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A Historical Perspective
The pioneers and visionaries of the survey world – Our development
The origins of Leica Geosystems date back nearly 200 years, with the founding of Kern & Co. in 1819. A little over one hundred years later, in a small empty textile mill in Heerbrugg, Heinrich Wild was busy developing the T2, the world’s first truly portable opto-mechanical theodolite, and therewith, building the foundation of modern surveying. A few years later, the fledgling start-up company, Wild Heerbrugg, introduced the world’s first aerial camera, the C2, along with the B2, the world’s first analogue photogrammetric plotter. Over the last two centuries, our company, in its various forms, has grown by becoming the world’s first in surveying innovation. A thirst for innovation, combined with a keen sense of entrepreneurship and an unwavering dedication to quality, has kept Heinrich Wild’s vision alive throughout the decades.


Acquisition of:
Comercial e Importadora Wild Ltda, Brazil
Viewserve AB, Sweden
Haselbach Surveying Instruments, USA
Santiago & Cintra Ibérica S.A., Spain
Surveyors Service Company, USA


Acquisition of:
Ionic Group, Belgium
Allen Precision Equipment, Inc., USA
Svensk ByggnadsGeodesi AB (SBG), Sweden
D&P Systems und Topolaser System s.a.s., France
Elcome Technologies Pvt. Ltd., India
GAMFI International (GAMFI Group), France
R&A Rost Vertriebs GmbH, R&A Rost Produktions GmbH, Austria
Geopro Kft., Hungary
Junglas GmbH, Germany
Jigsaw Technologies, USA


Acquisition of Microfyn A/S, Denmark
Acquisition of Scanlaser AS, Norway
Acquisition of Scanlaser AB, Sweden

2005 Acquisition by Hexagon AB, Sweden
2004 Divestment of remaining 25% interest in Swissoptics and Escatec (Wiltronics)
2003 Divestment of Vectronix (defense activities)
Divestment of 75% of Wiltronics AG
Acquisition of Tritronics Pty in Brisbane, Australia
2001 Acquisition of Laser Alignment, Inc., Grand Rapids, MI, USA
Acquisition of Cyra Technologies Inc., San Ramon, CA, USA
Acquisition of ERDAS, Inc., Atlanta, GA, USA
Acquisition of remaining 50% of LH Systems, San Diego, CA, USA
Restructuring of organization into six operating divisions
Divestment of 75% interest of SwissOptics to Berliner Glas AG
2000 IPO of Leica Geosystems (LGSN) on Swiss Stock Exchange
1998 Leveraged management buy-out of Leica Geosystems with Investcorp
1997 Leica Group split into Leica Microsystems and Leica Geosystems.
Hans Hess becomes President of Leica Geosystems
1996 IPO of Leica Camera (Solms, Germany) on Frankfurt Stock Exchange
1994 Acquisition of civilian GPS businesses from Magnavox
1990 Merger with Cambridge Instruments (Microscopy business)
Formation of the Leica Group
1988 Acquisition of Kern & Co.
1986 Formation of the Wild Leitz Group
1986 Acquisition of Leitz Wetzlar (including Leica Camera business)
1921 Foundation of Wild Heerbrugg in Heerbrugg, Switzerland
1819 Kern and Co. founded in Aarau, Switzerland

Historical reports:
Click to download Leica Heerbrugg - a journey though time (German) (895 KB) (PDF, 894.85 KB)
Click to download Wild, Heerbrugg - vor und während des Zweiten Weltkrieges by Felix Rauh, 1997 (pdf 10,150KB - German only) (PDF, 10149.78 KB)
Click to download Von Wild zu Leica - 70 Jahre Firmengeschichte by Rudolf Simmen, 1991 (pdf 16,997KB - German only) (PDF, 16996.79 KB)
  Additional Information
   Innovation for more than 80 years.
    1921-1940 (jpg, 425 kB), german  Click to download
    1941-1960 (jpg, 455 kB), german  Click to download
    1961-1980 (jpg, 436 kB), german  Click to download
    1981-2000 (jpg, 502 kB), german  Click to download