Standard classification

Information and downloads on geodata currently available from the land use statistics according to the standard classification of 2004.

Swiss land use statistics provide precise and detailed information on the current status and development of land use and land cover in Switzerland. They are an important basis for monitoring land use and for developing indicator systems. In addition to statistical tables, the results of the land use statistics are also available as geobasis data in hectare resolution.

Land use statistics of 1979/85, 1992/97, 2004/09 and 2013/18

The modern land use statistics are random sample surveys based on a point sample grid of 100 m spacing composed of regularly updated, superimposed aerial photographs of a fixed position. From the third survey cycle, interpretation was made on the basis of digital, scanned aerial images using photogrammetric workstations, enabling 3D imaging. The 2004/09 survey, whose methodology was entirely revised in relation to the 1992/97 land use statistics, produced a new, up-to-date data set and revised the results of the two previous surveys.

Since that time, data on land cover and land use have been collected separately, so that each sample point has two codes, which can be evaluated individually (for "cover" or "use") but also in almost any combination. The 2004 standard classification (NOAS04) comprises 72 such combined basic categories. Statistical reliability (significance) can be improved, especially for small-scale evaluations, by grouping these categories together to form a smaller number of aggregated groups. For this reason, the FSO makes available not only geodata with all basic categories, but also results for 17 and 27 classes:

Classes of the standard classification 2004
Main ares   Aggregation to 17 classes   Aggregation to 27 classes
Settlement and urban areas 1 Industrial and commercial areas 1 Industrial and commercial areas
2 Building areas 2 Residential areas
3 Public building areas
4 Agricultural building areas
5 Unspecified building areas
3 Transportation areas 6 Road areas
7 Railway areas
8 Airports and airfields
4 Special urban areas 9 Special urban areas
5 Recreational areas and cemeteries 10 Recreational areas and cemeteries
Agricultural areas 6 Orchard, vineyard and horticulture areas 11 Orchards
12 Vineyards
13 Horticulture
7 Arable land 14 Arable land
8 Meadows, farm pastures 15 Meadows
16 Farm pastures
9 Alpine agricultural areas 17 Alpine meadows
18 Alpine pastures
Wooded areas 10 Forest (except brush forest) 19 Closed forest
20 Open forest
11 Brush forest 21 Brush forest
12 Woods 22 Woods
Unproductive areas 13 Lakes 23 Lakes
14 Rivers 24 Rivers
15 Unproductive vegetation 25 Unproductive vegetation
16 Bare land 26 Bare land
17 Glaciers, perpetual snow 27 Glaciers, perpetual snow

Available geodata

Free download

  • Data descriptions, metadata for land use statistics geodata
  • Land Use Statistics Standard, classification 2004 NOAS04 in 17 and 27 classes and four main areas
  • Land Use Statistics Land Cover, classification 2004 NOLC04 in six main areas

Geodata subscription PRO

  • Land Use Statistics Standard, classification 2004 NOAS04 in 72 basic categories, 17 and 27 classes and four main areas
  • Land Use Statistics Land Cover, classification 2004 NOLC04 in 27 basic categories and six main areas
  • Land Use Statistics Land Use, classification 2004 NOLU04 in 46 basic categories, 10 classes and six main areas

Besides geodata, statistical results tabulated for cantons and communes are also available (in French).




Federal statistical office Section Geoinformation
Espace de l'Europe 10
CH-2010 Neuchâtel
+41 58 463 68 35

Monday to Friday
09.00–11.30 and 14.00–16.00