The aim of this project was to update the Visual and Sensory layer of the all-Wales LANDMAP database, for the client Natural Resources Wales. LANDMAP is a complete all-Wales GIS based landscape resource where landscape characteristics, qualities and influences on the landscape are recorded and evaluated into anationally consistent data set. LANDMAP comprises five spatially related datasets known as Geological Landscape, Landscape Habitats, Visual & Sensory, the Historic Landscape and the Cultural Landscape. The five spatial layers are divided up into discrete geographical units (polygons in GIS), referred to as aspect areas. Each mapped aspect area is distinctly defined by its recognisable landscape characteristics and qualities.

The Visual and Sensory (V&S) facet is a process of mapping what is perceived through our senses, primarily visually, from the physical attributes of landform and land cover to their visible patterns of distribution and their consistent relationships in particular areas. The senses of hearing, smell and touch are also considered as part of the perceived characteristics of the landscape. Partly based on aesthetic and perceptual criteria, this aspect uses many descriptive terms that are similar to the Landscape Character Approach [used in England and Scotland] to ensure familiarity and consistency of application.

Following the fieldwork phase of the project that was conducted over the summer to update the V&S aspect areas, CCRI used the latest open source GIS software tools to implement changes to these changes in the digital V&S database. This involved accurately editing and adjusting the boundaries of aspect areas, and creating new areas where necessary. The updates will go through a strict quality control process, before being released in the latest version of the LANDMAP database, which is an important resource for spatial planning in Wales.

The work was carried out in October 2014 by Dr Robert Berry.