ESPON Database Portal User Manual


Revision History
Revision 0svn rev 2420 build 2014-12-19 17:33:50


This document proposes guidelines about the usage of the ESPON Database Portal.

Table of Contents

1. Welcome
2. Search
2.1. Overview
3. Case Study
4. Resources
5. Help
6. Terms
7. Log in
A. About

List of Figures

1.1. The Welcome Page
2.1. The M4D Welcome page.
2.2. Search Query Result Filters
2.3. Search Results
2.4. Overview Page
3.1. Case Study Search: Map Layers
3.2. Case Study Search: pins
3.3. Case Study Search: map/table Interactivity
3.4. Case Study Search: study area
3.5. Case Study Search by Project
3.6. Case Study Metadata
4.1. The M4D Welcome page.
4.2. Resources and Access Rules to Files
5.1. Help


This document proposes some guidelines on how to use the main functionalities of the ESPON Database Portal. The chapters of this document match a possible way to browse the main menu items of the application:

  • Welcome: to start.

  • Search: to query data.

  • Case Study: to browse the ESPON TGP Case Studies.

  • Resources: to access reports, mapkits and many other useful data.

  • Help: to go further.

Chapter 1. Welcome

The Welcome menu is the homepage of the ESPON Database Portal. It aims at giving information to users such as ESPON projects, policy makers or even the general public. The boxes propose a summary of the main content that can be found in the application. Depending on the user profile (policy maker, scientists or general public), the boxes are rearranged to provide the user with the expected most relevant directions to browse the portal.

This Welcome page is divided as such:

  • A "News" box displaying the latest information concerning the project, the latest improvements or some European data related information. By clicking on one of them, as shown in Figure 1.1, the user goes directly to another page where the news is shown in a more developed way.

  • A Welcome text in the main central frame of the page. This text welcomes the users, and also presents the Database project and what can be found in this application.

  • A "Search" box, allowing a quick search (in the current version of the application, it redirects the user to the search page)

  • A "Newsletter" box, for a quick access to the published semestrial newsletters in pdf format.

  • A "Indicator" box to find indicators related to the policy (in the current version of the application, the user is redirected to the search page.

Figure 1.1. The Welcome Page

The Welcome Page

The Welcome page of the Database application.

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:

  • Themes search: the semantics of the query concerns the themes associated with the indicators existing in the ESPON Database (Transport and Accessibility, Population and living conditions for instance).

  • Policy search: the semantics of the query concerns European Spatial Planning framework documents (Territorial Agenda, EU2020 for instance).

  • Projects search: the semantics of the query concerns the ESPON projects that originated most of the contents of the ESPON Database.

  • Keywords search: the semantics of the query concerns the keywords associated with the indicators of the ESPON Database and/or the names of the indicators.

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 Query filters area appears in the left column below the Query summary area It is composed of additional search criteria, produced dynamically depending on the semantic criteria chosen. It allows the user to affine the search results on three dimensions, explained below.

  • The Search results table appears in the right column below the Query summary area, taking about 3/4 of the frame width. It lists the indicators found in the ESPON Database according to the criteria and filters specified by the user.

  • The Search navigation bar appears immediately below the search results table. It lets the user to ajust the visual aspects of the search results table and to navigate inside the list of the indicators found.

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:

  • The Indicator column gives the name of the indicator matching the criteria.

  • The Years column indicates the (perid of) time to which correspond the values of the indicator.

  • The Spatial column contains the information about the type of spatial/statistical nomenclature of the indicator values.

  • The Level column shows the level of the units of the statistical nomenclature, for which the result entry is produced. This column contains values only when the nomenlcature referenced in the previous column is hierarchical.

  • The Completeness column indicates the completeness of data for this search result.

  • The last column of the search results table contains shortcut icons allowing to save the result into the Basket, download it directly or open a tab with the metadata of the result entry.

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.

2.1. Overview

Besides the Search Query, the menu "Search - Overview" proposes a page shown in Figure 2.4. This overview allows to get the full list of indicators provided by the ESPON TPGs in their various integrated Key Indicators datasets. that

Figure 2.4. Overview Page

Overview Page

This screenshot shows the overview page accessible from the "Search - Overview" sub menu item.

Chapter 3. Case Study

The Case Study search page allows to quickly identify the list of Case Studies proposed by ESPON projects (with data, and sometimes their related geometries) recorded in the database and their spatial binding in a world map.

A “Case-study delivery” is a dataset that does not cover the entire ESPON Area (EU28+4). In practice, it includes several cases of figures:

  • Local data for a region or a group of regions (e.g. Greater Manchester at LAU2 level, Ile-de-France at employment basin level etc.)

  • Data which are not desribed in the available nomenclatures of the Search Interface (airports, water basins etc.)

  • Non ESPON Area(e.g. data on American, Brazilian or Japanese regions).

For the user convenience several layers are available as a background map (Figure 3.1).

Figure 3.1. Case Study Search: Map Layers

Case Study Search: Map Layers

This screenshot displays the location of Case-studies datasets proposed by ESPON projects in December 2014.

Figure 3.2. Case Study Search: pins

Case Study Search: pins

This screenshot shows the Case Study Search page: clicking a pin on the map highlights the matching row in the table.

Figure 3.3. Case Study Search: map/table Interactivity

Case Study Search: map/table Interactivity

This screenshot shows the Case Study Search page: selecting a table row shows the dataset study areas on map.

The study areas are displayed as a tooltip of the icon . A click on this pin icon icon (Figure 3.4) displays the corresponding study areas on map.

Figure 3.4. Case Study Search: study area

Case Study Search: study area

This screenshot shows the Case Study Search page: in the table, clicking the pin icon in the table displays the study area of the selected Case Study.

The "Search by Project" option allows to filter the case studies provided by the ESPON selected project item (Figure 3.5).

Figure 3.5. Case Study Search by Project

Case Study Search by Project

This screenshot shows the Case Study Search page: the user can filter the list of focused case studies to the one delivered by a selected ESPON project.

Figure 3.6. Case Study Metadata

Case Study Metadata

This screenshot shows an example of a Case Study Metadata page.

Chapter 4. Resources

The ESPON Database Portal proposes more than sixty resources to be downloaded from the "Resources" menu item. These resources are organized by categories:

  • Map Kits: ESPON Map Kits for GIS Experts.

  • Data tools: useful tools for ESPON projects dealing with data (OLAP Cube, R programs, ...) .

  • Technical documents: the technical documents provided by M4D and ESPON partners.

  • Territorial data: territorial data that are not yet integrated into the database, but that can be accessed via the resources page (local data, urban data, world data, grid data, historical data). These resources will be progressively integrated into the database in the future (more precisely, when the nomenclature will be suported by the database).

  • Documents of interest: external reports or links relative to works made outside of the ESPON community.

Figure 4.1. The M4D Welcome page.

The M4D Welcome page.

The resources page if the Database application.

Each resource may propose a Data File, a Doc File and/or an URL to an external Web site. Downloading rights of the resources data and/or doc files depend on their access rules:

  • PUBLIC: no restriction.

  • RESTRICTED: the user must own a registered account on the ESPON Database Portal and be logged-in.

  • PRIVATE: the file exists but can not be downloaded. The access is managed by the ESPON Coordination Unit, please send an email to to access the file.

As shown in Figure 4.2, the access rule to files is represented by:

  • the "download" icon for the cases "public access", or "restricted + logged-in user";

  • the "locked" icon for the cases "restricted + not logged-in user", or "private" access.

When the file can be downloaded, moving the mouse over the icon displays the filename and its size. Else, the access rule.

Figure 4.2. Resources and Access Rules to Files

Resources and Access Rules to Files

This figure shows the three possibilities of access rules to resources files: public, restricted or private.

Chapter 5. Help

The Help menu (Figure 5.1) provides the user with various documentations:

  • User Manual: this document.

  • FAQ answers to the Frequently Asked Questions about the ESPON Database Portal and the ESPON M4D Project.

  • Dictionary of Spatial Units explores the available territorial nomenclatures integrated into the ESPON Database. These specifications are mainly useful for ESPON Projects that deliver data.

  • ESPON Data and Metadata Specifications specifies the data and metadata model to be applied by the ESPON Projects providing Key Indicators Datasets for the ESPON 2013 Database.

  • ESPON Nomenclature Support explains how to prepare a new nomenclature (or a new version of a supported nomenclature) for its integration into ESPON Database.

Figure 5.1. Help


This screenshot shows the documentations that can be browsed from the Help menu of the ESPON Database Portal.

For the reader's convenience, each document is available in the following formats:

  • HTML to browse online the document, one HTML page per chapter.

  • oneHTML to browse online the whole document on a single HTML page (useful to search the occurences of a word in the full document).

  • PDF to download a printable version.

  • ZIP to download and get a local version of the document in its available formats (html/onehtml/pdf).

Chapter 6. Terms

For downloading the search results, you have to accept the terms and conditions, detailed in the page Terms and Conditions.

Chapter 7. Log in

For accessing some of functionalities of the application, such as downloading specific resources or uploading datasets, you have to be logged in. For that, you have to be registered as a user in the ESPON Database Portal.

Appendix A. About

This document is part of the ESPON 2013 Database Phase 2 project, also known as M4D (Multi Dimension Database Design and Development). It was generated on the 2014-12-19 17:33:52, from the sources of the m4d forge imag project at the svn rev 2420.

This document has been written by UMS RIATE and LIG STeamer M4D Partners.

For any comment question or suggestion, please contact .


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[1] [on line] (last visit: July 2011)

[2] [on line] Apache Ant - Welcome. Version 1.7.1 (last visit: July 2011)

[3] [on line] Developer Resources For Java Technology (last visit: July 2011). Version 1.6.0_03-b05.

[4] [on line] Xalan-Java Version 2.7.1 (last visit: 18 november 2009). Version 2.7.1.

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