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Height reference for Switzerland
The reference for all height measurements in Switzerland is the "Repère Pierre du Niton" in the harbor of Geneva. It is used for all surveying and maps in Switzerland. Its original height, the so-called "old reference", of 376.86 m above the mean sea level of the Mediterranean (tide gauge in the harbor of Marseilles) was determined in the 19th century from the height of Mount Chasseral, which had been determined inaccurately by French engineers and geographers from the tide gauge in Marseilles. This original height was used for the old height observations (precise levelling 1864 to 1891) as well as for the Dufour and the Siegfried Maps.

Repère Pierre du Niton Repère Pierre du Niton: vertical control point on a rock in the harbor of Geneva. It serves as the fundamental height reference for all surveying in Switzerland.

At the beginning of the 20th century in the scope of the national survey, this reference was redetermined. In 1902, an investigation by J. Hilfiker was published in which the height of the "Repère Pierre du Niton" was computed from different tide gauges in Europe. The official value of 373.60 m, the so-called "new reference" which was a total of 3.26 m lower, was thus introduced in 1902. This new value was declared binding for precise levelling (LN02), the national control survey (LV03), the national maps, as well as for all surveying work in Switzerland. The new reference was then gradually realized for all of Switzerland with the precise levelling network from 1902 to 1927 in the form of the new height reference frame LN02. All of the national maps and cadastral surveying are based on this height reference.

Therefore, the old heights, i.e. in the Siegfried maps are 3.26 m higher than the official heights in the national maps and in all cadastral plans in Switzerland. Despite concerted efforts to inform professional organisations of this change, the actual implementation of the new height progressed only very slowly, especially in civil engineering and in the building industry, which has often led to mistakes and confusions concerning heights.

Definition of the reference 1902
- controlled by four connections to sea level
- derived from the tide gauge in Marseilles and rounded to 373.6 m.
  ASL

 
New reference since 1902
Repère Pierre du Niton
373.6 m. ASL

Applications:
- Precise Levelling (LN02)
- National control survey (LV03)
- Cadastral survey (AV)
- National maps
 
Old reference before 1902
Repère Pierre du Niton
376.86 m. ASL

Applications:
- Nivellement de précision
- Dufour Maps
- Siegfried Maps