Recently the European Environment Agency (EEA) has requested services through a public bid for the provision of consultancy services and the provision of licences for (existing and future) pan-European geo-referenced data sets to fulfil its mandate to provide timely, targeted, relevant and reliable information about our environment.
The datasets required will come on the one hand from the different environmental data centres, but equally important from other sources of general reference data and other thematic areas than the environment, partly coming from public administrations at different hierarchical levels as well as private organisations (as the road network data from EuroGeographics and TeleAtlas). In a public bid, GeoVille & Gisat’s data fusion offer, combined with its experience with regard to GMES service provisions for land applications, was able to convince and best meet EEA’s requirements.
Fulfilling pan-European data requirements
Being partners in the European Topic Centre on Land Use and Spatial Information (ETC LUSI), GeoVille and Gisat work with European-wide environmental data sets managed by the European Environment Agency (EEA) with a proven track record in data processing and analysing the territorial and environmental dimension of issues like urban sprawl, territorial cohesion policy, rural development or mountain areas.
GeoVille’s proposal to the EEA, which was submitted together with the Czech geoinformation company Gisat, a long-time partner in the various joint GMES activities, was mainly based on datasets which already proved their value in support of the EEA data needs. By combining several existing data sources, like transport infrastructure and high resolution layers describing, for example green urban areas, small water bodies, built-up areas including the degree of soil sealing (imperviousness), the forest layer and other – still to be defined – high resolution layers of the Land Monitoring Core Service (LMCS), GeoVille & Gisat is able to offer an innovative approach to satisfy EEA needs for timely consistent, European-wide land cover information on short term.
An important part of this work will be related to making the different data sets geometrically and thematically consistent to each other, as most of them were created independent from each other.
High resolution layers could be the bridge between European coverage and timeliness requirements and national accuracy and detail demands. The integration of such high resolution maps with additional (in-situ) information are a big step forward and will lead to further enhancement of spatial characterisation of the land as used in the EEA integrated assessment framework based on LEAC.
The following services and supplies will be provided through GeoVille & Gisat to EEA:
- maintenance services for products currently used by EEA
- maintenance services for data sets listed in the annexes of the INSPIRE directive
- updates and processing of geospatial data sets
- extension of area coverage of data sets
- documentation of data sets, including data quality, use conditions and processing steps applied during data “manipulation” of derived data sets
- consultancy services.
Perspective of EEA’s geospatial data needs
In the meantime, EEA and Member States need to continue discussing how to extract most useful synergies from national and European data creation activities within the context of GMES, INSPIRE and SEIS initiatives.
When working on land cover issues, we also must not forget the global activities which will have a growing impact on European efforts in the future. The GlobCorine project is a first step towards using medium resolution satellite data to create information that is – to a certain extent – compatible with CLC.
In addition, all the information already created by the EEA should not be ignored and activities doubled or repeated. The EEA has spent much time and effort e.g. on the creation of an improved database on rivers and river catchments or dams. Data from EuroGeographics, TeleAtlas or any other source should not replace these data, but should be used to improve the data content, building on the current data sets and in a way consistent to other related activities run by the EEA in the spatial data domain.