Web Cartography for National Spatial Data Infrastructure’s Belgium, Leuven

Last month Paul attended a workshop on Web Cartography for National Spatial Data Infrastructure’s at the Faculty Club in Leuven, Belgium.

© Faculty Club 2013

Leuven is situated about 25 kilometres east of Brussels and is home to Anheuser-Busch In Bev, the world’s largest brewer group. The workshop saw a number of National Mapping Agencies (NMA’s) and other organisations get together to present on a number of topics around web cartography.

The workshop began with Sebastien Mustière from Institut Geographique National (IGN), France, giving the first presentation on the work done through their ‘Géoportail’, a web mapping service that publishes maps and aerial imagery ofFrance and its territories.

Sebastian spoke about the necessity for consistent styling and representation of features across all map scales focussing on the need to maintain user experience. He highlighted this by showing some work IGN have done to standardise map legends and to automatically derive up-to-date vector maps from vector geographic databases.

Of particular interest was how users could style their maps using colour palettes derived from photos they had uploaded to the portal.

Next up was Lars Harrie from Lund University,Sweden. He presented on the work currently being done by the Geographic Information System (GIS) Centre in developing methods that allow geographic data from several different sources to be processed in real time to produce a map.

Paul Hardy from ESRI then gave a presentation on web cartography in the context of a modern GIS platform (ESRI ArcGIS).

Mikael Johansson from Lantmäteriet (The National Land Survey of Sweden) gave an interesting presentation on the work they have done in improving their MapServer service.

He spoke about moving their map service environment from a static map to a dynamic map service, resulting in more up to date maps as MapServer renders the map images directly from their vector data as required.

Géoportail: IGN’s web map service

Next Edward Mac Gillavry from Webmapper in the Netherlands spoke about Publieke Dienstverlening op de Kaart (PDOK) or Public Service on the Map whose objective is to make national geographic data services widely accessible to society and to address the requirements laid out in the European INSPIRE directive.

He also spoke about Webmappers’ GEOZET, an interactive and accessible map service built using OpenLayers.

Julien Gaffuri from the Joint Research Centre in Ispra, Italy then gave an insight into how visualisation aspects are being addressed by INSPIRE.

Jean-Christophe Guélat from Swisstopo, Switzerland, gave a presentation on the work they have done on integrating their up to date Topographical Landscape Model data into a new web map service. To do this they created a workflow that allowed them to export a large amount of vector data into a raster format (GeoTIFF) using ESRI ArcGIS.

Frédérique Spitaels from National Geographic Institute of Belgium (NGI) gave the last presentation on CartoWeb, a new product aimed at distributing NGI data on the internet within a cached view service.

To close the workshop we were split into three groups where, on a rotation basis, we discussed how web cartography could be improved.

The discussions revolved around three themes:

  • Visualisation of overlaying map layers from disparate web map services.
  • Towards intelligent automated web mapping from NMA/SDI data: what tools do we have, what are we missing…?
  • Towards intelligent automated web mapping from NMA/SDI data: challenges for research.

The workshop was very informative and gave an insight into some of the excellent work being done throughout Europe in web cartography.

It highlighted some of the challenges facing the subject as well as the need for better collaboration between organisations in order to maintain understanding and development.

If you would like more information about the presentations then you can find it here.

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