Geospatial – News

Geological visualisation and collaboration in Switzerland and around the world

19 May 2020

The Swiss Geological Survey at swisstopo is the federal competence centre for the collection, analysis, storage and provision of geological data. They mandated Camptocamp and Cesium to develop a brand-new, highly efficient and usable 3D viewer for geological data on the web: swissgeol

Efficient data access for swisstopo employees  

Employees of swisstopo and particularly of the Swiss Geological Survey need to have immediate access to above and below ground data in order to perform their daily business, i.e. 3D modeling, geological cartography, geological expertise for deep geothermal project proposals. Nowadays it is time-consuming to collect all the different data sets, e.g. geological maps, boreholes, cross sections, 3D-models, seismic data etc. from the individual storage and management systems of swisstopo. Each data set has to be copied and stored individually or a database connection has to be established using GIS- or 3D-modeling software. Visualising in a georeferenced framework is only possible in 2D or model-based in 3D.

The Cesium 3D underground viewer developed by swisstopo and camptocamp/Cesium provides ready-to-use data sets and allows the user to combine in 3D geological data with other geospatial data from swisstopo and their partners. The most relevant attributes of the individual data may be queried.

Collaboration tool for the geoscience community

All the swiss geoscience community members and any interested person will have access to a large variety of geological underground data. Visualizing the relevant data in a 3D scene will significantly help to understand the geological setting below the surface and its relation or effect on data above the surface.

swissgeol will therefore open up a new range of possibilities for the geoscience community in Switzerland, trigger new findings and sharpen the perception of Switzerland’s underground.

Camptocamp’s agile approach

Camptocamp has led the development of swissgeol by applying a strong agile approach. In 10 sprints, our 3D expert team laid the foundations of the new 3D viewer. In the meantime, Camptocamp and Cesium  also worked together to develop, test and improve 3D underground navigation and visualisation, with the result that CesiumJS will support underground exploration in its next stable version.

Alongside with the development, user tests and data preparation have been done in order to provide the most well-fitted and complete 3D visualisation for the soon to be released Beta version.

Swisstopo_Geological visualisation

Next steps

The Beta version with limited data and functionality will be released in June on https://beta.swissgeol.ch.

The 3D underground viewer swissgeol will be the future main entrypoint at swisstopo for accessing geological data, and it could become an essential collaboration tool for the entire geoscience community in and around Switzerland. Therefore, the application will be extended over the coming years with further functionalities so that data may be searched, analyzed and downloaded.