The use of GIS for urban and spatial information viewing of land plots



Geographic Information Systems (GIS) provide, among many things, the ability to display geographic information on a digital map.

Why is this important? Through an easy to use web application it’s possible to make these digital maps readily available to the general public for informed decision making. This article focuses on the use of GIS for viewing urban and spatial data of Greek land plots directly on your web browser. There is a considerable amount of legislation on land use in Greece. Not to mention awareness of archaeological sites, protected areas and boundaries. Having such information available at the click of a button is particularly useful for anyone that wants land related information quickly and conveniently.

What are the advantages of using GIS?

A digital map presents all types of geographical data. In other words, it presents spatial areas that are jurisdictional, public or privately owned, in addition to their size, location, current usage, their potential to build on and all other legal and administrative clauses assigned to the area.

A web GIS application provides the user with immediate data such as

– A land plot’s location

Users have the ability to check a land plot’s location. While professional consultation is often valuable if progressing to a land transaction, users can initially identify the advantages or disadvantages of a plot’s location because all other existing uses in their region of interest are also presented (i.e. infrastructure, streets, farm land).

– A land plot’s geometric information

Aside from location, several GIS applications provide even further information to users. For example users can determine a plot’s size, its perimeter and even extract the coordinates precisely as found on The National Spatial Reference System. It is important to mention that the accuracy of a plot’s measurements as seen on a GIS depends on the accuracy of the geometric data currently available on digital maps, satellite images, orthophoto maps, etc.

– Part of an approved settlement or urban plan

The user can check if the property is located within or outside an approved settlement or urban plan because the boundaries are highlighted. It’s essential to know if a land plot is located within or outside an approved settlement or urban plan because building regulations differ in each case. The plot’s value is also affected.

– Restrictions or prohibitions on use

Aside from location, geometric information and building regulations, an online GIS application also allows users to determine if a land plot is located in a protected area. Users can view all building restrictions or prohibitions applicable to the region of interest. In Greece, existing urban plans, including urban development plans, define the uses of land plots. They also define protected areas belonging to the country’s municipalities. Environment protection zones are zones designated to protect the natural environment and limit construction projects located outside approved settlements or towns. Greece’s biodiversity is protected by Natura defined zones and special provisions exist for permission to build. There are also areas where construction is completely forbidden. Some examples include archaeological sites, woodlands, streams, the seashore are.

– Urban Planning information

For land plots located within a defined settlement or urban plan, users can find out a plot’s identification number in addition to its building block’s identification number. Especially for the construction industry GIS provide useful planning information such as a plot’s building potential and restrictions.


Real life use of GIS

We took all available data and developed a geographic database readily accessible at This online database presents all urban and spatial information applicable to the wider area of Ioannina city, located in Northwestern Greece. Access to most data is free. Users are immediately informed about all rules and regulations that apply to land plots that interest them whether located inside or outside the city’s plan. If the land plot of interest is located outside the city’ plan, the user can determine which region it belongs to and verify if it is located in a protected area. When a user locates a land plot that interests them on the digital map, they can extract approximate information about the plot’s surface area, its perimeter, the building block’s id number and the building sector to which it belongs.


Aside from basic computer knowledge users do not require any technical expertise to use a Geographic Information System. The benefits are many. For interested buyers, an initial profile of a land plot is generated, hence avoiding the lengthy process of gathering the same information through time consuming public services. Finally, we recommend that all users, prior to making any decision, get advice from an expert who will investigate the fine print of all relevant legislation applicable to the land plot that interests them and the overall region’s planning guidelines. A digital map should be used as guidance only and it does not replace an official survey. For all purchases, sales or transfers of a land plot it is mandatory by law to determine its precise geometry by conducting a topographic diagram In Greece, an official survey of a land plot is carried out by an Engineer Surveyor. ————————————————————————————————————