Swiss atlases move into the third dimension

Bern, 20.06.2016 - The “Atlas of Switzerland” and the “Hydrological Atlas of Switzerland” are now available in digital format with 3D visualisations. Their development represents a global innovation on the part of Swiss cartography. The new atlases allow users to combine various spatial data sources and visualise them in a clear, accessible way.

Representatives of the ETH Zurich (ETHZ), the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) and the Institute of Geography of the University of Bern (GIUB) presented the new “Atlas of Switzerland – online” and the new “Hydrological Atlas of Switzerland (HADES)” to the public today. Both atlases are the product of collaboration between the Swiss universities and the authorities.

Thanks to their three-dimensionality, the atlases can visualise a range of topics in a clear, accessible way, for example how built-up area has developed over the last century, how precipitation is distributed and where exactly water is scarce.

The maps provide both experts and the general public with access to the various geodatabases compiled by the federal authorities and other data sources, for example from research.

Information technology innovation

The first new product, the “Atlas of Switzerland – online”, provides a broad spectrum of users with direct and easy access to geographical information classified in ten thematic categories. The Atlas offers new visualisation options in 3D and interactive cartography. For example, it can be used to show that forests (together with lakes) are the biggest leisure infrastructure facilities in the Central Plateau. This can be observed when the forest area is combined with the leisure layer (hiking paths, Vitaparcours exercise trails, mountain-biking routes etc.). The Atlas, which is based on a specially developed Atlas platform and vector data, represents another innovation by the Swiss universities in the field of geoinformation technology.

Hydrological Atlas HADES

The second atlas, the “Hydrological Atlas of Switzerland”, HADES, is the product of collaboration between the GIUB, the FOEN and Swiss hydrologists. It is based on the same technology as the “Atlas of Switzerland”. HADES has been providing summaries, maps and didactic media on the resource water for over 20 years with the support of the FOEN and numerous other institutions. Hence HADES deals with a key topic in the area of nature and the environment. Through its comprehensive edited data, it also provides in-depth information about hydrology and makes an important contribution to water management.

The two new atlases make Switzerland a world leader in the cartographic visualisation of spatial information. Access to the atlases is available free of charge to both experts and the general public.

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