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Practical examples of time series and earlier geodata

Earlier swisstopo data can be used as the basis for a broad variety of applications. Below are a few examples of how geodata can be put to practical use. Earlier data and geodata time series are important bases for reconstructing historical landscapes.

Cantonal border on Plaine Morte glacier

The Dufour and Siegfried maps played an important part in the 1994 ruling of the Federal Supreme Court concerning the canton to which the Plaine Morte glacier belongs.

Cantonal border on Plaine Morte glacier (DE)

Permafrost: Bonnard glacier near Zinal

The Alpine research centre, CREALP, is studying the long-term behaviour of the Bonnard glacier to the east of Zinal (canton of Valais). Based on sheet 528 (Evolène) of the Siegfried Map, the 1878 status of the glacier was compared with the 2005/2009 geodata, which show that the ice has disappeared.

Inventory of Historical Transport Routes through Switzerland

The preparation of the Swiss Inventory of Historical Transport Routes (DE) would be inconceivable without referring to earlier maps. In addition to early general and detailed maps, the most important basis for this inventory is the Siegfried Map. The resulting “inventory” maps are based on the 1:25,000 National Map.


Cadastre of polluted sites 

Based on the Environmental Protection Act, the federal government issued an Ordinance on the Decontamination of Polluted Sites, which requires cantonal authorities to prepare a cadastre of such sites. But since information obtained from the various land owners, municipalities and earlier expert reports is often contradictory, the cantonal authorities need verifiable information, for which purpose they rely on aerial images provided by swisstopo.

Federal Office for the Environment inventory of polluted sites

Swiss National Park “GIStory” project 

The Spatial Information division of the Swiss National Park is studying changes in the landscape, and for this purpose it is comparing terrestrial photos taken by swisstopo during the 1930s with up-to-date photos of the same regions.

GIStory project

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
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Federal Office of Topography swisstopo

Seftigenstrasse 264
P.O. Box
3084 Wabern

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