Task and responsibilities
According to the Geoinformation Ordinance (GeoIV), art. 48, the coordinating body for Federal geographical information, GCG, is administratively subordinate to the Federal Office of Topography and has its own operational centre, COGIS, a division of swisstopo. On behalf of the GCG, COGIS is responsible for the coordination, operation and further development of the Federal Spatial Data Infrastructure (FSDI).
A spatial data infrastructure enables users to have direct access to the geographical information and geoservices of different suppliers. This represents a system of (political) measures and institutional arrangements, together with technology, data and personnel. The system enables users both to exchange geographical information and to make efficient use of it.
Spatial data infrastructures exist at various different levels. Municipalities, cities and Cantons can also set up such systems.
Geoinformation Act (GeoIG)
The Geoinformation Act (GeoIG) came into force on 1st July 2008. It provides the legal framework, for all activities relating to information about basic geodata of Federal law and its exchange and use. «The purpose of this Act is to ensure that geodata relating to the territory of the Swiss Confederation is made available to the Federal, Cantonal and municipal authorities, to industry and commerce, to academic and scientific institutions and to society at large, for the broadest possible use, in a sustainable, up-to-date, rapid and easy way, with the required quality and at reasonable cost.» (GeoIG Art. 1)
The data contained in aerial photographs, maps and plans as well as further spatially referenced data will be available at a good level of quality and at reasonable cost, in printed form, over the Internet or on mobile devices. Uniform standards will be sought, in data capture as well as in the modelling and archiving of data and metadata.
The coordinating agency (GCG) is empowered to issue directives to departments of the Federal Administration (under the Geoinformation Ordinance (GeoIV) Art. 48 Para. 3) and has the following responsibilities (under GeoIV Art. 48 Para. 2):
- Coordination of the activities of the Federal Administration;
- Development of Federal strategies;
- Participation in the development of technical standards;
- Operation of a competence centre; Advising Cantonal bodies.
Geodata information systems for Switzerland and Europe
- The Federal spatial data infrastructure (FSDI) covers the Federal Administration’s geographical information (geo.admin.ch).
- The national spatial data infrastructure (NSDI) covers private sector organisations as well as the public sector.
- Corresponding systems are available at the European level through the INSPIRE initiative.
- Spatial data infrastructures are also available at the Cantonal and municipal level.
Strategy and implementation
The Federal Council (on 11.Dec 2020) and the Swiss Conference of Directors of Construction, Planning and Environment BPUK (on 17.Sept 2020) have approved the Strategy Geoinformation Switzerland". In it, they set out how they intend to network up-to-date, reliable geoinformation and make it easily accessible to all.
Federal Spatial Data Infrastructure FSDI
The Federal spatial data infrastructure (FSDI) is the part of the NSDI within the Federal administration itself and whose implementation represents the specific task of the two COGIS Processes «Geoinformation coordination and steering» and «Spatial Data Infrastructures (SDI) Development and maintenance».
INSPIRE Infrastructure for Spatial Information in Europe is the name of an EU directive for the development of an European Spatial Data Infrastructure. The goal of the infrastructure is to support the European Environmental policy and decision-making.