Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research (NIBIO)

Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research (NIBIO) is conducting research and providing information about the land resources; including land cover, forest, soil, vegetation and landscape. NIBIO is to contribute to food security and safety, sustainable resource management, innovation and value creation through research and knowledge production within food, forestry and other biobased industries.

NIBIO is a leading Norwegian scientific institution regarding use of forest resources, forest ecology, landscape and land monitoring. The institute is also responsible for a range of national mapping programmes and resource inventories related to land cover, forestry, agriculture, landscape and the environment – including the Norwegian part of the pan European CORINE Land Cover map.

The institute is a national institute under the Ministry of Agriculture and Food. NIBIO provides knowledge to the authorities, industry, commerce and the public to contribute to the sustainable management and formation of values of land resources through research and data collecting.

The institute has approximately 700 employees in total. The main office is in Ås, just south of Oslo, and regional offices are in Northern Norway, Mid Norway and Western Norway. The data are collected through field surveys, by image interpretation or automatically retrieved by computer assisted image processing. The collected data are presented in different ways; as reports, statistics and maps. The institute produces many various thematic maps, some on paper but mostly on the web. Several departments and about 10 skilled employees are involved in the map designing. A great effort is being put into cartography to ensure that the products are readable maps of high quality that is easy to understand. Examples of thematic maps are e.g. land resource map in scale 1:50 000 for all 422 municipalities and in scale 1:250 000 for all counties in Norway and grazing land for sheep and cattle in scale 1:20 000.

The majority of the “mapping” software used by the institute is open source; the data are stored in PostgreSQL object relational database using PostGIS, GeoTools and GDAL for different and complex GIS tasks. Data collection in the field is carried out with QGIS on tablets. Paper maps are also made in QGIS. However, the production of paper maps is decreasing. Most of our data are presented interactively on the world wide web. Our internet application for viewing and downloading data is entirely based on open source software like GeoServer, MapServer, OpenLayers, Leaflet and GeoExt. The layout and colours on the analogue maps may differ from the digital version of the datasets for optimizing the readability depending on paper or screen.

Screen dumps from the viewing application zoomed in to show to the left: the quality of soil (red is good quality, yellow is less good quality) and to the right: the risk of erosion (the darker purple the higher risk).


This example showing peat information regarding peat depth and vegetation to the left and the rate of decomposition to the right. All the information in both images, given through colours and the hatches, is summed up in the symbol (called the ‘peat brush’) within each polygon.

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