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Atlas of the lagoon - Venice between land and sea


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Atlas Purpose
The number of public organisations studying the Lagoon of Venice is considerable, the quantity of data is striking, and the number of people involved is truly remarkable. Despite this, many extremely interesting studies are never publicised beyond the circles in which they were produced, giving rise to a sort of “lagoon of submerged data”. The creation of this volume was driven by a desire for the systematic studies conducted by dozens of researchers on the Lagoon of Venice to be brought together in a single volume linked by a common thread. There was also an awareness of the need to create a common information platform, shared and publicly accessible, which could provide the starting point for all discussion of the Lagoon environment.
The opportunity arose with the setting-up of the Osservatorio Naturalistico della Laguna. This structure was created by Venice City Council, a special project put forward by the councillor in charge of the Environment. It was stipulated that the work of the Osservatorio should be entirely directed towards the creation of the Atlas of the Lagoon of Venice, which was prepared with a strong cooperation with the Institute of Marine Sciences of the National Research Council.

Distinguishing features
The Atlas of Venice Lagoon is the result of the work of a scientific team composed of a large number of scholars and researchers from the various scientific institutions of the city and compiled with the intent of divulging the many themes concerning the complex ecosystem of the Venetian Lagoon to as large a proportion of the population as possible.
The Atlas is divided into five main thematic sections: Geosphere (climate, geology and geomorphology, water), Biosphere (animals, plants), Anthroposphere (pollution, territorial transformation), Protected Environments (social dynamics, administrative controls) and Integrated Analyses (combinations of themes, and relations between them).
The 103 plates and their description can be consulted trough an Open Source webGIS, a web tool which allows users to search zones of interest and to dimension, print and download maps.

Target Audience

  • General Public
  • Coastal/Environmental Managers
  • Researchers/Scientists
  • Government/Public Bodies
  • Consultancies
  • Decision Makers
  • Students
  • NGOs
  • Other: Environmental pratictioners

Atlas design and usability

  • Focus:

    • Textual content
    • Map content

  • Documentation:

    • Thematic text
    • Metadata : Flat files, single format
    • Illustrations, images, charts
    • Help page(s)

  • Design

    • Clear navigation and instruction
    • point(s) of access to map
    • Guided navigation

  • Map Page

    • View limited layers
    • View data independently
    • Combined legend & layer lists

  • Ohter: Simplified metadata

Technology used

  • Mapping Software

    • Open Source: Minnesota MapServer

  • Database Management System:

    • No

  • Data Storage

    • Locally: Flat files

  • Server Operating System

    • Linux

  • Other: pmapper 3.2

Functionality/tools available

  • Level:

    • Moderate

  • Search Capability

    • Search for thematic information

  • Mapping Tools:

    • Zoom, recentre and full extent
    • Identify features
    • Layer list control
    • View by theme
    • Print/Export maps
    • Measure line and areas
    • Download geospatial data

Data/cartographic information included

  • Geographic Area: Lagoon of Venice and its catchment area
  • Number of Datasets:
  • Topics:

    • Physical Environment
    • Management
    • Conservation
    • Culture & Heritage
    • Fisheries, Aquaculture & Agriculture
    • Coastal Habitats
    • Biology
    • Human Impact
    • Environmental Monitoring
    • Natural Resources

Data Issues

  • IPR/Cost

    • Data use restrictions

  • Quality

    • Variable data quality
    • Poor metadata

  • Management

    • Data management plan development
    • Balance of development and updates
    • Manual upload of data to atlas

Other Challenges
The challenge is to implement a proper Lagoon Information System (SIL), a geodatabase, running with open-source web-GIS software, by which environmental thematic maps produced by a variety of public bodies would be available from a single Internet portal ( The system will give the possibility to overlap thematic maps for cross-analysis, provided directly from data producers through WMS technology (We Map Services), and to record observations made by the general public, specialists or local authority officers.
SIL project represents the Atlas evolution, i.e. the challenge of spreading environmental data of the Lagoon of Venice. Instead of the Atlas, SIL won’t be a static maps collection but a dynamic tool continually updated.

Unfortunately, severe funding restrictions are causing a slowdown of the management plan development and intellectual Property Rights could be a problem in some cases.

Alle informatie in het Integrated Marine Information System (IMIS) valt onder het VLIZ Privacy beleid Top | Instituten