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The «Land surveyors’ concordat», an initiative by the Cantons for harmonization

Following the initiative of the canton of Aargau, several cantons adopt the «Land surveyors’ concordat», which pursues the objectives of freedom of professional movement and a common system of examination of land surveyors, and lays down uniform regulations for surveying procedures.

The process of cadastral mapping using plane table surveys gradually gives way to polygonal traverse procedures.

From the mid-19th century

Surveys are carried out in the cantons, but in general these are isolated and uncoordinated. With the major urban development that begins to take place around 1850, the recording of legal land ownership rights gains higher importance than the taxation register. On 16 April 1860, the «Law on the establishment of a land register» is adopted in Basel. The experience gained there is highly influential in the creation of the Swiss Civil Code at the federal level 50 years later.


Johannes Eschmann (1808–1852) closes the last remaining gaps in the 1st order triangulation. This task, comprising the calculation of the entire network, including the secondary triangulations, brings the triangulation work to a provisional conclusion. In 1840 he publishes this work as «Results of the trigonometric surveys of Switzerland»
(Rudolf Wolf: Geschichte der Vermessungen in der Schweiz, Chapter XVIII, Zurich 1879)


In 1804 the Parliament of the Canton of Vaud orders the survey of every municipality and the establishment of land ownership and valuation registers. Geneva follows suit between 1806 and 1818, and Basel from 1818 until its separation into two cantons in 1833. A cantonal surveyor is in fact appointed in Basel in 1806, although the first land parcel surveys do not take place until 1818.


In France, work is initiated in 1790 on a general survey of plots of land and the development of a cadastre. Following the invasion by Napoleon Bonaparte and the establishment of the “Helvetic Republic”, the idea of introducing a cadastre for the whole of Switzerland based on the French model is considered. However, the course of history prevents the creation of a centralised cadastre, and land surveying is developed at the cantonal level and in varying forms.

From the mid-17th century

Cadastres had already been compiled in the pre-Christian era in order to collect landownership taxes. From the middle of the 17th century, a number of large-scale plans are produced, which are also used as the basis for calculating tithes and interest payments to be made to a civil and/or secular authority.