The Federal Statistical Office assigns a number to each commune and creates, administers and publishes the Swiss official commune register.
According to article 19 of the Swiss Federal Ordinance of May 21, 2008 on geographical names (GeoNO - SR 510.625), the commune names and numbers as listed in the official commune register must be used by all public authorities.
All changes to commune names approved by the Geodesy and Federal Directorate of Cadastral Surveying (swisstopo) and any other changes notified by the cantonal office concerned (mutations of communes, changes to communal boundaries and other changes in the districts or comparable administrative entities of the canton) are to be inscribed in the official register.
The official commune register is structured according to cantons and districts or comparable administrative entities. Various federal, cantonal and communal governments and private businesses use this register when identifying and referring to communes.