Skip to content

UrbanAtlas+: Easy Exploration of Complex Data

GISAT succesfully completed the UrbanAtlas+ project

End of the year GISAT, has successfuly completeted 3 years project called UrbanAtlas+, supported by ESA. The UrbanAtlas+ project has explored the potential of the recent GMES Urban Atlas service in support spatial planning tasks at local and regional level. At the the same time it has explored also how the recent technological advances in data presentation and exploration can support turning the data into standard information products. For better understanding of urban land cover and land use changes and related processes, the interactive WebTool based demonstrators has been developed, for both monitoring over time and integrating socio-economic data.

Flexible urban structure data exploration at detailed level (source: Gisat)

The aim of the project was therefore not only to make local and regional users aware of such new data sources, but also to explore to which extent and under which conditions Urban Atlas land monitoring service implemented under GMES (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security), primarily for the information support at the Europen level, can also serve the much larger community of spatial planners at local and regional level. As more then 75% of European citizens already live in urban areas and sustainable urban growth management is one of the most challenging tasks Europe-wide, that would be an excellet justification we further evolvement of the GMES Urban Atlas service into multi-scale and multi-purposes harmonized monitoring tool for European urbanized areas.

The User organisations involved with the UrbanAtlas+ included:

  • City Development Authority Prague (URM / MHMP) as local/city level user
  • Regional Authority of the Pilsen Region (RAPR) as regional user
  • Regional Authority of the Moravian-Silesian Region (RAMSR) as regional user
  • Regional Authority of the South Moravia Region (RASMR) as regional user
  • Czech Environmental Information Agency (CENIA) as national user

Despite the scale limitation of European Urban Atlas service (comparing to detailed regional/local datasets), the UrbanAtlas+ project results showed clearly huge service potential to support strategic planning at regional and local level, especially on sub-urban city outskirts where despite of the dynamic development, limited information support is available today for urban planners being out of the city mapping responsibility. There is potential in monitoring of these areas to plan, implement and monitor appropriate policy measures related to city and population growth, city competitiveness and quality of life, especially if spatial data are integrated with related socio-economic data. Besides, comparison of city status and development between individual regions or cities within the Czech Republic or beyond was also highly appreciated as it is not currently possible due to general incomparability of regional/urban planning documentation. In this respect, the GMES Urban Atlas datasets can further support INSPIRE harmonisation activities at this level.

Comparison of integrated spatial and statistical data including scatterograms (source: Gisat)

On the other hand, the UrbanAtlas+ project also clearly showed that certain minimal contents is essential for utility of analytical power of the GMES Urban Atlas data and that some aspects of the GMES Urban Atlas implementation specification has to be enhanced in favour of its future use beyond the European institution level. Main issue identified during the UrbanAtlas+ projects has been communicated and as these issues don’t represent the major cost drivers, hopefully they can be resolved during upcoming Urban Atlas data update organised by DG Regio.

The UrbanAtlas+ demonstrators created using the web-based framework allows original Urban Atlas data, statistics, indicators and encapsulated functionalities to be provided in a easy way, which can be directly utilized in spatial planning procedures or further explored or modified by the users seeking for new applications potential. In fact, the web-based approach to the demonstrator developed demonstrates not only potential of EO based GMES data. but also potential of the new emerging technologies to present in the EO based information in a way, which can effectively support user-friendly exploration and analysis of large spatial datasets.

Flexible integrated zoning analysis e.g. situation in flooding and conservation zones (source: Gisat)

Despite some contradicting GMES development in last year, number of follow-ups has been achieved and further demonstrations were developed focused both on the GMES Urban Atlas / Urban Audit potential on European level as well as on potential of WebTool software framework in general including first commercial project currently provided for the World Bank client.

About UrbanAtlas+ project

The UrbanAtlas+ project has been supported by ESA under the Czech incentive scheme. Although serving primarily urban and regional planning user community in the Czech Republic, it reflects also national and European directives context, thereby results could support spatial planning authorities in general across Europe in their efforts to fulfil a broad range of monitoring and reporting obligations.

GISAT as the project leader has utilized its long term expertize in land cover / land use applications in spatial planning domain as well as in the GMES context.

Source GISAT