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An app as smart as swisstopo

It’s never been so easy to plan a walk or bike ride. The swisstopo app acts as your expert guide, surprising you in the process with its wide range of features. The ingenious product has scooped the Master of Swiss Apps award.

27.04.2022 | DKW

swisstopo App

The swisstopo app marks the dawn of a new age. All you need is a few hand movements and, hey presto: your trip from A to B is all planned for you – in a matter of seconds. Once you’ve opened the app and selected the “Tours” feature, you can trace the general direction you want to take on the digital map using your finger. Your “guide” will then give you precise details of your route, any climbs and descents, and how long your trip will take – adjusted to suit your individual pace. As well as summer and winter hikes, it also works for journeys by bike. The service is powered by swisstopo’s comprehensive geodata: “The app allows you to use the whole of Switzerland as a digital map free of charge,” says Christoph Streit, Head of Product Management – Cartography at swisstopo. Maps can also be downloaded, making them available offline too. Put simply, the app is a smart solution to some complex problems.

swisstopo App

Straightforward and versatile

The swisstopo app has been well received by users, as the latest figures show: since launching in July 2020, it has already been downloaded 1.2 million times and is used an average of 75,000 times a day. This is likely to be due partly to its ease of use because, as well as being directed at the younger generation, the app was also designed with older target groups in mind, who are somewhat less digital-savvy. Another of the product’s compelling characteristics is its versatility: besides the trip guide, it boasts numerous other features such as the integration of public transport stops with a direct link to Switzerland’s online timetable, information on road and path closures and livestock guardian dogs as well as Panorama mode, which shows local mountain peaks in their correct locations together with their names. Anyone wishing to explore their chosen destination before setting off on their trip can use the 3D feature to take a virtual tour.

Interesting comparisons

The swisstopo app was developed by the company Ubique Innovation on behalf of and in partnership with the Federal Office of Topography and is based on cutting-edge technology. However, this does not mean that venerable old treasures such as the historic Dufour and Siegfried Maps and 20th-century aerial photographs cannot be made use of digitally. Quite the reverse, in fact: “The app opens up some interesting possibilities for comparison,” Christoph Streit explains. For instance, you can compare modern-day maps with their historical counterparts or with aerial photographs and thus trace the development of a particular area over time. There is also a whole section in the app dedicated to aviation, where fans of the topic will find a wealth of information about airspace, protected areas and obstacles.

The swisstopo and Ubique team celebrate the victory of swisstopo-App

Triple award-winner

The product has been designed as a complete solution for harnessing geodata, which the general public can access and benefit from directly at any time. The uniqueness of the app is illustrated by the clutch of awards that swisstopo won in 2021: the Prix Carto Digital was followed by a gold medal for functionality in the Best of Swiss Apps awards and, hot on its heels, by the Master title from the same label. However, the people behind the app have no intention of resting on their laurels and are already thinking about creating additional features such as a “smart story”. This would allow you to record your trip on a map, enhance it with pictures and videos, and then share it as a story on social media. However, there is a great deal of planning, testing and analysis still to do before that stage is reached. “Everything that’s integrated into the app first needs to be checked really carefully with the help of reviews and test versions,” Christoph Streit explains. And quality needs to be up to Master standards as well.


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Federal Office of Topography swisstopo Seftigenstrasse 264
P.O. Box
3084 Wabern
Tel.
+41 58 469 01 11

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Communication and Web
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Federal Office of Topography swisstopo

Seftigenstrasse 264
P.O. Box
3084 Wabern

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