. Emphasizing that pictorial representations were intelligible to everyone whereas map signs relied on arbitrary conventions, Peucker claimed: “It stands to reason that one can recognize a topographic object incomparably more quickly by a view of it than by some symbol of the sort commonly found now in topographic maps”.13 Peucker hoped that photomaps would return to cartography the “lost natural graphicness”14 so admired in historical maps. Scheimpflug, on the other hand, believed his “Photokarte” was predestined for aeronautical charts. In his opinion, the true-to-life impressions rendered by photomaps were especially useful to orientation in the air. Balloon photogrammetry would “naturally lead to the introduction of the photomap, the more so because aircraft navigation will increasingly press for maps that resemble and are comparable with the bird’s-eye view”.15 With a map sheet that mirrored the ground the aeronaut would easily recognize the territory beneath him.16

So Scheimpflug and his supporters—namely, his brother Karl and his close colleague Gustav Kammerer, who continued research and marketing after Scheimpflug’s unexpected death in 1911—argued in general that a facsimile of the terrain constituted a superior map, a map in which, thanks to photography, every object would be contained. This claim to realism obviously echoed the popular belief in photography as a universal language, and the assumption that everybody can understand photographs because they “mirror” the outer world. But even in Scheimpflug’s lifetime, critics remarked that the interpretation of aerial photographs was challenging, as many objects look very different from above. As Scheimpflug—who lived off his inheritance—wanted to capitalize on his invention, his recurrent assertion of the inherent realism of his balloon panoramas might therefore also be read as a populist attempt to attract public interest.

If we regard Scheimpflug’s later blueprints for photomaps, it seems that he was quite aware of the limitations of photomaps for navigation. To counter criticism that aerial photographs were in general too confusing for quick navigation, he tried to bring his “Photokarte” into line with traditional cartographic conventions. I’d like to argue that this move (that seems regressive at first) touched on the hidden epistemic potential of the new mapping technology by adding diagrammatic elements. Despite his rhetoric of photographic naturalism, Scheimpflug’s concept of photomapping exceeded in practice not only the indexicality of photography, but also the idea of mimesis that had still informed his star-shaped panoramic views. From a semiotic point of view, Scheimpflug’s later photomaps defied simple categorization and constituted a hybrid image: something between index, icon, and symbol.

Processing and editing of the map draft

There are two terms that describe Scheimpflug’s “Photokarten” accurately, beyond their eye-catching impression of photographic abundance: scalability and adaptability. Even though Scheimpflug promoted naturalness and vividness as virtues of his photomaps, his refined method treated aerial photos more like a raw material that could be further processed for different cartographic purposes.

As mentioned, Scheimpflug stressed completeness (Vollständigkeit) as the third main quality of his “Photokarte”: in contrast to traditional maps, an aerial photograph would provide a full picture of the ground. But photographic completeness also had advantages for map production: by using aerial photographs as his source material, more map details would not entail more work for the cartographer. Scheimpflug’s colleague Gustav Kammerer remarked that photomapping implied “the incomparable acceleration of the survey and that unsurpassable wealth of detail in the survey picture, which will make it unnecessary from now on to switch from generalization to detail”.17 He emphasized that there was a significant difference between photomapping and traditional map production. In contrast to topographic maps, where the cartographer had to decide more or less in advance which objects were supposed to be map signs, Scheimpflug’s “Photokarte” was based on an analog picture—an aerial photograph—that later on was assured its capacity as a map by means of selection. The fact that all objects were already contained in the photographic source material meant the cartographer was at liberty not only to change the scale of his map but also to select its content, namely, by removing some elements and graphically emphasizing others. This is where retouching again came into play. Retouching allowed adaptation of the photographic map sheet that was universal at first—think of Scheimpflug’s star-shaped balloon panoramas—to different cartographic purposes. Scheimpflug argued that an aerial photograph, once taken, could be further used for a plethora of maps with different scales and functions:

The precision and wealth of detail in a photograph are far less dependent on scale than the precision and accuracy of a hand drawing are. Therefore, one can adapt a photograph at will to the most diverse needs simply by enlarging or reducing its size. Nor would it be a difficult matter for experts in all sorts of field to copy [herauszeichnen] what they need, from case to case, from a base map produced by photographic means, and to omit the rest.18

For a road map, the cartographer would highlight the traffic routes on the photographic map sheet; for an urban area development plan, he would emphasize buildings graphically and remove all accidental details, such as vehicles or a street market; in a military map, all strategic objects would have to stand out on the map sheet. There was even the possibility of producing a traditional hand-drawn map, as the photographic base map provided dimensions for all objects. The completeness of aerial photographs allowed specialists to adapt them for their own purposes. With photography as a basis, cartographic generalization—the selection of the information that should be represented in the map—could be repeated as often as necessary.

Rectifying the eight aerial photographs of the balloon camera and combining them in one integrated image was therefore only the basis for constructing the photomap. While these operations ensured that all parts of the map sheet were true to scale, they were normally followed by a number of tasks that brought the “Photokarte” into line with cartographic conventions. First of all, there was the case of tracks and watercourses that had been hidden by trees or rocks on the initial aerial photographs, and hence had to be mapped traditionally, using a plane table. The corrections were then inserted by retouching the map sheet; in so doing one could also bring in administrative boundaries or property lines. On the other hand, all accidental elements of the aerial photographs had to be removed—for example, vehicles that had been there at the moment of the shot, but also seasonal peculiarities, or shadows such as those at the edge of the woods. Just as in traditional maps, important traffic routes and settlements could then be visually highlighted. Since Scheimpflug wanted the “Photokarte” to be suited to aeronautical navigation, contour lines could be supplemented (Figure 2.3b). Finally, it was of course possible to add all kinds of inscriptions to the map, such as village or field names, or other traditional map signs. But making the aerial view more map-like also had a downside: some of these interventions drastically reduced the photographic impression (Figure 2.4). To keep the map sheet clearly arranged despite this amount of diagrammatic information, Scheimpflug thought of using several printing plates in different colors. He also thought of combining his “Photokarte” with Karl Peucker’s “Farbenplastik”, a map model based on hypsometric tints, to give the user a three-dimensional impression of the terrain.19 But to print such colored photomaps in a large number of copies would have been expensive; after


Theodor Scheimpflug, Photokarte [Photomap], c. 1912. Source

Figure 2.4 Theodor Scheimpflug, Photokarte [Photomap], c. 1912. Source: Josef Viktor Berger, “Hauptmann Theodor Scheimpflugs (f) Aerophotogrammetrie”, in Festschrift des k. u. k. Flugtechnischen Vereins anlässlich der Enthüllung der Gedenktafel für weiland k. und k. Hauptmann des Ruhestandes und Kapitän langer Fahrt Theodor Scheimpflug welche am 6. Dezember 1913, ll/i Uhr vormittags in Wien XVIII, Sternwartestraße 39 stattgefunden hat (Vienna: Eduard Sieger, 1913), n.p.

“Horizontale Vogelperspektive als Probe der Bildwirkung einer raumtreuen Photokarte

Figure 2.5 “Horizontale Vogelperspektive als Probe der Bildwirkung einer raumtreuen Photokarte (Landschaft am Nordhang der Leiser Berge in Niederösterreich), System Scheimpflug-Peucker” [Horizontal bird’s-eye view as proof of the visual effect of a photomap true to space (landscape at the northern slope of the Leiser mountains in Lower Austria), system Scheimpflug-Peucker], May 16, 1913. Trial proof, 28.7 x 38 cm. Bundesamt für Eich- und Vermessungswesen Wien (BEV). © BEV 2018, N 39849/2018.

Scheimpflug’s death in 1911, only one trial proof of the “Raumtreue Photokarte, System Scheimpflug-Peucker” was published. The contour levels were here brought out with a color scale from gray to yellow (Figure 2.5). Today, to an uninformed observer, they might just look like a discoloration of the map sheet.

Scheimpflug’s later map samples as precursors of GIS

Scheimpflug promoted the “Photokarte” as an almost true to nature image that delivers instant orientation (assuming that everybody understands a photograph); yet, in practice, he had to do a lot of editing to make his photographic material with its perspective view of the landscape suitable for cartographic purposes. While Scheimpflug’s star-shaped balloon aerial photographs conveyed impressive detail and invited users to make a close reading of the earth’s surface, not unlike the photographic maps on the web today, it can be argued that the hybrid variants of his “Photokarte” had a different epistemic potential given their blend of aerial photography and traditional elements of cartographic design. Scheimpflug called these maps too “Photokarten”, although it was difficult at times to even recognize their origin in photography.

Scheimpflug’s concept of photomapping therefore allowed for retention of any useful true-to-life impression in aerial photographs as well as for opportunities to consider these merely as raw material of specialized maps subsequently fleshed out with information from other sources and a heavy dose of retouching. In the latter case, Scheimpflug’s “Photokarten” could be considered perfect examples of Bruno Latour’s “immutable mobiles”: they are flat, reproducible inscriptions that can be easily reshuffled and modified, or varied in scale.20 Superimposing the basic photographic map sheet with images and data from other origins—whether through retouching or through the use of several printing plates with different types of information, such as roads, settlements, vegetation, contour lines, or further map signs—served to generate a new topographical knowledge. From that point of view, Scheimpflug’s hybrid images between index, icon, and diagram may be regarded also as prototypes of the cascading information we find today in geographic information systems (GIS). Not only the various conceivable inscriptions on a photographic base map, but also potential recombinations of the different thematic printing plates would have allowed for a steady creation of new map variations. From this perspective, reshuffling the printing plates that contained distinct map elements corresponds to what we know as the stacking of different information layers in digital maps today.

It has been stated that “the widespread use of images as maps is one of the most significant developments in twentieth-century cartography, a process that productively blurs the boundaries between graphs, maps, and images”.2* Why, then, did Scheim-pflug have only moderate success with his photomapping concept in his lifetime? He himself complained that land surveyors had no interest in a technology that might put them out of work.22 In addition, there were strong reservations about the practicality of Scheimpflug’s method and the general accuracy of mapping from the air.23 Maybe it was the inventor’s undoing to enter into competition with traditional cartography instead of promoting the “Photokarte” as an original image. When aerial photography did have its breakthrough, in World War I, it was less on account of its navigational advantages than of its indifferent depiction of the ground: a recording method unfamiliar in conventional cartography. What Scheimpflug had always emphasized as the naturalness, vividness, and completeness of the photographic image now made child’s play of tracing the enemy.


1 This chapter takes up some of the points I made in a longer text about early photomapping, “Zwischen Bildrauschen und Orientierungswissen: Theodor Scheimpflugs frühe Versuche mit fotografischen Karten”, in Zeigen und/oder Beweisen? Die Fotografie als Kulturtechnik und Medium des Wissens, ed. Herta Wolf, Studies in Theory and History of Photography (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2016), 219-243.

“Der Gedanke an sich eröffnet eine weite, berauschende Perspective; ihr Schlusspunkt, ein Zukunftsbild, ist die Karte als Photographie. Der Weg dahin ist weit. Und ich würde mich glücklich schätzen, nur die Anregung zu weiteren Versuchen in dieser Richtung gegeben zu haben”. Theodor Scheimpflug, “Die Verwendung des Skioptikons zur Herstellung von Karten und Plänen aus Photographien. Vortrag, gehalten in Braunschweig auf der 69. Versammlung der Naturforscher und Aerzte von k. u. k. Linienschiffsfähnrich Theodor Scheimpflug”, Photographische Correspondenz 35, no. 450 (1898): 121. All translations by the author.

2 For Scheimpflug’s biography, see Eduard Dolezal and Karl Lego, “Theodor Scheimpflugs Leben und Wirken”, in Theodor Scheimpflug: Festschrift zum 150 jährigen Bestand des

The map as a photograph 39 staatlichen Vermessungswesens in Österreich, ed. Bundesamt für Eich- und Vermessungswesen, Österreichischer Verein für Vermessungswesen, Österreichische Gesellschaft für Photogrammetrie (Vienna: Österr. Verein für Vermessungswesen, 1956), 5-15.

“Aber sein selbstbewußtes, rechthaberisches Wesen, das Gefühl einer geistigen Überlegenheit, führte immer wieder zu Differenzen mit seinen Vorgesetzten” (but his self-assured, self-opinionated ways, and his sense of intellectual preeminence, led repeatedly to differences with his superiors); ibid., 7.

Gustav Kammerer, “Geographical Charts Prepared by Aerial Photography”, Scientific American Supplement 75, no. 1949 (May 10, 1913), 300-301.

Scheimpflug’s method cannot be explained here in all its complexity. For an accessible description, see Karl Peucker, “Die Photokarte”, Streffleurs Militärische Zeitschrift 2, no. 12 (1913): 2119-2125; for a detailed explanation, see Gustav Kammerer, “Th. Scheimpflugs Landvermessung aus der Luft”, Internationales Archiv für Photogrammetrie 3, no. 3 (1912): 196-226; and Josef Krames, “Scheimpflugs Landesvermessung aus der Luft”, in Theodor Scheimpflug. Festschrift zum 150jährigen Bestand des staatlichen Vermessungswesens in Österreich, 63-79.

Peucker, “Die Photokarte”, 2121.

See Herta Wolf, “Nature as Drawing Mistress”, in William Henry Fox Talbot: Beyond Photography, eds. Mirjam Brusius, Katrina Dean and Chitra Ramalingam (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2013), 123.

“Sollte es nicht möglich sein, das Licht, welches uns die Bilder der Aussenwelt in unglaublich kurzer Zeit auf die photographische Platte zauberte, auch hierzu zu verwenden, d. h. direct auf optischem Wege aus den Photographien die Karten und Pläne herzustellen?” Scheimpflug, “Die Verwendung des Skioptikons zur Herstellung von Karten und Plänen aus Photographien”, 116.

See Theodor Scheimpflug, “Der Photoperspektograph und seine Anwendung”, Photographische Correspondes 43, no. 554 (1906): 516-531; Georg Zabystrzan, “Scheimpflugs Photoperspektograph”, Wiener Mitteilungen aus dem Gebiete der Literatur, Kunst, Kartographie und Photographie 18 (November 10, 1913): 641-647; and P. [Gustav] Kammerer, “Aérophototopographie, Photoperspectographe et Photocarte”, La conquête de Pair (March 1, 1913).

As the “Photoperspektograph” could transform any photograph, Scheimpflug pointed out that it might also be used to rectify the inevitably oblique views of wide house facades, extensive ceiling paintings, or large tapestries. Scheimpflug, “Der Photoperspektograph und seine Anwendung”, 6-9.

“Nun kann man aber das Bild nicht in unendlich viele bloß mathematische Schichten zerlegen, man will vielmehr die photographische Eigenheit des Bildes wahren und muß sich deshalb wie bei gewöhnlichen Karten auf gewisse, dem Zwecke der Karte angepaßte Stufen für die dazustellenden Schichtenlinien beschränken und für jede Zone, die unzerrissen bleiben soll, auf eine mittlere Maßstabsberichtigung”. Kammerer, “Th. Scheimpflugs Landvermessung aus der Luft,” 214.

“Das Endprodukt ... behält den Charakter der Photographie und ist ebenso anschaulich und naturwahr als diese, ist aber in allen ihren Teilen maßstabsrichtig und deshalb in geometrischer Beziehung eine richtige Karte. Diese Vereinigung der bildmäßigen Wirkung der Photographie und der Richtigkeit einer Karte in Bezug auf alle Größenverhältnisse könnte man vielleicht treffend eine ,Photo-Karte’ nennen. Eine solche macht es jedem Kinde möglich, wie das bereits Versuche gezeigt haben, bestimmte Objekte der Natur in der Karte sofort wieder zu erkennen, erleichtert demnach die Orientierung ungemein”. Theodor Scheimpflug, “Zur Kolonialvermessung aus der Vogelperspektive”, in Sonderabdruck aus Nr. 41 des Frankfurter Wochenblattes „Die Mainbrücke“ vom 9. Oktober 1909, n.p., archive of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, Allg. Akten 916/1912.

“Denn es ist begreiflich, daß man aus seinem Ansichtsbilde einen topographischen Gegenstand ganz ungleich schneller erkennt, als aus irgend einem Symbol, wie sie in den heutigen topographischen Karten üblich sind”. Karl Peucker, “Die Photokarte”, 2122.


“Sobald sich die Photogrammetrie vom Boden erhebt und zur Ballonphotogrammetrie wird, führt sie logisch zur Einführung der Photokarte, um so mehr, als die Luftschiffahrt immer mehr und mehr auf Ähnlichkeit und Vergleichbarkeit der Karten mit dem von oben gesehenen Bilde dringen wird”. Theodor Scheimpflug, “Die Flugtechnik im Dienste des Vermessungswesens”, in Buch des Fluges, ed. Hermann Hoernes, vol. 1 (Vienna: Verlag Georg Szelinski, 1911), 607.

  • 16 See Stefan Siemer, “Bildgelehrte Geotechniker. Luftbild und Kartographie um 1900”, in Konstruieren, Kommunizieren, Präsentieren. Bilder von Wissenschaft und Technik, ed. Alexander Gall (Göttingen: Wallstein, 2007), 69-108.
  • 17 “[D]ie unvergleichliche Verschnellerung der Aufnahme und jenen unübertrefflichen Detailreichtum des Aufnahmebildes, der es fortan unnötig macht, aus dem Generalisierten ins Detaillierte überzugehen”. Gustav Kammerer, “Flugwesen in den Kolonien”, Deutsche Kolonialzeitung: Organ der Deutschen Kolonialgesellschaft 29, no. 51 (1912): 879.
  • 18 “Die Genauigkeit und der Detailreichtum einer Photographie ist von ihrem Maßstabe ungleich weniger abhängig, als die Genauigkeit und Richtigkeit einer Handzeichnung. Man hat es daher in der Hand, innerhalb weiter Grenzen eine photographische Aufnahme durch einfache Vergrößerung und Verkleinerung den verschiedensten Bedürfnissen anzupassen. Auch würde es keiner Schwierigkeit unterliegen, daß die verschiedensten Fachleute sich aus einer Originalaufnahme, die auf photographischem Wege hergestellt ist, fallweise das herauszeichnen, was sie für ihre Bedürfnisse brauchen und das übrige weglassen”. Scheimpflug, “Die Flugtechnik im Dienste des Vermessungswesens”, 609-610.
  • 19 Kammerer, “Th. Scheimpflugs Landvermessung aus der Luft”, 217-219.
  • 20 Bruno Latour, “Visualization and Cognition: Drawing Things Together”, in Representation in Scientific Practice, eds. Michael Lynch and Steve Woolgar (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1990), 19-68, especially 44-47.
  • 21 Jess Bier, “Images as Maps”, in The History of Cartography, Vol. 6: Cartography in the Twentieth Century, ed. Mark Monmonier (Cnicago, IL and London: The University of Chicago Press, 2015), 806.
  • 22 Theodor Scheimpflug, “Die technischen und wirtschaftlichen Chancen einer ausgedehnten Kolonial-Vermessung”, in Denkschrift der Ersten Internationalen Luftschiffahrts-Ausstellung (Ila) zu Frankfurt a. M. 1909, Vol. 1, Wissenschaftliche Vorträge, ed. Richard Wachsmuth (Berlin: Julius Springer, 1910), 180.
  • 23 See Max Eckert, Die Kartenwissenschaft: Forschungen und Grundlagen zu einer Kartographie als Wissenschaft, vol. 1 (Berlin: Walther de Gruyter & Co., 1921), 272-280, 285-288.

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