8 June 2021

Helping pupils to develop real-life skills by putting map-making into practice

Federal Office of Topography swisstopo

“swisstopo promotes the use of federal digital maps in the classroom, as well as knowledge of geoinformation and official Swiss maps across all school levels.”

Dr. Fridolin Wicki, Director, Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport, Federal Office of Topography swisstopo

Switzerland’s sCHoolmap platform has been developed by swisstopo and other federal offices to help pupils develop their map-related skills.

sCHoolmap is accessed via geo.admin.ch and provides a broad range of teaching ideas and examples for working with the map viewer for almost every school year. The basis for working with these digital (school) maps is the official federal map viewer, map.geo.admin.ch which enables easy access to a broad range of map topics from different federal sources, covering all subjects taught in primary school. Functionwise, pupils can interact with maps , e.g. calculate height differences and walking distances, and annotate  maps using the ‘draw’ function. Historical maps and aerial imagery are among the most used topics in school. Half [1] of all Swiss teachers now use sCHoolmap, which is accessed free of charge and without the need to register.


  • Makes mapping fun and working with geodata attractive for the next generation.
  • Enables pupils from year 4 onwards to develop their map-related skills by learning how to work with official online maps.
  • Brings a wide range of map-related activities to life with practical examples, including planning for school outings, working out the best route to school, tracing the location of old town walls, or even organising an ‘orienteering challenge selfie’.
  • Supports teachers in finding clever ideas for interdisciplinary education and developing and implementing their own themes and ideas.
  • Provides an insight into the past with an integrated virtual time travel function showing what the location of their home or school building looked like a hundred years ago, as well as geological changes such as glacier retreat.
  • Supports Syllabus 21 by promoting an understanding of the correlations between economic, ecological and social processes using geography as a common link.
[1] Survey conducted by the lernetz.ch in 2019: 70% awareness and 50% use of map.geo.admin.ch at Swiss schools! | (schoolmaps.ch)