LANDMAP is an all-Wales digital landscape resource where landscape characteristics, are recorded and evaluated in a nationally consistent data set. LANDMAP spatial datasets are named as follows the Geological Landscape, Landscape Habitats, Visual & Sensory, Historic Landscape and Cultural Landscape. Importantly since it was established LANDMAP has been used by Local Planning Authorities in numerous areas of activity from Local Development Plans to Local Landscape Character Assessments. In short it has become indispensable and continues to evolve.
Environment Systems has been contributing to LANDMAP for over thirteen years, specifically in creating the landscape habitat layers, sitting on the LANDMAP steering group as Landscape Habitats expert and helping to design and implement the LANDMAP monitoring system. At the beginning of 2018 we carried out further work to fill in gaps in the data for Cardiff and Swansea. At the end of 2018 we embarked on a project to create a new Cultural Service layer, a response in part to recent legislation, such as the Well Being and Future Generations Act (2016) and the Environment Act (Wales). Cultural benefits are often perceived as being difficult to measure or access information about, as a result they are often overlooked and are not always integrated into decision making. This omission reduces understanding about the benefits that people gain from the natural environment. For this project we drew data from all the existing LANDMAP data layers, statswales.gov.uk data on nationality and Welsh language, National Park boundaries, dark sky reserves, Wales tranquil areas and Wales Heritage sites. The new classifications resulted in a number of new maps and associated data that make up the start of the new Cultural Service layer. This is the first phase of a multi-phase project which will result in a rich set of information about the cultural heritage of Wales. Future phases might include collecting data about or from communities themselves.
In addition to this work we have been working on a LANDMAP Landscape Habitat assessment for the whole of Wales and for the six NRW operational areas. This delivers a statistical analysis with maps and graphs, essentially to make the LANDMAP data more accessible for professionals.