The Cordillera Huayhuash Climber’s Map: Digital Alpine Cartography with Imperfect Data

Martin Gamache
Digital Cartographer
Alpine Mapping Guild & Boston Redevelopment Authority
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This paper will examine the issues involved in creating a topographic map for an audience of recreationists (climbers, trekkers, and hikers) for a remote mountain area of Peru. The Cordillera Huayhuash, a subrange of the Cordillera Occidental of the Peruvian Andes, is a compact but impressive massif located a few kilometers south of the better known Cordillera Blanca. Like its sister range it was initially surveyed and mapped in the 30’s by an Österreichischen Alpenverein (Alpenvereinskarte/ D.O.A.V.) party. Unlike the D.O.A.V. sheets (Cordillera Blanca North and South) which cover the Cordillera Blanca and are in the process of being updated and reissued, it may be years before the Cordillera Huayhuash sheet is revised by the prestigious European group. Since the 30’s however, the range has been remapped by the Peruvian I.G.N. at 1:100,000 scale. The two map sheets covering the range, while useful, do not meet the requirements of climbers and hikers. Other recreational maps also fail to meet the needs of this special group of users.

In the fall of 1999 the Alpine Mapping Guild obtained digital topographic data to the Cordillera Huayhuash and has been preparing a shaded relief topographic map of the range. Initial quality control verification work was done in the field during the 2000 climbing season by the AMG. A first edition of the map is planned for release in late spring of 2002.This paper reviews previously available maps to the areas and how the AMG map improves upon this work to serve its audience’s special needs. We will also examine the challenges encountered while developing a map with data initially obtained from “backdoor” sources and the solutions used to develop a final map product.

Keywords: Cordillera Huayhuash, Andean Cartography, Rural Latin American Toponymy, AMG field verification, Shaded relief generation, Special cartographic needs of climbers/hikers, MAPublisher.