Art. 4 - by Branka Cuca - POLIMI (Italy)

GeoPan Atl@s is one of the ENERGIC OD applications that regards the territorial scale of landscapes and built environment to facilitate the navigation across time and space using multi-temporal and multi scale geospatial Open Data. In this article we reflect upon the policy context and technical advancements of this APP that is currently under development.

An extensive number of Directives and Conventions in Europe that interest geospatial information but also specific features of the landscape create a complex and dynamic policy context for this APP. To name a few, such Directives and communications are: INSPIRE Directive; Common Agriculture Policy (CAP); Habitat Directive (Natura2000); European Landscape Convention (Florence Convention); European Convention on the Protection of the Archaeological Heritage (Valetta Convention) and World Heritage Convention (with focus on Cultural Landscapes).




















Figure 1. Process of Functionalities development


Regarding National Italian Policy framework three specific instruments of interest were identified on national and regional levels:

  • National Policy Framework: Codice dei Beni culturali e del paesaggio " (Codice Urbani). Translation: Codex on Culturale Heritage and Landscape (Urbani Codex) - Legislative Deree Jan 22 2004, n. 42;

  • Regional Policy Framework (Lombardy region): Piano Paesaggistico Regionale - Piano Territoriale Regionale (PTR) Translation: Regional Plan for Landscape - section of Regional Territorial Plan of Lombardy Region;

  • Regional Policy Framework (Lombardy region): Programma di Sviluppo Rurale (PSR) 2014 – 2020. Translation: Rural Development Program 2014 (in particular under the Axis 2, 4 and Axis 6).

A previously conducted exercise (WP4) has enabled the developers to consolidate the ground of this APP in terms of Thematic fields of interest such as agriculture, biodiversity, ecosystems and so forth. Such topics will be explored through direct engagement of end-users communities such as – in the case of GeoPan Atl@s - geologists, planners, public and private bodies involved with landscape monitoring, protection and management. This direct contact with users will enable the developers to collect specific requirements and translate them in technological solutions and functionalities. Such process will be cyclic in order to allow a high number of possible iterations in respect to the user-needs (Figure 1).

The GeoPan Atl@s APP aims to facilitate by multiple users the access to different multi-temporal data sets, coming from different sources (historical maps from national archives, satellite imagery from ground segments data distributors , national and regional geoportals, etc.). A combined use of such data is often not fully exploited in the activities of planning or risk management, due to different factors. Once the dataset are made available following the Open Data protocol (e.g. historical map series), users should be enabled to geospatially relate, combine and use such data sets in a faster way. Multi-temporal geospatial open data set will consider historic topographic and cadaster maps, available current raster and vector information on regional level, but also the satellite sample imagery that will be experimented to demonstrate the geographic coverage potential.

From a technical perspective, GeoPan Atl@s is built on the basis of the well-known HTML/CSS/JS structure. This way GeoPan Atl@s can be accessed by all browsers supporting HTML5 (e.g., Safari iOS, Google Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Opera) both from desktop and mobile (e.g. tablets and smartphones). In addition, the solution is also released as an .apk file (which is the package format used by Android for distribution and installation of mobile Apps). GeoPan Atl@s will allow to retrieve open available datasets either starting from a free search and a “profile search”. This second functionality, which will be implemented in the next release of the APP, will enable to provide the definition of a user profile (e.g. a geologist, a landscape planner, other specialists, etc.) for which it will be possible to identify a set of semantic keywords. Once a profile is associated to a set of predefined keywords, it will be used by the different subjects of the same profile in order to search for datasets connected those keywords identified. Once the data are retrieved, one of the functionalities of the GeoPan Atl@s regards “layer handling” (Figure 2) that allows to turn “on” and “off” the layers of Open Geo Data obtained by a specific query. Furthermore, the APP allows functionalities of digitalization and geo-referencing.

















Figure 2. Screenshot of the GeoPan Atl@s APP with functionalities