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Published on 8 January 2024

Historical images

swisstopo’s image collection encompasses approximately half a million aerial and terrestrial images as well as photos documenting the activities of the Federal Office. The images of the landscapes from the 1920s through to the present day are used for a wide range of purposes. Since 2008, measures have been implemented to ensure the preservation of this unique cultural treasure that and to provide easy access to the contents of the collection. 

Examples of historical aerial photographs and terrestrial images from the swisstopo image collection in the form of a collage.

The aerial photograph from 1930 shows the Matterhorn with the Valais Alps.

8 January 2024

Aerial photos

Our aerial images are vertical or oblique high-resolution landscape photographs. They contain a great deal of information and are used as a valuable source for identifying dynamic processes, as well as for documentation and planning purposes.

Measurement image of the snow-covered Matterhorn. The frame marks of the measurement image can be seen at the edge of the photograph.

8 January 2024

Terrestrial images

After World War I and up to the beginning of the 1950s, much of the region of the Alps was topographically surveyed using terrestrial photogrammetry for the purpose of producing the 1:10'000 fortification maps and the 1:50'000 National Map.

8 January 2024

Technical images

The technical images, as they are known, taken from the 1880s onwards are the oldest sub-collection in swisstopo’s image collection. It includes about 40,000 photographic objects. The photos predominantly show points in the national triangulation network. This sub-collection also documents how people used to work. It thus tells the story of the adventurous life of national topographers.

Zurich Kloten Airport from above, photo from 1972

10 January 2024

A journey through time – aerial images

Go on a fascinating journey and travel back in time with the help of aerial images from swisstopo. Discover the history of Switzerland’s landscape as seen from the air.

Federal Office of Topography swisstopo

Infodesk history
Seftigenstrasse 264
3084 Wabern