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Fundamental point

As the fundamental point, Zimmerwald geostation is operated jointly by swisstopo and the Astronomical Institute of the University of Bern. It is used both for national surveying and for research in astronomy and geodesy.

Zimmerwald geostation in winter
Geostation Zimmerwald in winter

Zimmerwald - source of the new national survey

Zimmerwald represents the modern «fundamental point» for the Swiss coordinates system. Here, numerous geodetic instruments perform a broad variety of tasks. With the introduction of the national survey 1995 (LV95), which is basically defined by a reference network comprising approximately 200 points in Switzerland, the original fundamental point at the old observatory in Bern was «transferred» to Zimmerwald. The old observatory in Bern no longer exists, but in the courtyard of the premises of the Institute for Exact Sciences at the University of Bern a commemorative stone bears witness to the former point of origin that for more than 100 years formed the starting point for the 1903 national survey (LV03).

Today, Zimmerwald geostation may justifiably be called the fundamental point for the national survey. Using various observation methods, including GPS (Global Positioning System) and SLR (Satellite Laser Ranging), the reference networks of the Swiss national survey can be connected to the European or global reference frames with a high degree of accuracy. Since these measurements are based on two entirely different methods, connections to other reference frames are independently corroborated. Both methods allow connections to be made with accuracy in the millimetre range.

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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