Development of a basis information layer for the monitoring and cartography of a rural area in Flanders

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Context and objectives

Planning of open space requires insight in the phenomenon of open space and its dynamics in time. Landscape, environment, nature, agriculture are information layers needed for the study of open space.
Conservation of open space is a priority issue in the structural spatial planning of Flanders.

The 'Vlaamse Landmaatschappij (VLM)' is a para-regional institution responsible for the reorganisation of agricultural parcels, land use planning and the manure bank in the Flanders. The collection and processing of geographic data required to realise the aforementioned tasks, belongs to the mandate of the VLM as well.

The pilot project aimed in the first place at the production of a reference classification (up-to-date land cover/use on a detailed scale) for Flanders, suitable as a basis for multiple applications (within the VLM or within other institutions). Satellite images are the optimal information source for such a reference layer. In the second place, the project aimed at (a) the elaboration of a methodology for structural mapping of rural areas and the extraction of qualitative indicators, and (b) the development of a scenario for monitoring landscapes in Flanders based on the reference classification.

Project outcome

Expected scientific results

Reference classification of the land cover in the Flanders (1995) in raster format (resolution of 20 m) with 27 classes of land cover and land use (60 Mb, indexed colour)
Algorithm for open space analysis : applied to determine the present state of open space left in the valley of the Leie and Scheldt, and the valley of the Nete
Algorithm for structural analysis : landscapes are categorised as open, semi-open, or closed, and as heterogeneous, semi-heterogeneous, or homogeneous.
Guidelines for the potential user, available on the Internet at
CD-ROM, integrating the reference classification (raster format) with various vector databases
Posters : one of the classifications covering Flanders, one illustrating the methodological approach.

Further possible fields of application and derived products :
- monitoring of land cover/use, landscape structures,
- estimation of statistics by (delimited) area in the framework of environmental impact assessment studies
- determination of the degree of morphological urbanisation
- differentiation of the rural areas according to Structuurplan Vlaanderen
- production of maps : silence/noise, landscape valuation, sensitivity to soil erosion
Project leader(s): KULeuven - Division Forest, Nature and Landscape
Location: Region:
  • Vlaanderen