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Portrait & mandate of the Swiss cadastral system

The cadastral system makes the real estate market transparent and creates the prerequisites for investment and economic development.

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
  • Ownership: land, properties.

These divisions are designated as physical or legal land objects, depending on their nature. Borders are formed between two land objects, e.g. natural and municipal boundaries, and plots of land. The various land objects 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 comprises three pillars:

This system is used for managing, protecting and publishing legal land objects, e.g.:

  • Privately owned plots of land
  • Administrative units such as cantons, districts and municipalities
  • Protected zones, e.g. nature conservation areas
  • Utilisation zones, e.g. building and agricultural zones.

In addition, mortgages encumbering land ownership are documented and secured: in 2014, these totalled more than 889 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. Furthermore, 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



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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