From geodata to geodata services - New management tools for a cantonal government

From EPSA - European Public Sector Award


The Republic and Canton of Neuchâtel with an area of 803 km² and 170,000 inhabitants is one of the 26 Cantons that form the Swiss Confederation. In 1995, the cantonal parliament of Neuchâtel approved the law on cadastral surveying, creating a geographical information system (GIS) department within the cantonal surveying agency (SGRF). The objectives of this new department were to offer tools and information for a sustainable spatial development of the Canton in its multiple dimensions; and to provide the cantonal administration, the local authorities and the private sector with a large number of tools for information and analysing, management and aid to decision-making. To achieve these objectives, a cantonal geodata infrastructure (Système d’information du territoire neuchâtelois, SITN) coordinated by the GIS department was created.

The task of the GIS department was not exclusively to publish geodata on a geoportal, but to make intensive use of the multidisciplinary character of geodata by offering geodata services in order to accomplish the vision given in the cantonal surveying law. The three main objectives of the GIS department in this second phase are to define processes allowing for accurate and actual data on the whole Canton; to support other cantonal agencies to improve their processes in using existing or future data; and to provide through geodata services, to the government, the public and private sector, and the citizen, the information and tools they need to take decisions considering social, economical and environmental data. The results are made available over interactive geodata services and are modified depending on the request of the user.

Five factors were necessary for a successful implementation: highly qualified employees, extensive and accurate geodata, partnership with different partners willing to work together, increasing number of users; and a modern hard- and software infrastructure. More than 30 geodata services are online; around 6 million maps are generated per year on the geoportals. The success of the results of the geodata services proves that the approach is appropriate and satisfies the needs of different clients. Some of the applications offered are: interactive overview over the cantonal or municipal land properties, potential construction parcels for new enterprises defined on criteria such as the size or use, monitoring of the agricultural subsidies surfaces, evaluation of the energy potential in the forests of the Canton and support of emergency interventions, etc. As a matter of fact, this is an ongoing process. There are always new requests for consulting before data acquisition or new geodata services.

Among recent developments, the geoportal was adapted for the visualisation on mobile phones together with different partners. As the needs of users change, the publishing methods of the SITN also evolve. One of the next big projects will be a cadastre showing not only private restrictions, but also the public ones. The Swiss government has the intention to realise such a cadastre. The legal framework was accepted in 2009 and the Canton of Neuchâtel was chosen, after a public tender, as pilot project, which will start in 2012.

Award info
Award category: smart public service delivery
Award type: submission
Award year: 2011
Project type
Sector: Public administration, modernisation, institutional affairs, reform
Type of activity:
Keywords: Geodata services, management tools, geodata, Inspire
Short English description: More than 30 geodata services are online; around 6 million maps are generated per year on the geoportals.
Further information
Organisation: Service de la géomatique et du registre foncier
Other applicants:
Level of government: regional level
Size of organisation: 50-100
Number of people involved: 6-10
Country: Switzerland
EU membership: other European country
Language code: en
Start date:
End date:

From geodata to geodata services - New management tools for a cantonal government (46.9835775, 6.9058904)
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