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CartophiliaMaps and the Search for Identity in the French-German Borderland$
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Catherine Tatiana Dunlop

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226173023

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226173160.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 19 May 2022

States Map Their Borders

States Map Their Borders

(p.19) Chapter 1 States Map Their Borders

Catherine Tatiana Dunlop

University of Chicago Press

This chapter begins the book’s exploration of Alsace-Lorraine’s cartographic archive with a discussion of scientific survey maps. Scientific mapmaking constituted an important first step in the visualization of modern European boundaries. In order to draw and demarcate their territorial borders, European states created new mapping institutions that trained professional corps of surveyors in the use of scientific instruments and triangulation techniques. Modern French and German governments both desired maps of Alsace-Lorraine that were mathematically precise, ordered, and void of any references to local cultural particularities. As a result, French and German surveyors—though they worked for rival states—produced nearly identical maps of Alsace-Lorraine and collaborated closely on joint border commissions. The French and German states’ gridded, homogenous maps of their disputed border territory were so similar, in fact, that they became objects of frequent transnational exchange, particularly in times of war.

Keywords:   surveyors, survey maps, scientific mapmaking, triangulation, border territory, border commissions, transnational exchange

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