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Underground space

As a consequence of the increasing scarcity of space in the heavily developed lowlands and the correspondingly high land prices, ever more buildings and public infrastructure facilities are now being constructed beneath the ground. To facilitate spatial planning, the Swiss Geological Survey carries out studies in order to obtain detailed knowledge about the space beneath the ground.

Geological profile of the New Railway Link at Gotthard


This task applies in particular to sites in central locations, the new underground railway stations in Zurich, underground bypasses on motorways (e.g. around Neuchâtel) and large-scale projects for speeding up rail transport. 

Detailed knowledge about the nature of the underground is already required at the preliminary planning stage for major infrastructure projects such as «Cargo sous terrain». Experts obtain valuable information from geological maps for the preliminary planning of roads, railway lines, tunnels, canal systems and gas pipelines.

And once they have an initial 3D underground model at their disposal, they can identify gaps and critical zones that call for additional geological studies, e.g. in the form of exploratory drilling. Key geotechnical data from rock formations provide civil engineers with initial indications regarding the specific heterogeneous properties of the underground.

Underground spatial planning is gaining in importance, since it is essential to avoid utilisation conflicts wherever possible between public and private interests. For example, it is possible that individual geothermal probes could restrict the ideal route for a planned tunnel. In view of this, geologists are now insisting that proposed corridors for the future needs of society should be reserved also beneath the ground.   

The Swiss Geological Survey compiles detailed geological information about the properties of the underground, which is essential for the planning and construction of large-scale underground infrastructure. 


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


Relevant authority

Swiss Geological Survey
Tel. +41 58 469 05 68

Federal Office of Topography swisstopo

Seftigenstrasse 264
P.O. Box
3084 Wabern

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