print preview

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.

Extracts from a GNSS antenna at an AGNES station, a geoid and a triangulation
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 do you inform people about your location? As a rule you give them an address or describe your surroundings. With the aid of coordinates, however, you can accurately indicate the position of a...

Geodetic Reference frames

The realisation and utilisation of geodetic reference systems for practical surveying, for the basis of geographic information systems (GIS) and for cartography is made possible by using geodetic...

Permanent GNSS networks

Permanent GNSS stations form the modern-day reference points for positioning and surveying. GNSS receivers located at several thousand stations throughout the world permanently receive signals from...


The geoid is a selected equipotential surface of the earth's gravity field and serves as the reference surface for height determination. It can be considered as an idealised continuation of the mean...

Geodetic Reference systems

A geodetic reference system defines a spatial coordinates system (origin and orientation of coordinate axes) for indicating spatial positions (location, height) and gravity of points. This definition...

Zimmerwald geostation

The Zimmerwald geostation is the fundamental point and most important reference point for the Swiss geological survey. It secures the connection to the global networks.

Observation procedures

In addition to the conventional surveying procedures, namely triangulation and levelling, surveying using GNSS technology plays a central role at the Zimmerwald geostation.


Frequently asked questions concerning geodesy, surveying and navigation.

Cadastral Surveying

The Swiss cadastral survey safeguards landownership and is the basis for numerous other geographic information tools and applications for both professional and private use.

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


Show map