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Geoinformation and geodata

Between 60 and 80 percent of all political, economic and private decisions are spatially oriented. In everyday life, almost everyone uses geoinformation regularly, often without even realising it.

Geodetic national survey

Geodesy is the science of surveying and depicting the earth’s surface. Its purpose is to determine the shape of the earth (referred to as the geoid) and its gravity field, and any changes that take place. Geodetic surveying tasks include the definition of geodetic reference systems and the creation, updating and management of reference frameworks, as well as the marking and surveying of the national borders.


The topographic landscape model is the central instrument for the production of national geodata. It contains objects that shape the landscape, e.g. buildings, roads and bodies of water. These data are recorded, processed, managed and kept up to date by swisstopo, with a high degree of accuracy and in three-dimensional form, and are subsequently placed at the disposal of the various users. The topographic landscape model forms the basis not only for the production of the national maps, but also for a broad range of spatially-related applications.

Geographic names

Spatial referencing is one of the most important aspects of everyday life. It often determines our life and actions without being noticed. Verbal communication in association with topographic objects is difficult to imagine without the use of names. It is much easier to locate geographic units and elements with the aid of names than through the use of coordinates.

Maps & more

Maps depict the earth’s surface in a simplified form. We can use them as an orientation aid and as a means of maintaining an overview of our surroundings. Map apps for use on smartphones broaden the ways in which maps can be utilised. Historical maps document changes in the landscape.


The Swiss Geological Survey provides basic geological data of Switzerland. These data contribute to decisions on the appropriate and sustainable use of the subsurface, spatial planning, the extraction of mineral raw materials and new geo-energies. It also promotes geotourism and thus raises public awareness of the exciting history of our planet.

The Swiss cadastral system

The Swiss cadastral system comprises three pillars: the cadastral surveying, the Cadastre of public-law restrictions on landownership (PLR Cadastre) and the land register.

Sovereign borders

The term «sovereign borders» refers to the national borders as well as cantonal and municipal boundaries.

History and collections

The Federal Office of Topography swisstopo has a rich and successful history. In this section, you will find further information about the history of swisstopo and get insights into its historical collections.

Find out more

On this page you will find interesting information about the geography and shape of Switzerland, as well as about people and facts associated with swisstopo.You will also find articles from our annual publication «Folio». The various contributions deal with a different focus topic each year. «Folio» is published in paper form, as a downloadable PDF and in a more detailed version for the web.

Federal Office of Topography swisstopo
Seftigenstrasse 264
3084 Wabern