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Portrait & tasks of the cadastral system

The Swiss cadastral system records and manages objects with a spatial dimension and makes them publicly available. The resulting data form the basis for other datasets and applications.

The earth’s surface can be classified on the basis of a variety of criteria, including:

  • Ground cover: forests, bodies of water, roads, buildings, etc.
  • Administrative units: cantons, municipalities
  • Land use and development planning: building zones, agricultural zones.

These divisions are designated as physical or legal land objects with a spatial dimension, depending on their nature. Borders are formed between two such objects, e.g. natural and municipal boundaries, and plots of land. These objects, together with their boundaries, are methodically recorded in a cadastre, where they are managed and made publicly accessible. The recorded data are official and legally binding – the state is liable for losses that are incurred due to incorrect cadastral data.

The Swiss cadastral system currently comprises three pillars:

A fourth pillar – a Swiss supply lines cadastre – is currently in preparation.

Management of legal objects with a spatial dimension

One of the main tasks of the cadastral system concerns the management, protection and publication of legal objects with a spatial dimension. Examples include:

  • Privately owned plots of land
  • Administrative units such as cantons, districts and municipalities
  • Protected zones such as nature conservation areas, and
  • Land use zones, such as development and agriculture zones.

In addition, mortgages encumbering land ownership are documented and secured: in 2020, these totalled more than 1,105 billion Swiss francs. In this way, the Swiss cadastral system makes the real estate market transparent and lays the foundation for investment and economic development.

Provision of basic data

The provision of basic data is also one of the main tasks of the cadastral system. The spatial data recorded in the cadastral system form the geometric basis for other geographic datasets and applications, as well as for the national geodata infrastructure. For this reason, the basic data must be absolutely precise, reliable and up to date.


Geodesy and Federal Directorate of Cadastral Surveying
Cadastral surveying and PLR Cadastre

Telephone +41 58 464 73 03




Terms and abbreviations used in the Swiss cadastral surveying system

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