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).
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.
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.
- 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
- 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
Data can be downloaded directly from the map viewer. A tutorial can be found here
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.
- 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)
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
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.
- 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
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
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.
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.
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.
Here you will find a tutorial how to upload your research project (map + article) to Geoplaza.
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.
Contact is possible through the contact form (support > geoplaza staff – contact).
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).
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.