The provisions of the Federal Geoinformation Act (SR 510.62) and the associated ordinances governing the creation, distribution and use of official survey and geological datasets have been in force since 1 July 2008. The new legislation secures special legal protection of these datasets. Access to, and use of, swisstopo geodata are regulated by the ordinances on geoinformation (SR 510.620), official surveying (SR 510.626) and geology (SR 510.624) dated 21 May 2008, and the ordinance of the Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport on fees and charges of the Federal Office of Topography (swisstopo ordinance on fees and charges, SR 510.620.2) dated 20 November 2009.
Licence to use geodata
A licence is required for the use of official survey and geological data. The Geoinformation Act distinguishes between private and commercial use. A licence for private use is issued when the map or data are ordered and the corresponding fee has been paid. A special licence is required for commercial use. However, swisstopo also makes certain geodata available for downloading or within the scope of its geoservices without charge.
Conditions of use
The Geoinformation Ordinance stipulates that for the private use of geodata the corresponding provisions of the Federal Copyright Act of 9 October 1992 (SR 231.1) apply analogously. This means that no special licence is required for the following uses:
- Private use and reproduction, and use and reproduction by persons with close ties, e.g. relatives and friends
- Use by teachers as educational material in classrooms
- Reproduction in businesses, public administration bodies and similar organisations, for internal information or documentation
Other uses for which no licences are required are defined in the swisstopo ordinance on fees and charges. The list is complete (see Use without a licence).
All other uses are regarded as commercial. The commercial use of official survey and geological data requires a licence, unless the data have been explicitly released for broader use with a corresponding licence. The term “commercial use” includes publication in printed (analogue) or digital form, modifications carried out automatically or manually, digitisation, renaming, etc.
Payment of fees
As a rule, a fee is payable for the commercial use of official survey and geological data, or for the direct or indirect commercial use of such data for own purposes. The amount payable is based on the supplied or used datasets, less any applicable discounts, plus fixed and variable costs of provision and delivery of the data. Discounts are granted in accordance with the importance of the geodata end product, the permissible degree of usability or modification, and the intended purpose.
Requests for licences to reproduce and publish geodata
Requests must be made in writing – please use the corresponding form.
General enquiries concerning the commercial use of geodata:
- Use of current and historic map data, contact email@example.com
- Use of orthophotos, landscape models, height models and other geodata, contact firstname.lastname@example.org