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Underground planning

The deep subsurface is being exploited more and more. In this domain, various experts are working on sustainable concepts that are based on geological knowledge. In addition, they are investigating where there is a need for regulations in order to avoid conflicts in the utilization.

Eine umfassende 3D-Raumplanung mit Einbezug des Untergrundes
© Illustration Senger and Partner


For the professionals of applied earth sciences in the economy and administration, for civil engineering companies, waste management and planners, an ever-increasing need for underground planning is becoming apparent. Reasons for this are the increasing demands of society for surface and space: for example, through rapidly growing urban areas and housing developments or through railway lines and motorways which are laid in tunnels. Power lines and water pipes increasingly run underground; groundwater is being utilized more and today buildings extend deeper into this. The exploitation of mineral resources (gravel, hard rock, petroleum) and geothermal energy also takes place below the Earth’s surface.

The demands on underground planning are therefore conceivably diverse and challenging – the law however provides only little in this domain. Here dialog between policy makers, planning authorities and geologists is required. The geology is able to provide important foundations for this: These include geological 3D models and geotechnical maps. Together with environmental data and existing structure planning, these data allow potential conflicts to be recognized early on and, together with all bodies involved, to be removed.

Who is who

The management of the deep subsurface is becoming increasingly important. For complex applications, such as for instance power generation from geothermal energy or deep geological repositories, the Swiss Geological Survey at swisstopo is developing three-dimensional geological models.

Projects in the field of underground planning:

The underground planning project group of the Swiss Association of Geologists CHGEOL was set up with the aim of thematizing underground planning and identifying the regulation need for this.

Chaos reigns underground! The utilization of the subsurface urgently needs coordination and planning.


Two essential building blocks of the planning fundamentals are the geological 3D models and the geotechnical maps. Together with environmental data and the until now existing structure planning, these data allow potential conflicts to be identified at an early stage and, together with all concerned bodies, to be removed.


Viewer, maps

Planning for the future