Chapter 2. Search

Table of Contents

2.1. Overview

The ESPON Database Portal offers the possibility to search among hundreds of indicators produced by ESPON Projects.

The search query user interface allows policy makers or scientists to quickly find indicators adapted to support policy development in relation to the aim of territorial cohesion. The datasets included in the search interface cover the entire European ESPON Area (European Union + Switerland, Liechtenstein, Iceland and Norway; and sometimes Candidate Countries also) at various geographical levels (NUTS or city levels).

Since the query interface has been designed so to be the easiest and the most accessible as possible, whatever the profile of the user is (policy maker, scientist), the background process to respond to user's requests is very complex. Indeed, depending on his profile, the expectations regarding the results, and the way to proceed it may differ. This chapter describes the database search/query suer interface of the ESPON Database Portal. This search interface aims at performing simple and complex requests on the ESPON Database, via several dimensions and approaches.

Basically, the user can launch different kind of queries, based on different criterion:

Figure 2.1. The M4D Welcome page.

The M4D Welcome page.

The search query page of the ESPON Database Portal application.


In Figure 2.1, the Book icon at the first line of the component is a shortcut to the overview page. This "overview" is also accessible via the menu "Search - Overview". This "Overview" page (Figure 2.4) proposes of the contents of the entire ESPON Database. Also, the folder icon linking to the Basket page, shows the number of items currently present into the user's basket.

The principle of the search query is the following:

  1. Choose the main semantic criteria, by theme, project, policy or keyword.

  2. Launch the search (magnifying glass icon ).

  3. Reduce the number of results with the different filters shown in Figure 2.2:

    • DATA criterion allow to query indicators by their statistical properties (typology, count data, etc.) or by the dataset type they belong: thematic table or time-series.

    • WHERE criterion allow to select specific study areas (EU28, ESPON Area, a given country). The completeness calculation depends on the study area chosen. It is also possible to choose a specific territorial level (NUTS, UMZ, FUE or MUA).

    • WHAT criterion allow to add a complementary semantic criteria (policy, project or theme, depending on the first chosen semantic criteria)

    • WHEN criterion allow to specify a period or year.

  4. Relaunch the search (click the magnifying glass icon).

  5. Consult metadata of results.

  6. Add to basket the indicators you want to collect, or download them individually, or encompassed in their original dataset.

Figure 2.2. Search Query Result Filters

Search Query Result Filters

This screenshot shows the set of filters criterion that can be applied to the search results.

When at least one semantic criteria is chosen (one keyword/indicator, theme, project or policy report), the user is able to launch a search request on the ESPON Database by clicking the magnifying glass button.

The page resulting from a search request is represented in Figure 2.3.

Figure 2.3. Search Results

Search Results

The layout of this page contains the following components:

The Search results table contains the list of indicators matching the semantic criteria and the filters specified by the user. It can be illustrated by Figure 2.3. The header of the table provides information about its columns:

Each row in the Search result table corresponds to an indicator existing into the ESPON Database, to a single time value of this indicator, for a sinlge version and level of nomenclature.