Geoinformation and Open Data

Aerial view

Marine Spatial Data at BSH

The Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH) collects and stores data relating to space and time (spatial data) in various fields of activity. These include the areas of nautical hydrography, oceanography, marine geology and marine environmental monitoring as well as the implementation of licensing procedures and spatial planning in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). Comprehensive marine spatial data is a prerequisite for marine surveillance, coastal protection, shipping safety, integrated marine spatial planning and for the offshore industry. It is particularly important that spatial data from various subject areas are available and can be interlinked, visualised, analysed and interpreted quickly and easily.


BSH brings together the spatial data sets of the various departments in the spatial data infrastructure of BSH (GDI-BSH). This enables fast, standardized and interdisciplinary access to the spatial data of BSH. The GeoSeaPortal is the central access point to the GDI-BSH for internal and external users.

The spatial data and the spatial data services published in the GeoSeaPortal are freely accessible. In accordance with the Ordinance to Determine the Conditions for Use for the Provision of Spatial Data of the Federation (GeoNutzV), they may be used without restrictions if a source note is added.

More information about spatial data

National Infrastructure for Spatial Information (GDI-DE)

The Spatial Data Infrastructure Germany (GDI-DE) is a joint project of the Federal Government, the federal states and local authorities. In the GDI-DE, spatial data are made available via Internet. is the gateway to the GDI-DE to search for, find and use spatial data from the Federal Government, the federal states and local authorities. With the development of the GDI-DE, the Federal Government, the Länder and local authorities make their spatial data more accessible. Spatial data are also networked internationally through the GDI-DE. It is part of the European Spatial Data Infrastructure, which is implemented via the EU Directive INSPIRE.

With the GDI-BSH and the GeoSeaPortal, BSH provides an important building block for the GDI-DE.

European Spatial Data Infrastructure (INSPIRE)

INSPIRE (INfrastructure for SPatial InfoRmation in the European Community) is an initiative of the European Commission with the aim of creating a European spatial data infrastructure for the purpose of a common environmental policy. Directive 2007/2/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 March 2007 establishing an Infrastructure for Spatial Information in the European Community (INSPIRE) entered into force on 15 May 2007 and obliges the Member States to make their spatial reference data and thematic data available, initially by compliant and in a second step as interoperable network services which are also used to make the data of BSH available for the European Spatial Data Infrastructure.

BSH data will be made available for the European Spatial Data Infrastructure INSPIRE through the GDI-DE.

INSPIRE (PDF, 105KB, Not barrier-free file.)

Geodata Access Act (GeoZG)

The Geodata Access Act (GeoZG) is a German federal law. It concerns the spatial data, spatial data services and metadata available at the federal authorities and the direct federal corporations or public law institutions. The scope of application extends to the territory of the Federal Republic of Germany including the exclusive economic zone (§§ 1, 2 GeoZG). The Act serves to transpose the European INSPIRE Directive into national law at federal level. State laws apply to spatial data within the jurisdiction of the federal states and municipalities.
The Geodata Access Act regulates access to exclusively German spatial data which is available in electronic form and which is in the area of responsibility of a federal spatial data holding agency (§ 2 GeoZG). The data are made available for general use. They are subject to the Information Re-Use Act (IWG) (§ 11 GeoZG). Access restrictions result, among other things, from reference to the Environmental Information Act (UIG) (§ 12 GeoZG).

Open Data in the BSH

The BSH makes a large number of data available to the public free of charge and licence for subsequent use. A distinction is made between processed data (products) and raw, unprocessed data (e.g. measurement data). The unprocessed data enable users to develop new applications by including different data sources. An example of this is the optimization of connections by linking the data of different means of transport such as local traffic, long-distance traffic, car sharing or city bikes.

The BSH supports the idea of free data and is constantly expanding its range of freely available data. The provision of this data is based on various legal principles, which are briefly explained below.

More information about Open Data

Open Data law and further information about it

Important points

  • Unprocessed data is provided which the authorities have collected in order to fulfil their tasks under public law,
  • access to the data is possible via the Internet.

Provided data

  • Data which is stored electronically and which
  • that are structured, for example, in tables or lists,
  • data relating to circumstances outside the authority,
  • unprocessed (raw) data, unless processing was necessary to enable publication,
  • data not collected for research purposes.

Deadlines for provision

  • July 2018 - Provision of data that can be made available without major technical effort
  • July 2019 - Provision of data that can only be provided with considerable technical effort

More detailed information on the provision of data in this context can be found in the Open Data Act.

Benefits and possibilities

  • Economic benefit through innovation, new business models and start-ups, also outside the transport industry,
  • benefits for road users: Enabling applications, especially for intermodal transport optimisation,
  • strengthening citizens' confidence through greater transparency.

Additional Information


Coordinator Geo Data

Johannes Melles +49 40 3190-3420


Coordinator Open Data

Dr. Stefan Lütgert +49 40 3190-2310

BSH GeoSeaPortal

Themenseite Bathymetrie im GeoSeaportal des Bundesamtes für Seeschifffahrt und Hydrographie; Link öffnet die Anwendung GeoSeaPortal