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Geodata (an abbreviated form of geographical (British English) or geographic (US English) data) is spatially referenced data which describes the extent and nature of specific areas and objects at a given epoch, in particular their position, their attributes, their use and their legal status (GeoIG Art.3, para.1, let.a).

Basic geodata

Basic geodata is essential official geodata which describes landscape (topography), property and buildings independently of any specific application. It also forms the basis for the interpretation of specialised geodata. In Switzerland this concept of basic geodata is defined in law as official geodata which is based on a legislative enactment of the Confederation, a Canton or a commune (GeoIG Art.3 para.1 let.c).


Networkable applications which simplify the use of geodata by means of electronic services and make it available in structured form (GeoIG Art.3 para.1 let.j).

Specialised geodata

Specialised geodata on its own, in the absence of basic geodata, is difficult or impossible to interpret because the spatial context is absent. Thematic maps or the corresponding data-sets are examples of the combination of basic and specialised geodata.

Geographical information system GIS

A geographical information system (GIS) is a computer-based information system which encompasses the required hardware, software, data and applications. It can be used to capture and edit spatial data in digital form, to store, process, reorganise, model and analyse it, and to present it graphically or in tabulated textual form.


Formal descriptions of the characteristics of geodata, for example of its source, content, structure, validity, currency and accuracy, of rights or restrictions on its use, details of how to access it and applicable methods of processing it (GeoIG Art3. para.1 let.g). is the geographical metadata catalogue for Switzerland. Federal Offices, Cantons, communes and private companies record the metadata covering their own geographical data in

Through the establishment of a national spatial data infrastructure, the programme provides easy and economical access to an optimal selection of available geoinformation.

Web Map Service WMS

A web map service (WMS) is an interface which enables map extracts to be downloaded via the Internet.

Catalog Service for Web CSW

CSW is an Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) standard for the specification of Internet search and catalogue services. The metadata provided through can be interrogated by means of a CSW interface.
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