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Land Use Typology

The term Land Cover describes the physical configuration of the earth surface and distinguishes between natural and anthropogenic materials. Land Use is the actual usage of the land. It describes the incorporation of portions of the solid earth surface by human activities. It refers to the built environment as well as to open space. The available space can be subject to different usage demands simultaneously.

The land-use typology of the IÖR Monitor is based on the principle that all land-use classes are exclusive, which means that each part of the earth surface is assigned to exactly one land-use category. Thus, the aggregation of the main land-use classes Settlement, Open Space, and  Transportation equals to the total study area. Each of these three top-level categories is subdivided into further differenciated land-use classes.

Land-use classification scheme adopted by the IOER Monitor: Exhaustive and non-redundant description of the earth’s surface by land-use categories derived from the ATKIS Basis-DLM (based on the AAA Model) - Download (PDF).

Buffering of linear objects

In order to quantify the total and proportionate areas of transport pathways and watercourses, which are available as linear objects in the ATKIS Basis DLM, these must first be transformed into polygons. This is achieved by buffering both sides of the corresponding lines by the application of suitable attributes on object width. In the case where no width attribute is indicated or values are implausible, standard buffer values are applied.


In ATKIS, roads are generally modelled to reflect their real-world axes. Roads with physically separate carriageways (e.g. Autobahns) are defined as composite objects, consisting of a roadway axis and accompanying lanes. Otherwise, road axes and carriageways are geometrically identical. In order to create roadway areas, carriageways are buffered according to the value of the attribute BRF (carriageway width). This is the width of the sealed carriageway surface or the width of the accessible section of a pedestrian zone up to a precision of 50 cm. As BRF values are only intended to model carriageways, the estimation of the required area for pavements in urban roadways (excluding Autobahns and private roads) is realised by buffering the carriageway on both sides to a width of 2.50 m.  

The standard values for carriageway width in the case of no or an incorrect BRF attribute value is specified as follows, depending on the attributes FSZ (number of lanes) and WDM (private or public roads). Roads with an invalid status as public roads are treated as private roads. If the number of carriageways appears implausible, two lanes are assumed.   

LanesAutobahn Other roads(*)
15,50 m4,50 m
210,00 m5,50 m
314,00 m10,00 m
>317,50 m12,50 m

(*) An additional 2.50 m is calculated on both sides of urban roads for pavements (except for private roads).

Rural hard-surface roads

Rural hard-surface roads (Hauptwirtschaftswege) are always modelled as linear objects along their real-world axis. They are the most densely interconnected roadways system in the entire transport network, and thus make up a considerable proportion of the total transport area. Such rural roads are buffered using the width attribute BRV (carriageway width). This gives the lane width in intervals of 3 m, whereby the smallest class has width 0-6 m. The target width of buffering corresponds to the mean value of an interval, which in the lowest width class is 4.50 m.   

In the case of an invalid attribute value, BRV is set at 6 m.

Railway lines

Rail infrastructure is modelled in ATKIS Basis-DLM as both spatial and linear objects. In the case of linear modelling, railway lines are buffered in order to determine the corresponding transport area. The chosen buffer width depends on the attribute GLS (number of tracks) as well as BKT (railway category). Track sections in tunnels as well as decommissioned lines are not buffered.

The railway axes are buffered according to the target widths given in the following table.

Number of TracksGeneralTramwayMuseum railway, park railway
17,504,50 m2,00 m
210,507,50 m4,00 m

Taxiways, runways

In air transport facilities (airports), runways as well as taxiways for airplanes are partly modelled as linear objects. In these cases the lines are buffered in order to determine the land requirements for the land-use category air transport. The target width of buffered areas corresponds to the value of the attribute BRO (object width; values in m).

In the case of an invalid attribute value, BRO is set to 15 m.


Watercourses whose width is less than 12 m are modelled as linear water axes. The width of such objects is specified by the attribute BRG (watercourse width) in three intervals, namely 0-3 m, 3-6 m and 6-12 m. Buffering is determined as the mean of the indicated interval. Underground watercourses, culverts as well as waterway sections that dry up during the year (attribute HYD – hydrological feature) are not buffered.

In the case of an invalid attribute value, the smallest width is set to BRG=3 m.

Prioritization of Land

Land category will follow the following table of land use prioritization in the case of overlapping in creation of land use geometry. Higher levels are laying over eventually the lower level of surfaces.