EuroGeographics is an international, not-for-profit organisation representing Europe’s National Mapping, Cadastral and Land Registration Authorities.
Working to empower users through trusted geospatial services, the organisation’s strength lies in its extensive membership which represents around 90% of the official bodies responsible for geodetic surveying, topographic mapping, cadastral surveys and land registration in Europe.
By providing easy access and encouraging greater use of datasets, EuroGeographics wanted to boost the development of innovative services to drive market development, accelerate economic growth and increase competitiveness by reducing costs.
The Open Maps for Europe project commenced in 2021, funded by the European Union and supported by the Open Data Directive.
thinkWhere was appointed by EuroGeographics to create the primary deliverable – a new online geoportal providing free-to-use geospatial data, mapping and services from more than 40 European countries.
“A user centric approach is essential to new product development. Collaboration with EuroGeographics and its partners during the discovery, design, build and deployment stages of the new geoportal has paid significant dividends throughout the Open Maps for Europe project, and has underpinned the market success.”
Head of Geospatial Services,
From the outset of the project, it was recognised that the online interface had to drive the user experience with simple journeys that would maximise the use of the core datasets.
A significant discovery exercise was undertaken to map the key stakeholders, identify the key user personas and use cases, and determine the key user journeys to be wireframed prior to any development work.
thinkWhere’s solution, built on its powerful geospatial platform, theMapCloud, provides a secure and scalable data infrastructure with a highly intuitive online interface for discovering, viewing, licensing and accessing the open datasets.
The datasets are available both as downloads and OGC compliant web services enabling the convenient and direct integration of the mapping services into third party business systems and applications.
The solution can be accessed here https://www.mapsforeurope.org
A number of additional releases of the interface have been delivered, updating and improving content as well as enhancing key features and capabilities in line with user feedback
By December 2022, there were over 4,000 registered users with around 4,700 dataset downloads and 6 million web service transactions.
Open Maps for Europe now drives applications for the benefit of European and global sustainability, safety and environment. The United Nations uses the open datasets for decision making, the development of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development and for their crisis response.
The European Environment Agency uses the data to increase feature visibility for the European Ground Motion Service.
The External Action Service uses it for planning of military mobility and investment programmes.
Open Maps for Europe for business
Following a successfully completed project, the journey towards meeting user requirements while maintaining accessibility continues.
The Open Maps for Europe 2 programme launched in January 2023 and aims to reinforce useability of Europe’s National and Cadastral Mapping Agencies’ data by delivering an open large-scale High-Value Dataset.
The continuation of open and accessible data will maximise the use and re-use of the European mapping agencies’ rich national data, extending the value and benefits of the first project.
Together thinkWhere and EuroGeographics will continue to explore user journeys to ensure high accessibility of the new large-scale dataset, thus continuing the democratisation of data and the liberation of its use.
“thinkWhere has helped us in our goal to democratise data for the benefit of our society, liberating the use of authoritative, reliable, verifiable, high-value data driving applications for European and global sustainability, safety and environment.”
Project Manager – Data Access and Integration,
Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or European Commission. Neither the European Union nor the European Commission can be held responsible for them.