In der aktuellen Covid-19 Situation laufen die Rekrutierungen weiter. Es kann dabei allerdings zu Verzögerungen kommen. Vielen Dank für Ihr Verständnis.

Doctoral candidate in geoinformatics / cartography

100%, Zurich, temporary

The Institute of Cartography and Geoinformation (IKG) of ETH Zurich is one of the oldest university institutes in cartography world-wide. The Chair of Cartography conducts research in the field of cartographic visualization with a focus on cartographic production technologies for topographic and thematic maps, atlases, and interactive web maps. The group aims to maintain and expand the leading position of Swiss cartography by further developing existing cartographic knowledge, as well as mining existing analogous and digital geodata and transferring all of them to new media and fields of application.

Project background

The project “EMPHASES: Assessing EMergent PHenomenA in complex Social-Ecological Systems with time series of settlement and habitat networks”, funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), aims at extracting, analyzing and utilizing information from historical maps to better understand the evolution of natural and man-made landscapes in order to unravel underlying laws and patterns. This interdisciplinary project will be carried out jointly by IKG, the Institute for Spatial and Landscape Development (IRL) of ETH Zurich, and the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL). The EMPHASES project will officially start on 1 April 2021.

Job description

Within EMPHASES, IKG is looking for a highly motivated doctoral candidate with a background in geoinformatics, computer science, cartography or a related discipline. The successful candidate will develop methods for the extraction of different feature classes (e.g., forests, buildings) from Swiss historical map series while ensuring their correct geometrical and topological representation in space and time. This will be carried out in close collaboration with two doctoral candidates at IRL who will use the vectorized historical geodata to derive and analyze habitat and settlement networks.

Your profile

The candidate should have expertise in one or more of the following fields: computer vision, machine learning, computational geometry, cartography, and geographic information science (GIS). Ideally, he/she has demonstrated knowledge in geospatial image analysis using libraries for feature extraction (e.g., OpenCV, tensorflow/keras, pytorch) and vectorization (e.g., gdal/ogr, shapely/fiona) with a thorough understanding of the underlying concepts. Proficiency in at least one programming language (e.g., Python, C++) is required. An understanding of common geospatial data storage concepts (e.g., Shapefile, PostgreSQL/PostGIS) is beneficial. The candidate should be fluent in spoken and written English; knowledge in German is advantageous.

ETH Zurich

ETH Zurich is one of the world’s leading universities specialising in science and technology. We are renowned for our excellent education, cutting-edge fundamental research and direct transfer of new knowledge into society. Over 30,000 people from more than 120 countries find our university to be a place that promotes independent thinking and an environment that inspires excellence. Located in the heart of Europe, yet forging connections all over the world, we work together to develop solutions for the global challenges of today and tomorrow.
Working, teaching and research at ETH Zurich Link icon


We look forward to receiving your online application with the following documents: Cover letter with a short description of your motivation and your research interests, Curriculum Vitae, complete academic transcript including undergraduate and graduate courses, copies of diploma/certificates, work samples, testimonials and contact details of at least two referees.

Please note that we exclusively accept applications submitted through our online application portal. Applications via email or postal services will not be considered. Applications are due by 18 November 2020.

Further information about the Institute of Cartography and Geoinformation can be found on our website: and For further information about the project and the position, please contact Dr. Magnus Heitzler by email at (no direct applications).

Your workplace