Ratios and indicators can be used to characterize the current state of land use, highlighting any discernible trends. Whilst ratios simply describe spatial features without wider reference, indicators are used to highlight the current state or trends in relation to a specific goal, the achievement of which can thereby be monitored and evaluated.
However, in a narrower understanding, ratios can also function as indicators for certain individual research questions. Thus the ratio “proportion of expanses of water to total land” has an indicative function for the prevalence of waterfowl. For this reason, and also for reasons of practicality, no fundamental distinction is made between ratios and indicators within the Monitor for Settlement and Open Space Development.
The Monitor carries out spatial analysis according to the following categories: settlement (in particular settlement density and structure), open space (e.g. distribution of types of land use as well as open space structure), landscape and nature protection (e.g. potentials for disruption), landscape quality (e.g. degree of fragmentation, hemeroby), traffic (e.g. network density), population (e.g. population density, land use in terms of population) as well as buildings (e.g. building density and degree of building coverage).