The Swiss Land Use Statistic provides detailed and accurate information on the state and evolution of land use and land cover in Switzerland. On this page you will find the geodata of the Land Use Statistics at the hectare level since 1979, as well as documentation on the data and the methodology used to produce these data.
Methodology and Nomenclature
Land use and land cover are determined using aerial photographs of the Federal Office of Topography (swisstopo). These aerial photographs cover the whole of Switzerland and are taken every three to six years. In addition, information from the national maps, the geodata sets of the official cadastre, the building and housing register, the business register and the terrain and surface models available from the Federal Office of Topography (DHM25, DOM and swissALTI3D) are used.
Since the survey 1979/85, Land Use Statistics are compiled based on sample points. The 4.1 million points are regularly distributed at 100m intervals and form a permanent network, which is overlaid on aerial photographs. For each point, a land use category and a land cover category is assigned according to the nomenclature. As the nomenclature was thoroughly revised in 2004, the 2004/09 Land Use Statistic also include a revision of the results of the 1979/85 and 1992/97 Land Use Statistic according to this new nomenclature.
From 2021, a new IT solution combines the visual interpretation of aerial photographs by experts with machine learning tools based on artificial intelligence. These provide a prediction of changes and the category of points, allowing partial automation of the survey.
|1972||National maps||100*100m cell grid|
|1979/85||Introduction of sampling points method||According to Nomenclature 2004||According to Nomenclature 2004|
|1992/97||Analogue aerial photographs interpreted with stereoscopes||Sampling points||According to Nomenclature 2004|
|2004/09||Digitized aerial photographs analyzed by photogrammetric processes (3D)||Sampling points|
|2013/18||Digital aerial photographs (3D)||
Test of the partial survey automation solution
- More information on the aerial photographs, the sampling method, the survey procedure and the data processing
The land use and land cover categories are distinct in the 2004 NOAS04 nomenclature. Two codes are thus assigned to each sample point. Land use describes the socio-economic use of the land (agriculture, housing, industrial production, etc.). Land cover describes the physical cover of the land (vegetation, buildings, compacted surface, water, etc.).
The combination of this information forms the standard nomenclature with 72 categories. For better statistical reliability, especially for the use of this geodata on a small scale, these core categories are also aggregated into 4 main domains and 17 or 27 classes. The land use nomenclature NOLU04 has 46 core categories, also aggregated into 10 classes and 6 main domains. The land cover nomenclature NOLC04 has 27 core categories, also aggregated into 6 main domains (without intermediate classes).
- More information on the nomenclatures of the Land Use Statistic 2004 (NOAS04)