Redefining property boundaries in Altstätten, Switzerland

Case study

Accurate records of official property boundaries for Switzerland’s land registry are an essential part of real estate exchanges, land development, city planning, bank mortgages and more. As maintenance and expansion projects take place in both cities and villages across the country, situations arise in which official property records fall behind and fail to reflect the most current boundary realities. 
Surveying team Sophie Bösch and Peter Bötschi from FKL & Partner AG completed a cadastral surveying project to solve such a boundary record case in Altstätten, Switzerland just a few kilometres down the road from Leica Geosystems’ Heerbrugg site.  
Established in 1920, FKL shares more than a passion for surveying with its Swiss neighbour – like Leica Geosystems, FKL has over a hundred years of history in eastern Switzerland. Headquartered in Grabs, FKL specialises in land registry surveying, laser scanning, geoinformatics and other surveying and civil engineering services. They complete work for government entities, construction companies, private individuals and, in this case, for the Swiss Cadastral System.  

Creating an accurate picture of the country through cadastral surveying

The Swiss Cadastral System (SCS) is one of the most advanced in the world, benefiting from surveyors like FKL who use the latest methods and technologies to digitally document properties and add to collections of cadastral maps and land registries. SCS, in turn, makes this data publicly available and easily searchable on their website, providing official geoinformation regarding property boundaries (as pictured below).

A cadastral map of the project survey area in Altstätten (above), with satellite imagery of the same location (below).


FKL is responsible for recording and updating cadastral surveys for the Altstätten area, contributing to the nationwide project to provide high-accuracy, digital land registry information. 
In this case, the FKL surveying team corrected outdated property parcel information for a residential area that had undergone a road extension. After the construction was completed, the land registry records were never updated, leaving discrepancies between the official property boundary documentation and the real borders of the street. This created a problematic situation for property owners, city planners and other stakeholders.

Streamlining land surveying solutions 

For this project, Bötschi and Bösch needed a surveying solution that combined speed, accuracy and data flow capabilities to ensure they could record the required measurements while bringing minimal disruption to residential traffic. They chose a combination of Leica Geosystems hardware and software to get the job done: 
Leica TS16 Robotic Total Station
Leica GS18 I GNSS RTK Rover
Leica CS20 field controller 
Leica Captivate surveying field software

Reflecting not only on this project, but his vast experience in a career of surveying, Peter Bötschi says his choice to use Leica Geosystems products is based on the reliability, efficiency, speed and flexibility of the instruments and software. “Since I’ve started working as a surveyor, I have only used Leica Geosystems equipment – and that will never change,” Bötschi says. 
Project partner Sophie Bösch agrees: “I have tested many instruments so far – but Leica Geosystems’ equipment remains my favourite.”
Working on an active road, minimising time spent in the field was an important factor. The TS16 allowed for fast set-up thanks to features like AutoHeight which automatically determined the height of the total station with the single push of a button. Additionally, paired with the GS18 I rover’s unique visual positioning system, the TS16 quickly and accurately measured the points necessary to establish correct property boundaries.