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Surveying / Geodesy

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.

Geodetic surveying

The fundamentals of geodesy include reference systems, the definition of reference areas and map projection systems and their realisation in the form of reference frameworks, geoid models, control and permanent GNSS networks.  These are used for bringing spatial data (geodata) of all types into harmony with an unequivocal and precise geometric correlation with the European and global reference systems. Thanks to geodetic criteria and reference data for the national geodata infrastructure, it is possible to depict geodata and their national and international interchangeability in a homogeneous manner. 


How are coordinates calculated? The calculation of coordinates requires a coordinates system and a map projection method. Then control points have to be marked on the ground.

Geodetic Reference frames

The geodetic reference frame consists of a network of control points. Reference frames can be positioned locally or globally.

Permanent GNSS networks

Here you will find an overview of the GNSS stations in Switzerland. These stations form the reference points for positioning and surveying.


The geoid functions as the reference surface for height calculation. Geoid model CHGeo2004 is used in the Swiss national survey.

Geodetic Reference systems

In Switzerland we use national and global reference systems. Here you can find out more about the correlation between global and local reference systems.

Zimmerwald geostation

Zimmerwald geostation contains precise station coordinates, and functions as the fundamental station and most important reference point for the national survey.

Surveying procedures

Various surveying methods for collecting geodetic data are applied, depending on the specific task and desired degree of accuracy.


Here you can view answers from swisstopo to frequently asked questions concerning geodesy, surveying and navigation.

Cadastral Surveying

The cadastral survey safeguards landownership and forms the basis for geodata and standardised geographic information systems.

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


Relevant authority

Geodesy and Federal Directorate of Cadastral Surveying

Federal Office of Topography swisstopo

Seftigenstrasse 264
P.O. Box
3084 Wabern

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