With the FSDI running on AWS, we currently serve approximately one million Internet users per month. Thanks to AWS, we can significantly shorten the time needed to allocate new servers and strengthen our focus on real customer needs.
Hanspeter Christ Deputy Head of Geoinformatics

Swisstopo, the Swiss Federal Office of Topography, is Switzerland's national mapping agency. The agency is responsible for Switzerland’s geographical reference data and all associated products. It manages geographic information systems (GIS) projects for Swiss Federal offices and other private customers, such as producing topographic maps and geographic information of the country. The Federal Coordination Centre for Geographical Information, a division of Swisstopo, operates the Federal Spatial Data Infrastructure (FSDI) to design, deliver, and manage web-based GIS projects.


  • To be able to meet the needs of its one million monthly government and private individual customers, Swisstopo needed more computing capacity to deliver geographical reference data, provide measurements of Switzerland, and document changes in the landscape (geological, geodesic, and topographical).
  • In an on-premises environment, Swisstopo faced regular, costly hardware purchases and installations. It had to implement enhancements at its own expense, which often took weeks or months to launch.
  • With more than 150 TB of data hosted in the FSDI, Swisstopo faced challenges to replicate and scale the data.
  • In order to work with the civil part of the Swiss Confederation Network, Swisstopo required speed, agility, and security as well as standardization and automation of its infrastructure.



  • With four billion map tiles and geographical information for 40 GIS projects and geoservices hosted in the FSDI, Swisstopo needed low-cost storage and fast delivery of content to its users. The organization’s AWS solution includes storage of 60 TB of data in Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS) volumes, 10 TB in Amazon Elastic File System (Amazon EFS), and 80 TB in Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3).
  • Using Elastic Load Balancing across multiple Availability Zones, Swisstopo was able to increase the overall availability of its FSDI application-server clusters, while still maintaining the required elasticity and scalability to distribute incoming traffic.
  • The agency uses more than 100 Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances to support up to 30,000 unique visitors per day. This equates to approximately 30 TB of data transferred to customers per month and up to 3,000 map tiles delivered per second.
  • The organization was also looking for transparency of usage charges to be able to distribute costs among its customers, which AWS offers with a pay-as-you-go model.
  • Lower time to market: Using AWS, the time-consuming purchase of hardware is obsolete. Automatic provisioning enables Swisstopo to scale a number of servers by a factor of two or three, in case of peaks in demand, in less than an hour, instead of the weeks or months it took before using AWS.
  • Lower cost and reduced operations: Data.geo.admin.ch, one of the value-added services Swisstopo provides to the Swiss Confederation Agencies and the general public, has been running on Amazon S3 since 2010. More than four billion map tiles and 500 geodata sets are managed in the cloud and made available in the map viewer, map.geo.admin.ch, with minimal cost and no operational burden as compared to an on-premises infrastructure.
  • Scalability: The capability to scale the solution vertically and horizontally within minutes resulted in usage growth of the solution by 50 percent annually since 2010, while concurrently reducing costs per data unit transferred.
  • Security: Swisstopo uses Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC), which provided the company with the security, protection of services, and isolation necessary to work with the civil part of the Swiss Confederation Network.
  • High user rate and availability: The agency experiences uptime of 99.99% around the clock. With geological fundamentals playing an important role with respect to the sustainable use, planning, and shaping of our living space, now, anyone who wants to can view, print, and order geodata. This represents a major step in the digital transformation of geodata at the federal level.

Learn more about how AWS can help with your high-performance computing needs.