WikiProject Belgium/Mapping resources/SPW

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SPW's PICC map of Wallonia with resolution < 25 cm

The PICC map is useful to use as a reference in Wallonia. Like any other map, it's not authoritarian; the ground truth always prevails. The PICC is comparable to the GRB in Flanders.

The JOSM PICC layer is available in JOSM. It will appear by default in the Imagery menu if you are viewing an area in Wallonia.

Here is a legend of the map.

PICC is made from aerial photographs with a precision better than 25 cm. They are digitalized and orthorectified. This means that errors due to the obliqueness of the photography are corrected, something which is impossible to do as an OSM'er.

Although PICC is available since 2010, the copyright status was even less clear before 2016. Wallonia was mapped with other, less accurate sources, so realignment might be desirable.


The legal status of tracing from PICC has been a point of great debate on the Belgian mailing list talk-be. For some it is extremely clear that we can trace from SPW datasets like the PICC and the aerial imagery, for others it is extremely clear that we cannot.

PICC's licence is described at PICC's information page at SPW's geoportail site. The disagreement arises out of confusion over the terms "accessing" and "usage". There are separate licences for access and for usage. Some believe the description on the sites alone allows tracing from the PICC, others find it way too vague.

André Pirard has contacted SPW and he says he received an official reply saying that tracing is allowed. See the section #SPW Cartopro's clarification letter below. A representative from the Licensing Working Group remarked that "your typical government GIS department employee has no idea of what their terms do or do not allow". Pirard still claims that the response is official and written with their lawyer.

André Pirard's point of view

The rest of this page is a message from André Pirard.

For the PICC, what "copying" means and what can be done by "tracing" is rather clearly defined in its Conditions on SPW's site.
With PICC, one can do two things (see the titles):

Obtenir une copie de la donnée (= get a copy of the data)

that is copying (downloading files) and the conditions are:

Consulter (= browsing = what OSM does: tracing VIA A WEB SERVICE)

that is browsing or tracing and the conditions are:


Would anyone be in an urgent need of a "license name" for"consulter", it is "public domain".
According to the "Conditions particulières de type B1", the "copying" of PICC's data is subject to

  1. a possibly payed license
  2. be signed between SPW and the user
  3. for only a well defined, agreed part of Wallonia
  4. over a limited period
  5. for an agreed restricted use.

That kind of contract obviously cannot have a conventional license name. But that does not apply to OSM.


Please use it with its perfect companion JOSM.

Suspecting that some vigilantes could not agree with what I understood and wrote here above, I wrote and explained the SPW Carto what OSM does with maps (tracing, which they already knew) and I asked them to produce a clear explanation of what is allowed (which I had already understood).

Please note that this answer letter is an official statement, written with the help of their lawyer. Regarding "I [don't] care what certain persons from PICC said to someone else I don't really know", there is no need to personally know those persons, nor me, more than the persons who announced Bing's public domain.

for your help, Papou.

SPW Cartopro's clarification letter

Subject: RE: Utilisation du PICC pour Openstreetmap
Date: Thu, 18 Aug 2016 14:27:03 +0000
From: helpdesk.carto <>

Les utilisations que l’utilisateur peut faire sont :

  • se connecter sur le serveur du SPW et calquer le PICC afin de faire des fonds de plan (=vectoriser),
  • réutiliser à sa guise les fonds de plan (1) (commercialement ou non),
  • ne peut pas copier le PICC (2) sur ses serveurs à des fins non-commerciales, sauf autorisation préalable du SPW (les conditions particulières d’accès et d’utilisation s’appliquant aux PICC ont normalement été écrites par la Géométrologie et devraient être en ligne pour être opposables aux utilisateurs),
  • ne peut pas copier PICC (2) sur ses serveurs et les réutiliser à des fins commerciales (les revendre ou permettre à ses utilisateurs de les revendre),
  • ne peut pas, non plus, recréer le service sur ses serveurs, sauf autorisation préalable du SPW.

(1) Les fonds de plans sont le résultats de la vectorisation que vous réaliserez sur base du service.
Il s’agit là, du résultat de votre vectorisation basée sur le service du PICC.

(2) Le point relatif à la copie du PICC concerne les données vectorisées que nous distribution. Dans votre cas, cela ne vous concerne pas.

Je reste à votre disposition.

HelpDesk Carto

Département de la Géomatique

NB: in SPW's terminology, "service" means the WMS or similar server.

Official authorization (May 2018)

See File:OSM license for SPW WMS usage.pdf