The preceding Institute of Cartography was founded in 1925 by Professor Eduard Imhof, one of the main founders of modern academic cartography. It is therefore the oldest university institute in cartography world-wide. Traditionally, research has focused on topographic cartography (relief representation), thematic cartography, and atlas cartography (school atlases, national atlases). These domains are still considered the main fields of application, but adapted to new demands, media and technologies. The institute is also responsible for the editorial work and development of two prize-winning atlases, the “Atlas of Switzerland” (national atlas) and the “Swiss World Atlas” (official Swiss school atlas). In 2011, with the establishment of the new chair of Geoinformation Engineering, the scope of activities of the institute was expanded and its name was adapted.
In cartography, the institute strives to maintain its leading position by exploiting and further developing cartographic knowledge and adapting it to new interactive technologies and application domains. Geoinformation Engineering aims at analyzing, representing, modelling, and visualizing spatio-temporal decision processes and integrates such models in mobile geoinformation services and spatial information technologies.
In teaching, students should learn how to set up, model, manage, and visualize geoinformation for general-purpose and specific spatial information system applications.