Open print view

Landscape memory

swisstopo has been documenting Switzerland’s topographic development for around 175 years. Preserving various geodata and making them available in the form of time series has resulted in a landscape memory of Switzerland that traces all the changes and developments over a lengthy period of time.

Comparing two Dufour maps (1930/1934) before and after the impound of the Sihlsee at Einsiedeln

Diversity of the landscape memory

The sets of topographic maps, which have been documenting the changes in the landscape since the 1840s, make a significant contribution towards the landscape memory, as do many other geodata, for example in the form of time series of maps, aerial images and height models. The evolution of the Swiss landscape is being documented both on and beneath the surface. 

Forecasting future developments

Based on the documentation of past developments, for example housing development including aspects such as urbanisation and urban sprawl, it is possible to draw conclusions regarding the future development of our living space. In these forecasts it is possible to depict how a given region could look in the future. In this way, future developments can be anticipated in advance so that adaptation measures can be planned at an early stage.

Changes in the natural environment

In addition to helping us predict future housing development, the landscape memory also enables us to trace natural changes, for example glacier retreat, the spread of forests or changes in river courses.  

Time series

The term “time series” refers to a chronologically arranged set of geodata. Time series exist for practically all swisstopo geodata and products that are stored and made available to users.

Practical examples of time series and earlier geodata

Older swisstopo geodata can be used as a basis for a wide variety of applications - here are some examples. Earlier geodata or time series of geodata form important bases for reconstructing past...

Long-term conservation

swisstopo is obliged by the geoinformation legislation to guarantee the availability of its official geodata. Long-term conservation ensures that the geodata remains usable over time.


Federal Office of Topography swisstopo Seftigenstrasse 264
P.O. Box
3084 Wabern
+41 58 469 01 11
+41 58 469 04 59


Opening hours

Monday to Thursday
7.45 to 11.45 a.m.
1.30 to 5 p.m.
7.45 to 11.45 a.m.
1.30 to 4 p.m.

Map collection – enquiries by phone:

Mondays and Thursdays
10 to 11.45 a.m.

Federal Office of Topography swisstopo

Seftigenstrasse 264
P.O. Box
3084 Wabern

Show map