Bruchsal, 22.03.2018

GfK releases new digital maps for Germany, Austria and Switzerland

Many changes to 2018 map editions for Germany, Austria and Switzerland

GfK’s new digital maps for Germany, Austria and Switzerland include hundreds of changes to postal and administrative regions, such as municipalities. Up-to-date digital maps comprise the foundation for the precise and error-free geocoding and analysis of company data and market potential.

GfK has updated its more than 80 digital maps for Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The new maps reflect the hundreds of postal and administrative changes that occurred since the last update. Available immediately, the new map editions feature coverage of all official postal and administrative regions as well as supplementary topographic details.

Digital maps of postal and administrative regions (such as five-digit postcodes, federal states, districts and municipalities) are the basis of location-related analyses. Applications range from locating target groups and market potential, tracking accumulation risks in the insurance industry and optimizing sales, delivery and service territories.

“It's crucial that digital maps offer detailed, accurate and up-to-date coverage,” says Klaus Dittmann, head of cartography at GfK’s Geomarketing solution area. “Working with an outdated cartographic basis results in incorrectly geocoded company data, which in turn leads to erroneous analyses. Up-to-date maps are also required to correctly analyze data on market potential, such as purchasing power and turnover figures.”

Changes to Germany in 2018

There have been changes to 22 municipalities: 14 were dissolved and three were newly created. Annexations and reapportioning resulted in boundary changes to 14 municipalities. One municipality underwent an ID change, and three underwent name changes. This reduced the number of municipalities from 11,130 (as of 01.01.2017) to 11,119 (as of 01.01.2018).

A five-digit postcode system was introduced in reunited Germany in 1993. Postcodes are adjusted regularly based on the needs of the postal service and consumers. As a result, there have been many changes to the five-digit postcodes since the introduction of the system twenty-five years ago. There were also several changes in 2017:

  • Forty-eight of Germany’s more than 8,000 five-digit postcodes underwent boundary changes due to reapportioning and street redirection. Three postcodes were dissolved, while one was newly created. Five name changes and many boundary corrections occurred.
  • Five boundary changes occurred among the 95 two-digit postcodes, and one to the one-digit postcodes.
  • Among the 714 postal directing areas, there was one ID change and 18 boundary changes.

Changes to Austria in 2018


  • municipalities: Changes occurred to nine municipalities. Three were dissolved, one underwent an ID change, one a name change, and four had boundary corrections.
  • statistical enumeration districts (“Zählsprengel”): There were 13 changes to Austria’s statistical enumeration districts. Seven underwent an ID change, while six had name changes.
  • districts: one boundary change
  • judicial districts: four dissolved, one boundary correction


  • four-digit postcodes: twelve boundary changes due to reapportioning, two boundary corrections and three name changes

Changes to Switzerland in 2018


  • districts: six dissolved, one newly created and one boundary change
  • municipalities: Thirty-nine were dissolved and five newly created. There were also two ID changes. As a result, the number of municipalities changed from 2,269 to 2,235 (as of 1.1.2018).

After Germany and the USA, Switzerland was the third nation worldwide to introduce postcodes in 1964. The Swiss were particularly forward-looking in this regard: Although only the first four digits of the postcode are used for addresses, the Swiss system is based on six digits.

  • These six-digit postcodes are included in a dedicated map in the new GfK map edition for Switzerland. These longer postcodes are used internally by the postal service to further differentiate postcodes – e.g., P.O. boxes and sorting centers.
  • four-digit postcodes: five dissolved, 32 name changes, 65 boundary changes and 53 boundary corrections due to reapportioning

Coverage, quality standards, formats

The new map editions feature comprehensive coverage, seamlessly fitting and overlap-free boundaries, national and local place-name attributions and infinite zoom capability to ensure a consistent high quality.

Like all of GfK’s digital maps, the new map editions for Germany, Austria and Switzerland are available in all standard map formats, including *.shp (ESRI), *.tab (MapInfo), *.gdb (GeoDatabase) and *.lay (GfK). The maps are also available in the Oracle (Spatial) database format for use in Oracle Business Intelligence applications.

The maps of all three countries as well as seamlessly fitting, up-to-date GfK purchasing power data are standard components of the new geomarketing software solution, RegioGraph 2018.

These maps are part of GfK's cartographic coverage of 240 countries – the largest collection of digital administrative and postcode maps on the market.

Additional information on GfK’s worldwide digital maps can be found here.

Print-quality illustrations can be found here.

About GfK

GfK connects data and science. Innovative research solutions provide answers for key business questions around consumers, markets, brands and media – now and in the future. As a research and analytics partner, GfK promises its clients all over the world “Growth from Knowledge”.

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