[geo-discuss] Current situation in Germany is horrible

Arnulf Christl arnulf.christl at ccgis.de
Tue Apr 11 09:03:18 UTC 2006

Sebastian Mauer wrote:
> Hello there,
> just tried to get information about the charges that will apply when you
> license geodata collected by the "Landesvermessungsamt" in
> Nordrhine-Westphalia, Germany. I just asked for the price of a very small
> zone (ie. the building coordinates for Aachen) and they told me I would
> have to pay a total amount of 15.000 EUR to use their data in a
> web-application (like a google map driven friendmap).
> I hope your campaign will be successful, because I can't understand why I
> should pay gigantic amounts of money that was actually already paid by
> citizens like me.
> Sincerely,
> Sebastian Mauer

sorry for the long post for this broad topic (broad toast for this
tongue logic).

The price tag for public geodata in Germany is arbitrary (from null up
to way too much), it is hard to find and needs know-how (probably way
too much) to be usable at all. But it is there. This is one of the
reasons that the Open Source Geospatial Foundation has started a
committee for Public Geodata  (not just for Germany but for the whole

Most content is currently being developed in the OSGeo Wiki, you might
want to have a look there and everybody is invited to become active.

Find data:

Interested? Join by sending an email to geodata-subscribe at geodata.osgeo.org


== Examples (bottom up) ==:
There are quite a few examples of freely accessible Public Geodata in
Germany. It depends a lot on what you want/need to do though. It is
virtually impossible to find a geometry that you can download (OGC WFS)
but there are quite a few OGC standardized WMS (Web Map Services) that
deliver high quality maps. So if you need the data just as backdrop
information to display something on top or if you want to create new
geospatial data by online digitizing but do not need the fifth decimal
place accuracy then you might be happy with it.

We are putting together a library with those WMS services and want to
set up a service that hosts the metadata (including links to the
services) at the OSGeo Foundation. This might become a repository to be
  used by people like you. From the collaborative perspective it would
be great to have you (and whoever else is interested) join the process.

Best regards,

Some samples of where you can find data in Germany:

=== City of Nuremberg (application) ===

==== Services (Orthophoto) ====,5479804.956276447,4433011.043723553,5480087.043723553&WIDTH=500&HEIGHT=500&FORMAT=PNG&BGCOLOR=0xffffff&TRANSPARENT=TRUE&EXCEPTIONS=INIMAGE
Capabilities URL:

==== City map ====,default,default,default,default,default,default,default,default,default&SRS=EPSG%3A31468&BBOX=4432728.956276447,5479804.956276447,4433011.043723553,5480087.043723553&WIDTH=500&HEIGHT=500&FORMAT=PNG&BGCOLOR=0xffffff&TRANSPARENT=TRUE&EXCEPTIONS=INIMAGE
Capabilities URL:
(to use this service you have to change the server address in the Online
Resource URL to, hackish, hackish)

=== City of Bonn ===
Map Request (city map):
OGC WMS Capabilities Request:

==== Map Request (rectified orthophotos) ====
-> it seems as if one of the load balanced servers currently is out of
order, so only every second request works.

See this service (and several more) in this application:

=== City of Bielefeld ===

==== Example request ====,default,default,default,default&SRS=EPSG%3A31467&BBOX=3468520.8813689454,5765672.311550103,3468817.164730769,5765905.442254741&WIDTH=943&HEIGHT=742&FORMAT=PNG&BGCOLOR=0xffffff&TRANSPARENT=TRUE&EXCEPTIONS=INIMAGE&SCALE=1115

In this example the city does not deliver the Capabilities document (or
I am too dumb to find it), but the above map request contains the
geometry of the ALK (cadastral bas map) and street address numbers which
might be helpful.

=== City of Wesseling ===

==== Client application ====

This a composite map application including several WMS which are
dynamically overlayed:

==== City map ====

==== Service layers ====
Shows the cadastral base map and some points of interest)
Here you can also observe that the two layers are not intended to be
displayed at the same scale, the cadastral basemap being a lot more
detailed than the points of interest.

=== GDI-NRW ====
We have added several services of the GDI-NRW (Spatial Data
Infrastructure North Rhine Westphalia) to an application:

You can add more of them dynamically by selecting from the list <Adding
WMS from filtered list> (10th button from the left).

==== Terms of Use and Licensing ====
Be sure to read the terms of use ("Nutzungsbedingungen") prior to using
the data. Yes, they are - as you might have already expected - arbitrary
and not in any way standardized. Here is one example by the LVermGeo NRW:

Nutzungsbedingungen: Sämtliche Rechte an diesem Produkt liegen beim
Landesvermessungsamt NRW. Die Nutzung ist bis auf Widerruf kostenfrei.
Der Nutzer muss sich vor jeder Nutzung beim Landesvermessungsamt NRW
identifizieren und seine spezielle Nutzung mit Angabe des
Verwendungszwecks und Umfang der Nutzung anmelden (Kontaktmöglichkeiten
zum Landesvermessungsamt NRW siehe unten). Die Nutzung ist
ausschließlich für Testzwecke und im Rahmen von GDI-Projekten zulässig;
die Nutzung für kommerzielle Anwendungen ist ausdrücklich
ausgeschlossen. Die mittelbare oder unmittelbare Weitergabe der Daten an
Dritte ist auch in Verbindung mit weiteren Daten ohne ausdrückliche
Genehmigung durch das Landesvermessungsamt NRW nicht zulässig. Der
Nutzer ist verpflichtet, einen deutlichen Copyright-Hinweis auf das
Landesvermessungsamt NRW als Dateneigentümer bei Visualisierungen jeder
Art anzubringen.

This is another issue that is going to be addressed by the OSGeo Foundation:

=== Free Spatial Data ===
Oh, I almost forgot. There is one service that you can use for free,
download the data, hack it, enhance it, reuse it or stuff it up the
whatever. It contains very rough topography, some places, some roads,
some Autobahns and postal codes. The data is not being maintained
properly, the data is from around 1999. But at least it shows that it
could be done if if if people would join.

Find the service URL here:

It returns this XML document:

A description of how to use this OGC WMS Cpabilities document:
in German:

Download the postal codes:

Download Germany (well, not the country itself :-):

=== Other Initiatives ===
And yet another one: There is a German language(! CH and AT included !)
group working on open geodata but they are not into OGC standards yet
but rather fumble with their own formats: http://opengeodb.de/

=== Federal Agency for Cartography and Geodesy ===
And yes, the Germany Bundesamt für Kartographie und Geodäsie shows
willingness to become active:
Pity that their viewers are rather tongue-tied regarding divulgement of
service addresses. They regularly shipwreck trying to get a grip on
Germany federality (finally we reached the bottom line of the top down

Well! Too much for an email i guess.

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