– Creating a free harmonized Web Basemap for Austria
Public Consortium of the 9 Austrian Provinces (GIS Departments)

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
Data acquisition in Austria is not that easy, because Austria has 9 provinces and each province administration is responsible for the surveying, the updating, the distribution and the pricing policy of their geo-data. Besides the Federal Office of Metrology and Surveying has the national mandate for making topographic maps in Austria and therefore this governmental organisation has their own data, which also can be bought. is a project aiming at offering an free up-to-date and harmonized web base map for the whole state of Austria, which is primarily based on administrative data. Why there is a need for another base map besides Google Maps, Bing Maps, OSM an others? The key aspect of is, that it is based on administrational data, which are harmonized and kept up-to-date by the institutions, which create the data. This is a major advantage in comparison to existing base maps which are collected from various sources (proprietary maps) or have varying data coverage (e.g. OSM). In contrast, will consist of data created by institutions which are required by law to create the base data in a specified data quality, partly resulting in legally binding data. Therefore it is expected to reach a high level of data quality. In Austria, some of the federal provinces already produce province-specific renderings of their geo data. However, until now these services are restricted to each province territory; data and styles between the province versions are not mandatorily harmonized. This will be achieved by To ensure compatibility to other web mapping services it will be implemented as a WMTS in Web Mercator (Auxiliary Sphere). It will be published as CC—BY 3.0 AT — a widely known and easily understandable license, which allows the distribution of the map for private and commercial use at no charge. Regarding loading speeds, services using can use the map tiles hosting of which will be equipped with state-of-the-art hardware power and reliability (see Implementation) or host the tiles on their own resources.

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
In order to improve the situation for an open and free Austrian basemap, this project was initiated from the Consortium of the 9 Austrian Provinces ( As mentioned before, relies on administrational data. It is not aiming at creating new data, as it just uses data the Austrian province governments are creating anyway in order to full fill their administrative tasks. Also — the geodata cooperation of the federal provinces of Austria ( — followed this principle since the beginning. is an organizational and partly also technical network of the federal governments. For making the decentrally organized geodata of the provinces available in a joint view for the user. goes one step further by publishing a technical and content-wise standardized webmap, based on the data of the provinces and published on the basis of an open standard. The administrative structure of Austria (state, provinces, municipalities) is reflected in the way geodata are created, managed and updated. In the late 80ies, the provinces were in a leading role to introduce geoinformation technologies and workflows to support their administration. Additionally, they were also required by the law to create and manage geodata in certain fields. Due to the countless additional administration processes, the province of Vienna — both capital of Austria and municipality - has an exceptional position in this case. However, also the other provinces cooperate intensively with their capital cities and municipalities in the field of geodata. While the approach of a local data gathering is still sustained, cooperations with further institutions get more and more important. The best example for this is GIP (Graph Integration Platform), which is also the most important dataset for It consists of the intermodal transportation graph of the Austrian administration. GIP is a cooperation project between the provinces and centralized transportation infrastructure organizations (e.g. the Austrian Railway OBB or the Federal Highway Company ASFINAG).

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
The project implementation of is an innovative model of partnership between different levels of government, industry and university. It includes the co-financing of projects on geographic information and the free distribution of its products. The initiative was successful in meeting the needs and requirements of all stakeholders while fostering inter-governmental collaboration to launch a Geographical Information System (GIS) in Spain. Through the use of improved technology it is now easier to capture and make available geographical information for better services and at a lower cost. The initiative has already become a role model.

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
The conceptual design of’s architecture and its workflows is partly based on experiences of the involved province administrations as well as the private sector partner. The Vienna city administration gained practical experiences in the OGD Vienna WMTS (Web Map Tile Service) which is online since 2011. It also successfully operates a technology of the same type for its own online city map at Still, the project brings up new challenges, especiaily in the technological field, that were never experienced in similar form in Austria. This includes the organization of the supply of always up-to-date base data in a distributed manner as well as the implementation of a mechanism to incrementally update the tile cache. This allows updating of only those tiles that are actually affected by a change in the base data, which results in a faster update of the tile cache compared to periodic updates of the whole tile cache. Our conceptual design includes the following workflow: All partners who contribute data transfer their geodata to a central file service. It is important to note that it is not centrally specified when or in which quantity those uploads have to be done. These decisions are in the sole responsibility of the distributed data partners. However, file name standards and minimal data model requirements have to be met. A centrally controlled process accesses the uploaded files at the file service and prepares them for the tile caching software. The biggest challenge here is the translation of geodata into a cartographic model that meets the high performance requirements. The resulting proprietary tile cache is transformed into the standardized Web Mercator (Auxiliary Sphere, EPSG:3857, EPSG 2012) tile cache, which is then accessed by the centrally implemented Web Map Tile Service. Of course, the production system (tile cache and WMTS web service) is implemented in a fail-safe manner. This not only requires adequate hardware dimensions but also a data processing center with service monitoring components and trained standby staff. All of this is given in the data processing center of the Vienna city administration. The implementation of this project is done in two phases. In the first phase, a prototype (containing data from eastern parts of Austria) was completed as WMTS until the ITS World Congress 2012 in October 2012. In the second phase, which will be finished with the end of 2013, the workflow for constant data supply by the data contributors and the incremental tile cache updates will be implemented. Additionally, the production system (including suitable hardware) was set up.

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
Collaborative partners of are the GIS-Departments of the 9 federal provinces of Austria (GEOLAND.AT), Verkehrsverbund Ost-Region (VOR) GmbH, ITS Vienna Region, SynerGlS Informationssysteme GmbH and Vienna University of Technology. The project is funded by the Climate and Energy Fonds, Austria.
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
All partners in this project have done their share of human and financial resources. In addition, the project was funded by the Climate and Energy Fund.

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
basemapat is offering a first up-to-date and harmonized web base map for the whole state of Austria, which is primarily based on administrative data. The sustainability of is a core topic. However, it is no new challenge for the participating institutions. The requirement to have stable and reproducible processes and workflows is the basis for any electronic administration workflow und has a high priority also in It is ensured by the modular design that strictly divides all sub-processes (original data storage, data merging, tile cache rendering, WMTS and tile cache service providing, tile cache updating) with interfaces in between that are as simple as possible.

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
The project was guided by a strict project management through the city of Vienna (=project coordination). There were regular meetings for coordination of the project progress. Furthermore, earnings reports were delivered. All information sessions and meetings were delivered about the Folio Cloud ( with all project partners online. The settlement of resources was carried out according to strict specifications.

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
The main challenges identified so far are Cartographic (data harmonization, generalization) and technical implementation. Harmonization: is based on data created by different institutions (mainly province administrations). Even though there are major efforts for standards in data creation (e.g. GIP), applying unified visualization styles exposed smaller and bigger differences in the data creation. For now, this will be handled by using partly province-specific style definitions to avoid an unbalanced design. For the future, it will be a task forall partners to further harmonize their data. Generalization: The scale of range from approximately 1:400 to 113,000,000. The data from the contributors is usually created in one defined level of detail, fitting a certain scale. To ensure a legible and aesthetically pleasing result on all the other zoom levels, generalization is needed. Of course, this is not a new topic in cartography and a large field in cartographic research is dedicated to it (e.g. ICA Commission on Generalization and Multiple Representation). However, it's still a challenge to implement generalization in an automated visualization environment, which allows incremental updates. Similar to harmonization, this is not just a technical issue, it also identifies requirements for the data.

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
A main benefit of is the up-to-dateness of the geodata it is based on. The intention is to create a base map of Austria that is as up-to-date as the source data it is based on. This is ensured both by the technical workflow but also by the organizational workflow policies in the partner organizations regarding the continuous updating of the data. Of course, there will be various usage situations for and therefore inhomogeneous requirements and demands, which can only be met by changing workflows for the base data handling. However, will be judged by the time it takes until changes are included (e.g. street sections, one-way streets, house numbers). The key factor is, that is not generating new geodata but it is merely accessing already existing geodata sets that have to be made available by the data providers (primarily province administrations) anyways.

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
The fact that Austria has no geodata policy could have been an obstacle for However, about a year ago the Open Government Data Policy became effective, which is very positive for It was defined that all original data that is fed into the project (from various sources) is only to be used to internally produce the tile cache. The final product (the tilecache) is published under the OGD license CC-BY 3.0 AT. This means that the rules for potential organizations willing to contribute data are very clear. To ensure compatibility to other web mapping services is implemented as a WMTS in Web Mercator (Auxiliary Sphere). lt is published as CC-BY 3.0 AT — a widely known and easily understandable license, which allows the distribution of the map for private and commercial use at no charge.

 12. Were special measures put in place to ensure that the initiative benefits women and girls and improves the situation of the poorest and most vulnerable? (If applicable)
We have learned from the project that it has a great benefit to many, if administrative geo data be developed into a freely available product. This creates added value for many developers and companies. Moreover, it was very important to note especially the harmonization of administrative data. In the administration there are many spatial data that must be collected by law. All these data are now transformed into a permanently updated product. It was important that experts of various fields have worked in this project. In addition to public managers engineers and cartographers. The combination of different competencies allows a great new and very innovative product. is a milestone - not only - in Austria. There is great interest in this product beyond the borders of Austria too. From this we learn that even a small country like Austria can cause large. Thus The initiative has the format to be a role model for others.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Public Consortium of the 9 Austrian Provinces (GIS Departments)
Institution Type:   Government Agency  
Contact Person:   Thomas Ebert
Title:   Mag. MAS(GIS)  
Telephone/ Fax:   +43 732 7720 12606
Institution's / Project's Website:  
Address:   Bahnhofplatz 1
Postal Code:   A-4020
City:   Linz
State/Province:   Upper Austria

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