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Exploring open government population data collected by ODVIS-AT

At FOSS4G2013, I had the pleasure to attend a presentation about the ODVIS.AT project by Marius Schebella from the FH Salzburg. The goal of the project – which ended in Summer 2014 – was “to display open data (demographic, open government data) in a quick and easy way to end users” by combining it with OpenStreetMap. Even though their visualization does not work for me (“unable to get datasets” error), not all is lost because they provide an SQL dump of their PostGIS database.

Checking the data, it quickly becomes apparent that each data publisher decided to publish a slightly different dataset: some published their population counts as timelines over multiple years, others classified population by migration background, age, or gender. Also, according to the metadata table, no data from Salzburg and Burgenland were included. Most datasets’ reference date is between 2011 and 2013 but the data of the westernmost state Vorarlberg seems to be from 2001.

Based on this database, I created a dataset combining the municipalities with the Viennese districts and joined the population data from the individual state tables. The following map shows the population density based on this dataset: it is easy to recognize the densely populated regions around Vienna, Linz, Graz, and in the big Alpine valleys.


Overall, it is incredibly time-consuming to create this seemingly simple dataset. It would be very helpful if the publishers would agree on a common scheme for releasing at least the most basic information.

Considering that OpenStreetMap already contains population data, it barely seems worth all the trouble to merge these OGD datasets. Granted, the time lines of population development would be interesting but they are not available for each state.

P.S. If anyone is interested in the edited database, I would be happy to share the SQL dump.

Mapping Open Data With Open GIS

This post explores some cartographic features of QGIS while mapping the river network of Tirol, Austria. All data used is freely available.

For the background, I downloaded NASA SRTM elevation data from CGIAR-CSI and created a hillshade using Terrain Analysis tools in QGIS 1.8.

To emphasize both state borders and the fact that Tirol consists of two separate areas, I created a mask using the Difference tool and styled it a transparent white.

The river network is too dense to label all rivers on an A4 map. Expression-based labels make it possible to only label selected features. For this dataset, the expression limits labeling to features with certain values of GEW_WRRL attribute:

CASE WHEN (GEW_WRRL = '10.000 km2 Fluss' OR "GEW_WRRL"= '4.000 km2 Fluss' OR "GEW_WRRL"='1.000 km2 Fluss') AND length("GEW_NAME_A") < 10 THEN "GEW_NAME_A" END

Labels of neighboring areas together with map title, descriptions and scale bar were added in Print Composer.

Working with Print Composer, it is useful to know that you can use Copy&Paste to duplicate map components and right-click to lock them from being moved. Also, every new component by default comes with a black outline and white background which can (and should) be disabled/changed in “General options”.

This is the final QGIS Print Composer output – without any further post-processing in Inkscape or Gimp:

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