Doctoral position in Cartography / GIS

100%, Zurich, temporary

The Institute of Cartography and Geoinformation (IKG) 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 "HistoRiCH: Historical river change – Planning for the future by exploring the mapped past", funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), aims at extracting, analyzing and utilizing information from historical maps in the context of practical river management. This interdisciplinary effort will be carried out by IKG of ETH Zurich, the geoinformatics and ecohydrology groups of the Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW) as well as the river restoration group of the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (EAWAG).

Job description

Within HistoRiCH, 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 hydrological features (e.g. wetlands, rivers, lakes) 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 a doctoral candidate at ZHAW and a postdoctoral researcher at EAWAG in order to build up a spatio-temporal database for deriving guidelines for practical river management (e.g. river preservation, wetland restoration).

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 until the 20th of January 2020 with the following documents: Cover letter, CV, 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.

Further information about the Institute of Cartography and Geoinformation can be found on our website: For further information, please contact Dr. Magnus Heitzler, phone no. +41 44 633 30 28 or email hmagnus@ethz (no application documents).

Your workplace