Urban Atlas

Prod-ID: DAT-190-en
Created 13 Apr 2010 Published 28 May 2010 Last modified 11 Dec 2017
37 min read
This page was archived on 11 Dec 2017 with reason: A new version has been published
The Urban Atlas is providing pan-European comparable land use and land cover data for Large Urban Zones with more than 100.000 inhabitants as defined by the Urban Audit. The GIS data can be downloaded together with a map for each urban area covered and a report with the metadata.

GIS data

Czech Republic
United Kingdom


Mapping Guide for a European Urban Atlas

This document contains the product description, mapping guidance and class description for the product "Urban Atlas".

Additional information


Additional information

What is the European Urban Atlas?

The European Urban Atlas is part of the local component of the GMES/Copernicus land monitoring services.  It provides reliable, inter-comparable, high-resolution land use maps for 305 Large Urban Zones and their surroundings (more than 100.000 inhabitants as defined by the Urban Audit) for the reference year 2006.  The GIS data can be downloaded together with a map for each urban area covered and a report with the metadata.

Why was the Urban Atlas developed?

It was created to fill a gap in the knowledge about land use in European cities.  The Urban Audit, a data collection of indicators on cities and their surroundings, showed that although a wide variety of socio-economic data is available for cities, inter-comparable land use data did not exist. To facilitate more evidence-based policy-making, the European Urban Atlas was designed to compare land use patterns amongst major European cities, and hence to benchmarking cities in Europe.  It uses images from satellites to create reliable and comparable high-resolution maps of urban land in a cost-efficient manner.

Who are the main stakeholders of the urban atlas?

The Urban Atlas is aimed at everyone who wants to compare a city in one country in Europe with a city in another country.  It provides relevant data for analysis related to transport, environment and land use.

What are the benefits of the Urban Atlas?

The Urban Atlas has a legend designed to capture urban land use, including low density urban fabric, and a resolution that is 100 times higher than CORINE land cover.  The maps of the Hague and Torino show how Urban Atlas brings cities and urban fringes into focus thans to its superior resolution.  The higher resolution in combination with the street network allows for a wide range of additional analyses such as proximity to green space or train stations.  The Urban Atlas provides a far more accurate picture of urban sprawl in the fringe of urban zones.

Who is involved in the Urban Atlas?

The Urban Atlas is a joint initiative of the European Commission Directorate-General for Regional Policy and the Directorate-General for Enterprise and Industry with the support of the European Space Agency and the European Environment Agency. The Urban Atlas was executed by the French company Systèmes d’Information à Référence Spatiale (SIRS), who was awarded a contract through an open call for tender.

There is one zip archive per area, e.g. for Vienna: at001l_wien, which includes

    • The actual vector data in ESRI shapefile format (Reprojected to LAEA/ETRS89)
    • A PDF document with a high-resolution map of the area (Reprojected to LAEA/ETRS89)
    • A MS Word document with metadata and results of quality checks, referring to the original, non-reprojected data