Spatial planning specialists and geospatial data: habits and opportunities

In late summer of 2023, the Institute for Environmental Solutions (IES) conducted a survey aiming to determine the existing practices in geospatial data product usage. One of the main focus of the survey was understanding the popularity of Copernicus data products. In total, 28 answers were received, shedding light on the current state of data usage among spatial planning specialists in 14 counties, 3 state cities and 2 planning regions in Latvia.

While quite well known, Copernicus data products are used fairly rarely among Latvian spatial planning specialists. One-fourth of respondents admitted using Copernicus satellite data and base maps. Other Copernicus data products (Copernicus Land Monitoring Service (CLMS) Pan-European components and Local components) were used by 1 or none of the respondents. This implies space for improvement – most probably, the low usage can be attributed to a lack of information on how Copernicus data can contribute to spatial planning as well as a gap between the needs of the planners and functionality that the existing Copernicus products can provide. Compared to the most-used datasets, in the Latvian case, the orthophoto datasets provided by the Latvian Geospatial Information Agency, the main difference might be the spatial resolution. However, given the fact that Copernicus provides data with significantly better temporal resolution, spatial planning specialists might be interested in using the Copernicus satellite data for tasks that do not require the highest spatial resolution. 

Most of the respondents use the data products to browse and study data that is available on the desired territory and to inspect developments and changes that have taken place during that time – tasks that Copernicus data can help with. Therefore, there is a lot of space for developing products that automatically calculate changes in certain values or indices and bring out changes that have exceeded a fixed threshold.

Read the survey report here:

As a part of the Framework Partnership Agreement on Copernicus User Uptake (FP CUP) activity “User Uptake of Copernicus Services for Landscape and Spatial Planning Stakeholders, FPCUP Nr. 2021-2-38”, a workshop will be held for Latvian spatial planning specialists to outline the possibilities of existing Copernicus products and present newly-created Copernicus data pilot-products, designed specifically for the needs of Latvian spatial planners.

More on the project HERE.