The International Union for Geological Sciences (IUGS) and UNESCO initiated the «Via GeoAlpina» project in the context of the International Year for the Planet Earth (IYPE), which was announced by the United Nations in 2007. Various organisations from six alpine countries (Germany, Austria, France, Italy, Slovenia and Switzerland) are associated in the project.
Switzerland's participation is handled via the Federal Office of Topography (swisstopo) and the Swiss Academy of Sciences (SCNAT).
The Via GeoAlpina project is being implemented alongside the Via Alpina. This is an itinerary crossing all the countries of the Alpine chain from Trieste to Monaco via footpaths (www.via-alpina.org ), taking people to some of the most prestigious places of natural and cultural beauty.
For the first time, the Via GeoAlpina project brings a scientific perspective to the Via Alpina initiative. It seeks to develop and disseminate knowledge of Earth Sciences such as geology, geomorphology, hydrology, natural dangers and the uses of stone. As they walk along a marked footpath, tourists and hikers of all ages are informed about the history of the formation of the Alps and the secrets of the planet Earth.