Our Federal Spatial Data Infrastructure platform serves one million users per month. Running it on AWS has significantly shortened the time needed to allocate new servers, which helps us better serve our customers.
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, 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 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, time-consuming hardware purchases are obsolete. Automatic provisioning enables Swisstopo to scale with demand in less than an hour, instead of the weeks or months it took with on-premises infrastructure.
  • Lower Cost of 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 operational costs.
  • Scalability: The capability to scale the solution vertically and horizontally within minutes resulted in 50 percent growth in use, while concurrently reducing the cost of data unit transfers.
  • 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: Geological fundamentals plays an important role in the sustainable use, planning, and shaping of the world. With AWS, anyone who wants to can view, print, and order geodata quickly and easily as the agency experiences uptime of 99.99% around the clock. This represents a major step in the digital transformation of geodata at the federal level.


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