Official topographic-cartographic information system

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The Official Topographical-Cartographic Information System ( ATKIS ) has been used by the Land Surveying Offices and the Federal Cartography Office since 1990 for the purpose of digitally managing the results of the topographical survey and the official topographical maps on the recommendation of the Working Group of Surveying Administrations of the Federal Republic of Germany (AdV) Geodesy (BKG) built.


One of the tasks of the national survey is to record the essential manifestations and facts as well as the terrain on the earth's surface and to represent them in topographical maps. With ATKIS, a system has been developed that allows the topographical data and maps of the national survey to be digitally managed and presented to the user. This is done in the form of digital landscape models (DLM), in which the data is object-based and stored free of cartographic generalization , and in digital topographic maps (DTK), which contain the generalized data provided with cartographic signatures.

In the narrower, conceptual sense, ATKIS only includes the object-structured digital landscape models (DLM) and the signature-based digital topographic maps (DTK). The digital topographical products of the national survey also include digital terrain models (DGM) and digital orthophotos (DOP). In order to make the entirety of the topographical and cartographic offer clear to the user, these products have also been included in the ATKIS product range, which thus includes the following offer:

Reference model

A reference model shows how information systems relate to one another and to reality. The ATKIS reference model differentiates on the information level:

  1. the collection bases,
  2. the inventory data with additional cartographic data,
  3. the digital topographic maps and their
  4. analog outputs.

The ATKIS inventory data are also referred to as digital landscape models (DLM).

The additional data for the inventory data (map geometry objects and presentation objects) enable the object-structured storage of additional cartographic information (displaced geometry, individually positioned texts and signatures). They are thus a realization of a digital cartographic model (DKM in connection with the DLM).

Digital topographic maps are finished presentations that can be output graphically immediately. Usually these are representations in the form of raster data (e.g. GeoTIFF ) or other graphic formats (e.g. PDF , PostScript )

Digital landscape models

The ATKIS digital landscape models are differentiated according to their resolution.

  1. Basis DLM (former designation DLM25 according to the scale 1: 10,000–1: 25,000)
  2. DLM50 as the data basis for map series in the scale range 1: 50,000–1: 100,000
  3. DLM250 as the data basis for map series on a scale of 1: 200,000–1: 500,000
  4. DLM1000 as a data basis for map series on a scale of 1: 1,000,000 and smaller.

Data basis

The most important landscape objects in the ATKIS-DLM (DLM = digital landscape model, often also called Basis-DLM) were modeled and recorded according to a very detailed object type catalog (ATKIS-OK). The data comes mainly from the existing, analogue, official topographic maps (TK). The basic DLM is continued in a 5-year cycle (basic update), e.g. B. by topographical recordings and photogrammetric image flights (orthophoto). Important property types (especially traffic) are updated 3, 6 or 12 months after the change (top currentness).

Property catalog

The object type catalog (ATKIS-OK) is structured hierarchically and is subdivided into seven object areas. These are divided into object groups, which are broken down into object types.

Overall, the feature catalog is very extensive and contains many feature types, which in turn contain a large number of attributes. The property catalog can be downloaded from the state survey offices.

With the object code, a four-digit number, each object type is clearly assigned to an object area and an object group. The thousands place indicates the object area, the hundreds the object group. It can be seen that the property type “3101 road” belongs to the property area “3000 traffic” and the property group “3100 road traffic”.


  • Object type is the collective name for a class of similar topographic objects.
  • Attributes describe qualitative and quantitative properties that describe an object in more detail. An attribute is made up of the attribute identifier and the numeric attribute value.
Object area Object group (examples) Property type (examples) Attributes Attribute values
1000 Pres. Objects
2000 settlement 2100 structurally characterized areas, 2200 open areas for settlement 2111 residential areas, 2121 mining operations
3000 traffic 3100 road traffic, 3200 rail traffic 3101 street WDM = dedication 1307 = municipal road
4000 vegetation 4100 vegetation areas 4104 Heide, 4109 special crops
5000 waters 5100 bodies of water 5101 stream, river, stream, 5102 canal, 5201 sandbar
6000 relief 6200 Special terrain surfaces 6201 dam, wall, dike
7000 territory 7100 administrative areas 7101 administrative unit

Expansion stages

The ATKIS database was or is being recorded and expanded in several steps due to the density of information and the associated workload. In order to achieve a more or less uniform nationwide structure, the following stages of implementation were defined for the basic DLM:

  • DLM 25/1 comprises 64 property types (was completely available nationwide in 1997.)
  • DLM 25/2 implemented in almost all federal states
  • DLM 25/3 should be available nationwide by 2007.
  • DLM 25/4 currently under construction


In addition to the function as a basic data set for all sovereign tasks and for the economy, all topographic maps in Germany are to be derived from the ATKIS data set in the future. The foundations for this are currently being created in several state survey offices.

See also


  • Rolf Harbeck: 15 years of ATKIS®, and development continues . In: Brandenburg survey, issue 1/2001. ( PDF version; 78 kB )
  • Ernst Jäger: ATKIS as a joint task of the states and the federal government . In: Kartographische Nachrichten, issue 3/2003.
  • Johann Zahn: Cartographic aspects of ATKIS . In: Kartographische Nachrichten, issue 5/2002.

Web links

Wiktionary: ATKIS  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations