Land Information System Austria (LiSA)

Published on: 17/03/2010

The project Land Information System Austria (LISA) - funded by the Austrian Space Applications Programme (ASAP-6) - aims to overcome the shortcomings of the existing Land Cover/ land Use (LC/ LU) data sets for regional, national as well as European management and reporting requirements. The objective of LISA is to achieve a consensus on a new Austrian land information system and demonstrate its benefits offering improved spatial and thematic content. LISA is designed to serve common land monitoring needs providing information on the status quo and the changes occurring in Austria's landscape. Thereby LISA will enable a wide range of downstream sectoral applications and user groups (multi-purpose / multi-user).

LISA applies cutting edge science, innovative technology and provides cost efficiency by combining satellite with high resolution in-situ data, in order to achieve economics of scale and sustainability of funding through a shared effort across different administration units.

Through LISA existing and planned investments of public administration with regard to spatial data infrastructure are synergistically used. Besides the benefits for the public administration, LISA is a further important step to link national GMES activities with European GMES projects and consolidate the leading role of Austrian providers in land monitoring. LISA contributes significantly to an EU wide GMES Land Monitoring Core Service combining GMES with national data in a bottom-up approach and to the creation of critical production capacities in Austria.



Policy Context

National and regional legislation as well as new European directives demand up-to-date, more detailed, harmonised information on regional and local level, in order to fulfil the required reporting obligations. Therefore, the availability of a homogenous land cover and land use (LC/LU) dataset for Austria is an indispensable public necessity, needed for political decisions, effective administration, successful corporate governance and personal usage of the citizens. In particular such geo-information, especially on the periodic monitoring of changes, is required by departments of public administration at state and federal level for the interests of spatial planning, forestry and agriculture, water management, natural hazard management, environmental and nature conservation. Detailed data on land cover are also required in the private sector in fields such as site planning or geomarketing, to name but a few.

Europe and Austria can build on a long experience of successful activities on land cover and land use monitoring. However, up to now in Austria these datasets have been produced with different standards, lack coverage or comparability and are in most cases outdated. To meet the new European requirements and obligations in terms of environmental information, such data need to be updated and harmonized to specific standards. In this context, the availability of data fulfilling the above mentioned criteria has become mandatory for policy decisions, a more effective management of the territory, successful governance and at they respond, at the same time, to the Austrian citizens' demand of transparency.


Description of target users and groups

The data products provided by LISA are required by the public authorities to decide upon the policies to be followed for the regional planning –in terms of land, water and forestry management - and for environmental needs and by the provate sector for decisions concerning the land planning its commercialisation.

The target users are both public and private authorities dealing with environmental issues and land management policies as well as citizens who wish to have access to clear and transparent information on land data and use.

Description of the way to implement the initiative

The primary objective of the project is to provide the various user groups with harmonised, geometrically accurate and current information on land cover and use. To achieve this result, the project has been developed in different phases. The first phase of the LiSA project, realised in the frame of the Austrian Space Application Program (ASAP) 6, focuses on translating the users needs into concrete technical requirements and on the presentation of the basic economic and technical feasibility. In the frame of ASAP 7, there will be a large scale presentation of the applicability and implementation of the ‘change detection" LiSA concept.

The focus of the first project phase is laid on the correct transcription of user needs into user requirements and the demonstration and verification of the technical and economic feasibility of the concept.

The main result of the LISA concept phase is a feasible and technical and scientifically verified prototype catalogue defined by the user community, describing the LISA data model, the individual LC/LU classes to be derived from satellite and in situ data (including required geometric and thematic accuracies), as well as a description of the design and features of the object-oriented LISA data model. The content of the LISA catalogue will be agreed and verified at national level and drawn up according to the demands of European initiatives such as INSPIRE and GMES. In addition, GIS-ready LISA prototype maps are produced in all Austrian provinces covering 1,500 km² to demonstrate the added value of LISA in different landscape settings for a broad user group and to allow for realistic cost estimation towards a large-area roll-out. Quality assurance of the production is guaranteed through an ISO 9000 certification of the production team members.

The LISA concept phase is organized in two consecutive iterations, i.e. the verified LISA prototypes from the first iterations will be handed over again to the user group in order to perform a refinement of the LISA concept in a second iteration. The efficiency and user applicability is further extended through the establishment of a web-based, standardized distribution service for sharing the LISA Land Use and Land Cover information at local, regional, national and international level.

In addition, a price definition takes place in the prototyping process, which together with the fulfilment of the scientific standard and the user specifications will be verified by the scientific / technical advisory board.


Technology solution

LiSA combines modern scientific methods and technologies with cost effective solutions. The analysis of combined data sources – high resolution satellite data and in-situ collected data - ensure an efficient use of the information available as well as a proper use of the financial resources, thus making costs sustainable by all administrative units involved.

LiSA users can access the information thanks to a proper distribution platform. at local and international level. During the iteration process of the project,  the results provided by LiSA has have been made permanently available online to the scientific and technical community through the GeoPortal site.

Main results, benefits and impacts

  • Creation of a LiSA maps catalogue comprehensive of a detailed description of the data model adopted by LiSA for land use and land cover;
  • A description of the LiSA database architecture and data model, including a detailed assessment of the system in terms of flexibility and compatibility;
  • GIS data and prototypes in the participating provinces, as well as information on the production costs;
  • LiSA web-based, standardized distribution system (GeoPortal).

Lessons learnt

For the development of a complex and distributed system like LISA it is inevitable to contact all national stakeholder at an early stage of the project. As not all issues regarding the availability and format of geobase data are known in advance, such a project like LISA has to generate various scenarios for the integration of geobase data. A clear orientation of the system development on user requirements and future policy trends is a absolutely necessary task. However the key factor of success will be to find the appropriate organizational joint funding mechanism to integrate the relevant partners and link up to European initiatives.

Scope: National