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swisstopo makes its geodata BIM-compatible

Ever more geodata now have to meet the requirements of building information modelling (BIM). With its geoBIM strategy, the Federal Office of Topography swisstopo is addressing this issue, has defined various fields of action and formulated corresponding measures. The aim is to develop national standards for coordinated high-quality data that can be widely used.

Together, geodata and building information modelling (BIM) data describe the surroundings: the BIM model of the swisstopo building is surrounded by swissBUILDINGS3D and the surface of swissALTI3D. Below ground the geological BIM model is depicted with shafts, groundwater, profile sections and surface layers. A fictitious tunnel runs through the underground.

What is at issue?

In the field of building information modelling (BIM) the situation is highly dynamic: on the one hand, the Digital Switzerland Action Plan1 requires federal building and real estate organisations to plan, construct and operate their buildings using BIM by 2025. On the other hand, swisstopo repeatedly receives requests to provide geodata for BIM processes.

Buildings are always embedded in a real environment, which is replicated in digital form with the aid of geodata. The combination of geodata and BIM project data is referred to as geoBIM. This involves the combination of mostly 3D projects from CAD systems with data from geographic information systems.

swisstopo possesses comprehensive know-how in the field of modelling and standardisation of geodata models, both with its own data and with data from other sources that first have to be coordinated and processed as necessary – for example, from the geodata inventories of various cantons.

With its geoBIM strategy, swisstopo now aims to apply its technical expertise and experience in the field of standardisation of geodata in the area of geoBIM – throughout the country and to the benefit of the whole of society.

The geoBIM strategy does not stand alone, but is based on swisstopo geoinformation strategy for Switzerland, swisstopo Strategy 2025 and the cadastral survey strategy for the period from 2020 to 2023.

swisstopo’s management board approved the geoBIM strategy in April 2022.

Please see the “Fields of action” and “Links” for more information on the geoBIM strategy.

Fields of action

The geoBIM strategy contains seven fields of action in which swisstopo primarily intends to act:

  • Provision of geodata: 
    Processing and provision of geodata for use in BIM projects, whether as downloads or via a dedicated service.
  • Use of BIM data: 
    Use of BIM data for updating geodata, clarify possible data sources for this purpose, and ensure uniform quality
  • Provision of information: 
    Provision of information both internally and externally concerning developments in the field of geoBIM.
  • Study and Research:
    Obtaining findings, and developing and testing methods and data models. 
  • Supporting armasuisse Real Estate and FBREA: 
    Offer support in the areas of geoBIM as well as BIM.
  • Standardisation: 
    Advocating for (international) standards and harmonised data quality in order to simpli­fy the use of data throughout the country. 
  • Coordination: 
    Coordination of geoBIM activities in the federal administration and within swisstopo. Coordination and networking with the cantons and fostering other geoBIM activities. 

Coordination, provision of geodata, use of BIM data, provision of information, study and research, supporting armasuisse Real Estate and FBREO and standardisation are swisstopo’s fields of action in the area of geoBIM
swisstopo's fields of action in the area of geoBIM

For each of the fields of action, various measures exist that have been incorporated in the geoBIM strategy. Some of the measures have already been implemented, for example the provision of geodata by swisstopo in BIM-compatible formats, while others are currently in the development stage.


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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