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Historical images

swisstopo’s image collection is a unique cultural treasure that encompasses approximately half a million aerial and terrestrial images as well as photos documenting the activities of the Federal Office. The images of the landscapes from the 1920s through to the present day are used for a wide range of purposes. Over the next few years, a special plan is to be implemented to ensure that the valuable originals are carefully preserved and easily accessible.

Examples of historical aerial photos and terrestrial images of swisstopo’s image collection, represented in form of a collage.

Our aerial images are vertical or oblique high-resolution landscape photographs. They contain a great deal of information and are used as a valuable source for identifying dynamic processes, as well as for documentation and planning purposes.

The terrestrial images were used as the basis for producing the 1:50,000 National Map and the 1:10,000 fortification maps in the period from 1915 to 1947.

Preservation and accessibility measures

Many of the valuable originals are endangered due to age-related deterioration and frequent use. In view of this, a plan to preserve and showcase them is to be implemented over the next few years, and at the same time, digitisation will greatly improve the accessibility of the numerous images.

A table displays the number of aerial photos and terrestrial images of swisstopo’s image collection due to different base materials and years of origin.
Key data of the image collection

Aerial photos

Our aerial images are vertical or oblique high-resolution landscape photographs. They contain a great deal of information and are used as a valuable source for identifying dynamic processes, as well...

Technical images

The technical images, as they are known, taken from the 1880s onwards are the oldest sub-collection in swisstopo’s image collection. It includes about 16,000 photographic objects. The photos...

Terrestrial images

After World War I and up to the beginning of the 1950s, much of the region of the Alps was topographically surveyed using terrestrial photogrammetry for the purpose of producing the 1:10,000...

Conservation and accessibility measures

It is important for historical images of the landscape, which represent a valuable cultural treasure, to be carefully preserved and made generally accessible. In order to achieve this objective,...


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

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Relevant authority

Topography
Geodata Distribution
E-mail

Federal Office of Topography swisstopo

Seftigenstrasse 264
P.O. Box
3084 Wabern

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