ETH Zurich's Relief Map Collection is unique. Around twenty relief maps are on display in various locations in the NO Building, where the earth sciences are housed. And roughly sixty more, partly unpainted relief maps are stored at ETH Zurich or on loan to other museums.
Under the direct guidance of Albert Heim or on his initiative, numerous relief maps were sculpted, cast and painted geologically for the Zurich universities from around 1890. The depiction of geological-topographical phenomena in small so-called type reliefs is a hallmark of Heim’s work. Copies of some of these relief maps are located at other Swiss institutions today. More often than not, however, the Zurich piece remained the only example.
The oldest relief map in the collection is the depiction of the Basel Jura created by the famous geologist Amanz Gressly (1814 to 1865) from Neuchâtel in around 1860. Despite its simplicity, the piece is historically very interesting.