Understanding the Ecumene through Interactive Mapping and Movement-Sensitive Population Indicators: the Case of the Canton Valais, Switzerland


  • Andre Ourednik University of Lausanne, Switzerland


interactive mapping, web mapping, anamorphic cartograms, mobility, Valais, inhabited space


The canton of Valais can be considered, in many respects, as a synecdoche of the
Swiss territory. Presenting many linguistic, cultural or economical polarities that extend over short
distances, exacerbating the tension between the ecumene and the ereme, subject to rapid territorial
mutations, this region is also a cartographic challenge. Its non-homogeneously scattered population and
its complex mobility patterns in a highly differentiated physical space are difficult to synthesize on a
sheet of paper. The study discusses on how interactive mapping can contribute to the intellectual
appropriation of this territory. Its advantages are presented in terms of the simultaneous observation of
the physical space and its human settlement pattern. Second, the study discusses the differences
between topographic and demographic metrics of the mapping space, and show how interactivity can
contribute to their articulation, with regard to political mapping. Finally the problem of mapping
mobility is developed, by presenting three geographical indicators allowing summarizing the
fundamentally diachronic movement-data in a synchronic map. Each topic is emphasized by concrete
application examples drawn from a study of the canton of Valais their implementation being discussed
in the interactive web-mapping system ‘Géoclip’.