This page discusses land-use/land-cover mapping issues and best practices in Belgium. Land-use refers to the utilisation of the land for human activities, while land-cover refers to the actual cover of the soil. Land-use and land-cover classes does not necessarily overlap: an area covered by grass (landcover=grass) can have different utilisations: agricultural (landuse=meadow), leisure (leisure=park, garden), sport (leisure=golf_course, pitch, ...), etc.
How are Belgian landscapes mapped in OpenStreetMap? What are the best practices for land-use mapping adapted to Belgium (and similar regions)? What tags should we use? How to digitalize the land-use/land-cover features?
Here we list the questions that are often raised by the community of OSM mappers about land-use/land-cover mapping. It would be nice if we can provide examples of how features are mapped (by link to some OSM area or objects), aerial imagery and on-ground pictures.
- landuse=forest vs natural=wood
- landuse=meadow vs landuse=farmland
- The landcover=* key: should it be used?
- How to map highways areas?
- landuse=highway vs area:highway vs ...
- How to map green areas in urban environment? Such as grass along public building, car parks, grass inside roundabout, etc.
Geometry / mapping issues
- Should land-use nodes be shared with nodes of adjacent (linear) features? In other words, do we let space between land-use polygons and adjacents roads/waterways?
- In what extent should land-use features overlap?
- Should the landuse/landcover features be continuous (in other words, do the polygons need to form a continuous layer, without gaps)?
- How should we parcelize land-use, as for instance agricultural parcels?
What are actual and potential use cases of land-use/land-cover information from OSM in Belgium? What does end-users need? Answering these questions should allow the OSM community to improve the ways of mapping. Please list some possible use-cases and as well as real examples.
- Plain cartography: land-use information is obviously useful for rendering, either in the default OSM Mapnik style and for others styles.
- OSM land-use features are known to be used to help producing land cover maps in the lifewatch project. See the map portal of lifewatch here. There was a talk about that at FOSS4G.be 2017 ("Making of the Lifewatch open data for biodiversity: synergies with OSM and FOSS4G", Julien Radoux). Note that Lifewatch data is open and can be used in OSM.
- OSM land-use/land-cover information could be use in hydrological modelling.
Potential data sources
The license of these data sources was not verified. Please have a look at the legal aspects before considering importing/use this data!
- Agricultural parcels in Flanders with crop type: http://www.geopunt.be/kaart?type=dataset&data=%5B%7B%27type%27%3A%27WMS%27%2C%27url%27%3A%27http%3A%2F%2Fgeoservices.informatievlaanderen.be%2Fraadpleegdiensten%2FALV%2Fwms%3Frequest%3DGetMap%26version%3D1.3.0%26service%3Dwms%27%2C%27layers%27%3A%5B%7B%27id%27%3A%27LbGebrPerc2016%27%2C%27title%27%3A%27Landbouwgebruikspercelen%20ALV%2C%202016%27%7D%5D%7D%5D
- Land-cover information from the LifeWatch (Wallonia only!): http://maps.elie.ucl.ac.be/lifewatch/ecotopes.html
- A blog post about land-use mapping in Belgium: http://www.nobohan.be/2017/04/20/landuse-osm-belgium/
- The presentation at FOSS4G.be 2017 “State of land-use mapping in Belgium”: http://www.nobohan.be/docs/2017_10_26_FOSS4G.be_OSMLanduse/index.html#/
- Some discussions at the talk-be mailing list: https://lists.openstreetmap.org/pipermail/talk-be/2017-April/009928.html
- A discussion about land-use mapping on a mapper's diary: https://www.openstreetmap.org/user/Nikola%20Bura/diary/43372