LAND USER AND LAND COVER MAPS OF EUROPE: A WEBGIS PLATFORM
Keywords: Land Use, Land Cover, Web Services, Open Source Software, Open Data, WebGIS
Abstract. This paper presents the methods and implementation processes of a WebGIS platform designed to publish the available land use and land cover maps of Europe at continental scale. The system is built completely on open source infrastructure and open standards. The proposed architecture is based on a server-client model having GeoServer as the map server, Leaflet as the client-side mapping library and the Bootstrap framework at the core of the front-end user interface. The web user interface is designed to have typical features of a desktop GIS (e.g. activate/deactivate layers and order layers by drag and drop actions) and to show specific information on the activated layers (e.g. legend and simplified metadata). Users have the possibility to change the base map from a given list of map providers (e.g. OpenStreetMap and Microsoft Bing) and to control the opacity of each layer to facilitate the comparison with both other land cover layers and the underlying base map. In addition, users can add to the platform any custom layer available through a Web Map Service (WMS) and activate the visualization of photos from popular photo sharing services. This last functionality is provided in order to have a visual assessment of the available land coverages based on other user-generated contents available on the Internet. It is supposed to be a first step towards a calibration/validation service that will be made available in the future.