VU Geoplaza

Frequently Asked Questions:

 

What is Geoplaza?

Who can access Geoplaza?

What themes are represented on Geoplaza?

What functionalities does the map viewer offer?

In what file formats are the data available?

How can I download data from Geoplaza?

Can I download data when I don`t have a VUnet ID?

What is a WMS, WFS, WCS?

Where can I find metadata about the datasets?

Where can I find additional information, related to the datasets?

What can I do with the available datasets?

What GIS software do I need to view and analyse the datasets?

Where can I find more GIS data on the internet?

Where can I find statistics to visualize them via GIS?

How can I use Geoplaza in my research project?

How can I add my research project to Geoplaza?

How can I use GeoPlaza in my education course?

How do I refer to the datasets on Geoplaza in my paper / thesis?

Who can I contact with questions or comments about Geoplaza?

What is the difference with the Beeldbank maps and the maps on Geoplaza?

Who can I contact with questions about the map collection in general.


What is Geoplaza?

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VU Geoplaza is the portal for all matters related to GIS (Geographical Information Systems) and geodata at the VU University Amsterdam. It gives a platform for students and employers that wish to exchange, examine and download digital map material. Geoplaza is a cooperation between the UBVU and the Spatial Information Laboratory (SPINlab).

Who can access Geoplaza?

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Everybody can access Geoplaza via the internet. Due to copyrights certain files may only be free to download after log in with your VU-net-ID. Other contents may only be accessible by VU-students and employees on campus or otherwise with the help of thuiswerkfaciliteit.

What themes are represented in Geoplaza?

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In principle, there is no limitation to the thematic selection. Within Geoplaza you have access to geo-datasets that are often used in research and education. Besides topographic maps (TOP10NL) also datasets about administrative boundaries (NUTS regions, municipalities, districts etc.), thematic maps (for land use, historical landscapes etc.) and geo-referenced historical maps are available. Most datasets are related to the Netherlands, but also datasets about Europe and the world can be found.

What functionalities does the map viewer offer?

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- In the map viewer you can view the different layers that are available in a certain dataset, for some layers a legend is available
- The layers can be viewed on top of each other by setting the transparancy of the layer
- The order of the layers can be changed by drag and drop
- The background maps can be changed
- Vector or raster of a layer can be downloaded
- attribute information about features can be displayed

In what file formats are the data available?

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- raster files (.tiff) such as the TOP10NL raster
- vector files: Shapefiles (for use in ArcGIS) and GML3 (mostly used for geographic transactions on the internet. GML3 can also be opened directly in QuantumGIS)
- georeferenced (historical) maps can be downloaded as image file that can be used in a report

How can I download data?

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Data can be downloaded directly from the map viewer. A tutorial can be found here

Can I download data when I don`t have a VUnet ID?

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Certain datasets require that you are logged in with your VUnet ID. In the map viewer, next to the download link, you will see whether log in is required or not.

What is a WMS, WFS, WCS?

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- WMS means Web Map Service. Map can only be viewed in the map viewer
- WFS means Web Feature Service. It is possible to download the vector source data (points, lines or polygons)
- WCS means Web Coverage Service. It is possible to download the raster source data (image file)

Where can I find metadata about the datasets?

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When you have accessed a map, beneath the map viewer a meta-data table is presented. Here you will find information about the custodian, year and a more extended abstract

Where can I find additional information, related to the datasets?

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After a file has been accessed additional material can be retrieved through the ‘Related links’ in which information such as legends, articles and/or references to the Beeldbank maps or the catalogue of the VU Library are available. For some map files there are ArcGIS layers (.lyr) files available. Those can be found under the heading ‘Supplemental files’ that appears during the download.

What can I do with the available datasets?

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- Consultation of the files within Geoplaza’s map viewer with the possibility to request attribute information by first clicking the "i" symbol and then the feature that you want to have more information about.
- Download of a selected area of a map in order to use, analyze and process it with GIS-software. Here you can download a tutorial.
- Loading of the map layer via WMS-link into standard GIS-software in order to examine the map in a different environment. Here you can download a tutorial

What GIS software do I need to view and analyse the datasets?

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The GIS software package we use at VU University is called ArcGIS 10.1. We have a campus license for this software. You are free to use any other GIS-software you want, but most students and tutors use this software. It is also possible to install this software at home. If you want this, please follow these instructions:

Note: In principle, ArcGIS does not run on Apple computers

For beginners it is possible to follow an online course via the virtual campus of ESRI. For instructions click here.

QGIS: A good open source alternative is QGIS. This can be downloaded via www.QGIS.org

Where can I find more GIS data on the internet?

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We assembled here a list with interesting sites. This list is by no means complete; it is possible to find far more (freely accessible) data.

Where can I find statistics to visualize them via GIS?

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Go to the Datacenter of the VU library (Datacentrum van de UB), on this website. There one can find a short instructional video on how to incorporate statistical material in a GIS file.

How can I use Geoplaza in my research project?

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In the research tab on the Geoplaza site several research projects are presented. Here you can find out what is possible. For specific questions, contact us. How to mention advantage of the use of geoplaza in your research proposal, see this example.

How can I add my research project to Geoplaza?

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Here you will find a tutorial how to upload your research project (map + article) to Geoplaza.

How can I use GeoPlaza in my education course?

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In the education tab on the Geoplaza site several courses are presented that make use of Geoplaza. Here you can find out what is possible. For specific questions, contact us.

How do I refer to the datasets on Geoplaza in my paper / thesis?

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Who can I contact with questions or comments about Geoplaza?

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Contact is possible through the contact form (support > geoplaza staff – contact).

What is the difference with the Beeldbank maps and the maps on Geoplaza?

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In the Beeldbank maps one can find scanned maps from the map collection of the VU University Library. Most of these are old maps, mainly published before 1900. It is possible that maps from the Beeldbank are incorporated into Geoplaza after they have been georeferenced (which means that they can be viewed in the map viewer). An example of this is the estates map of the Netherlands (NWS landgoedkaarten).

Who can I contact with questions about the map collection in general.

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For more information you can go to the VU library desk on the third floor in the main building. The curator of the collection is available on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays in room 4B-02. The reading room of the map collection can be found in the rear of the reading room on the 3rd floor.