NOTICE: is no longer in use from 1st March 2024. Please use the OpenStreetMap Community Forum


This is my first approach at OSM, so forgive me for my lack of knowledge. I would like to have the borders from Belgium on the following administrative levels:

  • 2 (national border)
  • 4 (regions)
  • 6 (provinces)
  • 8 (municipalities)

These borders would be read into a Java application to draw a heatmap, displaying a certain value for each municipality. Therefore it would be nice to get these borders in a format that I can read in Java (like some sort of XML), in the form of an ordered list of points (with lat/lng coordinates) that form a polygon.

After browsing the OSM wiki and really breaking my head over this matter, I figured I should download a (part of a) planet file, and extract the data that I need using osmosis. So currently I have a part of a planet file (planet-benelux-120926.osm.gz) and osmosis, and this is where I'm stuck.

I hope someone can help me out.

Thanks in advance,


asked 26 Sep '12, 03:14

Vincent%20Baeten's gravatar image

Vincent Baeten
accept rate: 0%

There's a number of things you can do. One is doing it with Osmosis or osmfilter (if you can read a little German or use an auto-translator, see this forum thread). This will however only extract the ways and relations and you will still need some processing afterwards. (Simply speaking, you'll end up with a file that says "the boundary of province X is made up of parts A, B, and C ... the part B consists of points G, H, and J... the point J has the coordinate lat/lon".)

If you have Linux machine and are not afraid to use it, then you could also take the osm2pgsql (or imposm) utility and import your Benelux file into a PostGIS datbase. This has the advantage that you'll then have the boundaries assembled for you (you can then do something along the lines of "select name,geometry from some_table where admin_level=6"). You can easily request the geometry as a sequence of coordinates, or even export it to KML or some other format easily readable in your Java application.

There's also a rather new piece of software specially geared towards creating a set of admin shape files, here:

permanent link

answered 26 Sep '12, 07:55

Frederik%20Ramm's gravatar image

Frederik Ramm ♦
accept rate: 23%

edited 08 Oct '12, 07:46

It's extremely easy to do with the JOSM editor.
Focus on any part of the Belgian boundary and File>download the map around it.
You've go the Belgian relation. Select it (right-click>Select relation)
Create a File>New layer and Edit>Merge selection into it.
Then successively select boundaries[X] (of lower level X) and right-click>Download incomplete members.
You've got boundaries down to level X.

As it still needs installing JOSM and some expertise, I have done that for you.
You will find the files here.

permanent link

answered 22 Mar '13, 20:33

GentilPapou's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

edited 22 Mar '13, 20:40

Follow this question

By Email:

Once you sign in you will be able to subscribe for any updates here



Answers and Comments

Markdown Basics

  • *italic* or _italic_
  • **bold** or __bold__
  • link:[text]( "title")
  • image?![alt text](/path/img.jpg "title")
  • numbered list: 1. Foo 2. Bar
  • to add a line break simply add two spaces to where you would like the new line to be.
  • basic HTML tags are also supported

Question tags:


question asked: 26 Sep '12, 03:14

question was seen: 17,037 times

last updated: 22 Mar '13, 20:40

NOTICE: is no longer in use from 1st March 2024. Please use the OpenStreetMap Community Forum