KUlturLandschafts InformationsSystem Rhineland-Palatinate

Landscape image from Rhineland-Palatinate i3mainz, CC BY SA 4.0

Cultural landscapes shape our homeland, our environment and create regional identity. They are in a constant state of change and should be protected on the one hand and carefully shaped and developed on the other. For the first time, the Cultural Landscape Information System (Kulis) will present official data from authorities and public agencies together with information from private individuals, local historians, foundations and associations.


Rhineland-Palatinate is a federal state rich in cultural landscapes. From Roman times through the Middle Ages to the present day, buildings point to historically significant areas. The landscapes in Rhineland-Palatinate, characterised by viticulture, forests and volcanoes, are also unique in many places. Dialects, customs, festivals, stories and people turn monuments and landscapes into a complete picture that makes individual regions unmistakable. With the Land Development Programme (LEP IV) from 2008, the state government set itself the task of securing and developing these cultural landscapes in the long term. This objective is to be realised through the development of a cultural landscape register.

The development of the cadastre involves the development of a process for the subsequent safeguarding and development of cultural landscapes as well as the technical and content-related development of a web-based information platform. The municipalities and the interested public have a special role to play in the development of the cadastre by being actively involved in the process. Data and information are to be collected and maintained via these bodies in KULIS (KULturlandschafts-Informations-System). The technical realisation of “KULIS” is being implemented by the Institute for Spatial Information and Measurement Technology at the University of Applied Sciences Mainz (i3mainz) on the basis of open standards and open source technologies.


Since the beginning of the project, a catalogue of Rhineland-Palatinate’s cultural landscape elements has been compiled, profiles with criteria for the individual elements have been defined and a web-based geo-information system (WebGIS) has been set up by i3mainz in combination with a wiki application as a distributed system.

As an example, data was collected and entered into the system through the participation of the Eich association municipality. Furthermore, the Geoinformatics and Surveying teaching unit recorded cultural landscape elements in the Mainz-Bingen district in KULIS in a student exercise. The students travelled around the district and photographed significant elements in the communities in order to enter the collected data and information as profiles in the wiki and to create their geographical information.

Considerations and an evaluation were made to offer access to the system as a mobile application.


The experience gained in the data collection process was used to make improvements to the information system and to make it easier for users to work with KULIS. In addition to adjustments at the database level to ensure the smooth import of information and the communication of the distributed network structure of KULIS, work was also done on the user-friendliness of KULIS. Adjustments were made to the menu structure of the wiki and functions such as a legend or coordinate queries were integrated into the WebGIS to make map navigation and information retrieval more intuitive.

Since the structure of the KULIS Wiki fits into the age of the Semantic Web, queries such as listing all elements by administrative district in Rhineland-Palatinate are possible. This aspect and the expansion of the project as a mobile application offer potential for further work and developments in the future.