Social-spatial science research data infrastructure

Problem definition

Rapid increase of environmental stress call for an enhanced conception of the interactions between human actions and the environment. In social sciences domain, a broad field of research has emerged under the title of environmental justice, public health aspect and well-being as well as issues of social participation in general. For example, the questions still need to be answered regarding the role of subjective perceptions of environmental stress and which factors moderate and mediate this relationship. This issues could be addressed in combining longitudinal survey panel data with spatial science research data. In addition, the feedback from citizens after realizing spatially significant building measures is currently lacking, and questions remain unaddressed about the perception of long-term spatial changes such as densification processes and urban sprawl. These developments are still insufficiently described in spatial science in terms of place-defined manner. Finally, the lack of spatial linking services can be observed between survey data and spatial science data. The limitation of availability is primary technical infrastructural that is due to interdisciplinary nature of data. Secondly, the legal frameworks are very complex, especially regarding data protection; and finally, the social scientists are often has to deal with methodological challenges in the application of GIS.



Spatial (IOER) and social science (GESIS, SOEP) research data infrastructures are to be established or expanded to achieve higher interoperability in consideration of international standards and framework requirements. Innovative analysis tools (cognitive apps) should enable combined investigations of research data from both infrastructures.

Research Issues

The hypothesis is that interdisciplinary research will be supported by establishing the interoperability of research infrastructures, as only this will enable the joint analysis of research data from different domains.

This project examined concretely using the pilot research questions on the topic of environmental justice through the following research questions:

  • Which current research questions in the field of environmental justice are significant, or which further questions arise at the interface between social and spatial sciences?
  • What infrastructures need to be built to address these questions, and how do existing infrastructures need to be expanded and networked in considering the state of art in information science and technology?
  • Can newly developed concepts and models be transferred to other scenarios or domains?



The development of the research data infrastructure "Small-scale information on settlement and open space structure" includes the implementation of search, download and processing services and the addition of indicators for the description of current and past residential environment situations (focus on land use) to the data stocks. Furthermore, the answering of free user questions (without recourse to precalculated raster data) directly on original digital landscape models (ATKIS Basis-DLM) will be enabled. The developed data and services will be integrated into a parallel developed Cognitive App.


The Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development is jointly funded by the federal government and the federal states.

FS Sachsen

This measure is co-financed by tax funds on the basis of the budget approved by the Saxon State Parliament.