The Land Survey of Pfalz-Neuburg, 1597/98-1604

Commissioner, Course, Personnel

The territory of Pfalz-Neuburg (Palatine-Neuburg) was highly fragmented. Its cartographic and textual registration took a quarter of a century in total. It was initiated by Count Palatine Philipp Ludwig (1547-1614) and can be divided into three phases:

Phase 1 (1579/84-1590/91) - the area around the residence Neuburg on the Danube:

The Swabian town painters Friedrich Seefried (1549-1608) and Philipp Rehle the Elder (d. 1598) delivered four large-format depictions. They showed the district courts of Neuburg, Höchstädt and Graisbach (the latter with internal an surrounding care offices) as well as the Reichertshofen district administration office. Cooperation with the artists who were in high demand at the time proved to be extremely difficult and costly for the Neuburg government. Probably for this reason, the land survey came to a halt for seven years after dealing with this part of the territory.

Phase 2 (1597/98-1600) - offices on the Nordgau:

The Regenstaufen pastor Christoph Vogel possessed knowledge about the lower crafts of surveying. As a Lutheran clergyman he was in any case subordinate to the palatine count of Palatine-Neuburg. Therefor he could be used cost-effectively as a geometer. From 1597 onwards, the pastor surveyed all Palatine offices in the Upper Palatinate, using no-longer known methods. In addition, he recorded the only partially Palatine-Neuburg dominion of Breitennegg as well as the "foreign" offices of Hohenfels (Electoral Palatinate) and Hohenburg a.d. Nordgau (Prince-bishopric Ratisbon). The latter was partly due to practical considerations (common borders) and partly to certain expansion efforts of the palatine count. In addition to the material for the maps, the late humanistic theologian composed so-called "office descriptions". Matthäus Stang, who had previously worked as an assistant in the Palatine-Neuburg building administration, was responsible for the graphic implementation of Vogel's map sketches. This explains his sober, reduced style compared to that of the artists.

Phase 3 - Palatine-Sulzbach (1602-1604):

In 1602-1604, Vogel and Stang took care of the survey of a small part of the principality of Palatine-Sulzbach, which fell back to Palatine-Neuburg in 1604 (Sulzbach Regional Court with the Hofmark Eismannsberg and the administrative offices Hilpoltstein, Allersberg and Heideck).


An overall assessment of the quality of the Pfalz-Neuburgische Landesaufnahme (land survey of Palatine-Neuburg) is still pending. Comparable to other early modern land surveys, it cannot compete with the Bavarian map of Philipp Apian (1531-1589) in geodetic terms. For example, the correction of the distortion caused by the earth's curvature is missing. Also, the distance indication yielded only approximate values due to inaccurate methods (presumably on horseback, on foot etc.). In particular the early Vogel-Stang maps show clear weaknesses in relation to distances and directions. However, the recording of an entire territory in accordance with a reasonably uniform, large scale and with a high density of place and field names at this early point in time represents per se a major achievement.

Sarah Hadry

The other "Early Modern Land Surveys" available in bavarikon

>> "Early Modern Land Surveys" is a project of the Generaldirektion der Staatlichen Archive Bayerns (Directorate Generalof the Bavarian State Archives). This collection combines unique pieces of the Bayerisches Hauptstaatsarchiv (Bavarian Main State Archive), the Staatsarchiv Amberg (Amberg State Archive), the Staatsarchiv Augsburg (Augsburg State Archive), the Staatsarchiv Bamberg (Bamberg State Archive), the Diözesanarchiv Eichstätt (Eichstätt Diocesan Archive), the Stadtarchiv Kronach (Kronach City Archive), the Staatsarchiv Nürnberg (Nuremberg State Archive), the Bayerischen Staatsbibliothek (Bavarian State Library), the Staatsbibliothek Bamberg (State Library Bamberg), and the Historischer Verein für Oberpfalz und Regensburg (Historical Association for Upper Palatinate and Regensburg).