Datacenter Nature and Landscape (DNL)

The purpose of the project DNL is to integrate existing national biotope inventories (bogs, flood plains, meadows, etc.) into a database and connect it to further datasources of the FOEN. Particularly the lineage of the data with all scientific and political processes shall be documented.

Time series of consistent datasets are fundamental for the species management of the FOEN program “biotope conservation in Switzerland”. The purpose of the project DNL at the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL) is to integrate existing national biotope inventories (bogs, flood plains, meadows, etc.) into a database and connect it to further datasources of the FOEN. Particularly the lineage of the data with all scientific and political processes shall be documented, e.g. using metadata. Web interfaces allow to access DNL data and other thematically related databases for spatial analysis using GIS functionality. Semantic structures implementing ontologies offer open and intuitive search facilities.

The OWL-Ontologies of the DNL project can be used for research purposes. Order by e-mail: dnl(at)

Other people involved

Executive coordinator WSL-BAFU: Martin Hägeli

Executive director BAFU: Jürg Schenker


Former team members

Andri Baltensweiler, Angéline Bedolla, Nadja Beeli, Martin Brändli, Nick Baumberger, Laurence Cuche, Marcel Frehner, Christian Ginzler, Susette Haegi, Corinna Heye, Kalin Müller, Thomas Scharrenbach, Jörg Sparenborg, Charlotte Steinmeier, Bettina Waldvogel



  • Keet, C. M., & Grütter, R. (2021). Toward a systematic conflict resolution framework for ontologies. Journal of Biomedical Semantics, 12(1), 15 (15 pp.).
  • Sterchi, M., Sarasua, C., Grütter, R., & Bernstein, A. (2021). Outbreak detection for temporal contact data. Applied Network Science, 6, 17 (21 pp.).
  • Hilfiker, L. & Sterchi, M. (2021) Covid-19 superspreading: lessons from simulations on an empirical contact network. Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Complex Networks and their Applications, November 30 - December 2, 2021, Madrid, Spain.
  • Reber U., Fischer M., Ingold K., Kienast F., Hersperger A., Grütter R. (2021) Die vielen Gesichter der Biodiversitätspolitik. Zeitschrift Hotspot. Forum Biodiversität Schweiz, Bern.
  • Imesch, N., R. Spaar & B. Stöckli (2021): Aktionsplan lichter Wald: Verknüpfung von Lebensraum- und Zielartenförderung. Schweiz. Zeitschr. Forstwesen 172: 384–387.
  • Bischof, S.; Hanimann, D.; Meraner, I.; Wotruba, L., 2021: Schlussbericht LD-LFI. Dokumentation des Prototypen zur Nutzbarmachung der LFI-Ergebnisdaten mit Linked Data. 47 p. URL:


  • Grütter, R., & Keet, C. M. (2020). Towards a framework for meaning negotiation and conflict resolution in ontology authoring. In J. Hastings & F. Loebe (Eds.), CEUR workshop proeceedings: Vol. 2807. Proceedings of the 11th international conference on biomedical ontologies (ICBO) (p. (12 pp.). CEUR-WS.
  • Novel, M., Grütter, R., Boley, H., & Bernstein, A. (2020). Nearness as context-dependent expression: an integrative review of modeling, measurement and contextual properties. Spatial Cognition and Computation, 20(3), 161-233.
  • Sterchi, M., Sarasua, C., Grütter, R., & Bernstein, A. (2020). Maximizing the likelihood of detecting outbreaks in temporal networks. In H. Cherifi, S. Gaito, J. F. Mendes, E. Moro, & L. M. Rocha (Eds.), Studies in computational intelligence: Vol. 882. Complex networks and their applications VIII. Volume 2 proceedings of the eighth international conference on complex networks and their applications COMPLEX NETWORKS 2019 (pp. 481-493).
  • Vargas Amado, M. E., Grütter, R., Fischer, C., Suter, S., & Bernstein, A. (2020). Free-ranging wild boar (Sus scrofa) in Switzerland: casual observations and model-based projections during open and closed season for hunting. Schweizer Archiv für Tierheilkunde, 162(6), 365-376.
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  • Faverjon, C., Bernstein, A., Grütter, R., Nathues, C., Nathues, H., Sarasua, C., … Berezowski, J. (2019). A transdisciplinary approach supporting the implementation of a Big Data project in livestock production: an example from the Swiss pig production industry. Frontiers in Veterinary Science, 6, 215 (11 pp.).
  • Grütter, R. (2019). A framework for assisted proximity analysis in feature data. Journal of Geographical Systems, 21(3), 367-394.
  • Sterchi, M., Faverjon, C., Sarasua, C., Vargas, M. E., Berezowski, J., Bernstein, A., … Nathues, H. (2019). The pig transport network in Switzerland: structure, patterns, and implications for the transmission of infectious diseases between animal holdings. PLoS One, 14(5), e0217974 (20 pp.).



  • Matthias Buchecker, Marc Hohmann, Felix Kienast, Barbara Degenhardt, Marcel Hunziker & Lukas Wotruba (2016). Erholungsgebiete per Mausklick: Eine neue Web-Applikation / Application Web: Des aires de loisirs à portée de clic. N+L-Inside 3/16: 17.


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  • Kyzirakos, K., Henson, C., Perry, M., Varanka, D., Grütter, R., Calbimonte, J.-P., Celino, I., Della Valle, E., Dell'Aglio, D., Krötzsch, M., & Schlobach, S. (Eds.) (2015). Joint Proceedings of SSN-TC and OrdRing 2015 – SSN-TC-ORDRING 2015, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, United States, October 11th and 12th, 2015. Published online October 25, 2015. Aachen: CEUR Workshop Proceedings (Vol. 1488, 92 pp.),


  • Feldman, M., Gao, S., Novel, M., Papaioannou, K., & Bernstein, A. (2014). SHAX: A Semantic Historical Archive eXplorer. In M. Horridge, M. Rospocher, & J. van Ossenbruggen (Eds.), Proceedings of the ISWC 2014 Posters & Demonstrations Track within the 13th International Semantic Web Conference (ISWC 2014), Riva del Garda, Italy, October 21, 2014 (pp. 341–344). Aachen: CEUR Workshop Proceedings (Vol. 1272).

  • Kyzirakos, K., Grütter, R., Kolas, D., Perry, M., Compton, M., Janowicz, K., & Taylor, K. (Eds.) (2014). Joint Proceedings of the 6th International Workshop on the Foundations, Technologies and Applications of the Geospatial Web and 7th International Workshop on Semantic Sensor Networks – TC-SSN 2014, Riva del Garda, Trentino, Italy, October 19 and 20, 2014. Published online July 30, 2015. Aachen: CEUR Workshop Proceedings (Vol. 1401, 112 pp.),

  • Boley, H., Grütter, R., Zou, G., Athan, T., & Etzold, S. (2014). A Datalog+ RuleML 1.01 Architecture for Rule-Based Data Access in Ecosystem Research. In A. Bikakis, P. Fodor & D. Roman, RuleML 2014 (LNCS, Vol. 8620, pp. 112–126). Berlin Heidelberg: Springer. The original publication is available at



  • Kolas, D., Perry, M., Grütter, R., & Koubarakis, M. (Eds.). (2012). Proceedings of the Terra Cognita 2012 Workshop on Foundations, Technologies and Applications of the Geospatial Web, Boston, USA, November 12, 2012. Published online September 18, 2012. Aachen Tilburg: CEUR Workshop Proceedings (Vol. 901, 73 pp.).

  • Özçep, Ö. L., Grütter, R., & Möller, R. (2012). Nearness Rules and Scaled Proximity. In L. de Raedt, C. Bessiere, D. Dubois, P. Doherty, P. Frasconi, F. Heintz & P. Lucas (Eds.), Frontiers in Artificial Intelligence and Applications. ECAI 2012: 20th European Conference on Artificial Intelligence, August 27–31, 2012, Montpellier, France (Vol. 242, pp. 636–641). Amsterdam: IOS Press.

  • Özçep, Ö. L., Grütter, R., & Möller, R. (2012). Dynamics of a Nearness Relation—First Results. In M. Bhatt, H. W. Guesgen & E. Davis (Eds.), Proceedings of STeDy 2012: International Workshop on Spatio-Temporal Dynamics, August 27–28, 2012, Montpellier, France (Report No. 030-08/2012, pp. 1–7). Retrieved from SFB/TR 8 Spatial Cognition website:

  • Grütter, R. (2012). Exploring The Linked Open Data Cloud to Retrieve Geographic Information – Some Challenges [Abstract]. In R. Purves, M. Gaio & B. Bucher (Eds.), Proceedings of GIRT 2012: Geographic Information Retrieval Tutorial at AGILE, April 24, 2012, Avignon, France. Zurich: University Desktop Publishing.

  • Scharrenbach, T.; Bischof, S.; Fleischli, S.; Weibel, R. (2012). Linked Raster Data, In Xiao, N.; Kwan, M.-P. and Lin, H. (eds.), Extended Abstracts: Proceedings. Seventh International Conference on Geographic Information Science - GIScience 2012, U.S.A, Columbus, Ohio.




  • Grütter, R., Waldvogel, B., & Derungs, C. (2010). Practical Ontology Development: Some Lessons Learnt. In J. Filipe & J.L.G. Dietz (Eds.), Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Knowledge Engineering and Ontology Development (KEOD 2010), October 25-28, Valencia, Spain. SciTePress – Science and Technology Publications. [CD-ROM] 4 pp.

  • Waldvogel B., Wotruba L., Müller K., Bischof S. (2010). Drowning in Geospatial Point Data - A Pattern Based Approach. Accepted for Publication in: EnviroInfo 2010, October 6-8, 2010, Köln/Bonn, Germany.

  • Waldvogel B. (2010). The Disappearance of Landscape Objects in Databases: An Ontology Driven Approach to Object Representation. GIScience 2010, September 15-17, 2010, Zürich. [ ]

  • Grütter, R., Scharrenbach, T., & Waldvogel, B. (2010). Vague Spatio-Thematic Query Processing – A Qualitative Approach to Spatial Closeness. Transactions in GIS, 14(2), 97–109. Oxford, U.K.: Blackwell Publishing.

  • Grütter, R., & Waldvogel, B. (2010). Comparing Full-Text, Metadata, Semantic and Combined Search Techniques for Location-Dependent Document Retrieval. In M. Painho, M.Y. Santos & H. Pundt (Eds.), Proceedings of the 13th AGILE International Conference on Geographic Information Science - Geospatial Thinking. AGILE 2010 archive page. 5 S.

  • Scharrenbach, T., Grütter, R., Waldvogel, B., & Bernstein, A. (2010). Structure Preserving TBox Repair using Defaults. In, Proceedings of the 23rd International Workshop on Description Logics (DL 2010), Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, May 4–7, 2010. CEUR Workshop Proceedings.


  • Grütter, R., & Scharrenbach, T. (2009). A Qualitative Approach to Vague Spatio-Thematic Query Processing. In D. Kolas, N. Wiegand & G. Berg-Cross (Eds.), Proceedings of the Terra Cognita 2009 Workshop, Washington, D.C., U.S.A., October 26, 2009. Published online October 20, 2009. CEUR Workshop Proceedings (Vol. 518, 12 pp.).

  • Bauer-Messmer, B., Wotruba, L., Müller, K., Bischof, S., Grütter, R., Scharrenbach T., Meile R., Hägeli M., & Schenker J. (2009). The Data Centre Nature and Landscape (DNL): Service Oriented Architecture, Metadata Standards and Semantic Technologies in an Environmental Information System. In: Environmental Informatics and Industrial Environmental Protection: Concepts, Methods and Tools. Proceedings of the 23rd Int. Conf. EnviroInfo, Berlin, Germany, September 9-11, 2009 (pp. 101–112). Aachen, Shaker.

  • Bauer-Messmer, B., & Grütter, R. (2009). Semantic modeling of temporal information in a database for biotope inventories. In I.N. Athanasiadis et al. (Eds.), Information Technologies in Environmental Engineering, Environmental Science and Engineering (pp. 518–534). Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer.

  • Scharrenbach, T., Bernstein, A. (2009): On the Evolution of Ontologies using Probabilistic Description Logics. Proceedings of the First ESWC Workshop on Inductive Reasoning and Machine Learning on the Semantic Web (IRMLeS2009), Heraklion, Greece, June 1, 2009, CEUR Workshop Proceedings, ISSN 1613-073, online


  • Grütter, R., Scharrenbach, T., & Bauer-Messmer, B. (2008). Improving an RCC-Derived Geospatial Approximation by OWL Axioms. In A.P. Sheth, S. Staab, M. Dean, M. Paolucci, D. Maynard, T. Finin & K. Thirunarayan (Eds.), The Semantic Web – ­ ISWC 2008. 7th International Semantic Web Conference, ISWC 2008, Karlsruhe, Germany, October 26­–30, 2008, Proceedings. LNCS (Volume 5318, pp. 293–­306). Berlin Heidelberg: Springer.

  • Scharrenbach, T. (2008). End-User Assisted Ontology Evolution in Uncertain Domains. Accepted for publication, 7th int. Semantic Web Conference ISWC, Karlsruhe, Germany.

  • Bauer-Messmer, B., Scharrenbach T., & Grütter R. (2008). Improving an Environmental Ontology by Incorporating User-Input. In A. Möller, B. Page & M. Schreiber (Eds.), Environmental Informatics and Industrial Ecology. Proceedings of the 22nd International Conference on Informatics for Environmental Protection, Leuphana University Lueneburg, Germany, September 10-12, 2008 (pp. 559–566). Aachen: Shaker. 

  • Bischof, S., Bauer-Messmer, B. (2008). Semantic Enhancement of Environmental Metadata. In: Proceedings EnviroInfo 2008, Lüneburg, Germany.

  • Grütter, R., Bauer-Messmer, B., & Frehner, M. (2008). First Experiences with an Ontology-Based Search for Environmental Data. In L. Bernard, A. Friis-Christensen, H. Pundt & I. Compte (Eds.), Proceedings of the 11th AGILE International Conference on GI Science: Taking Geoinformation Science One Step Further (AGILE 2008), Girona, Catalonia, Spain, 5–8 May 2010. [CD-ROM] 10 S.

  • Grütter, R. (2008). Semantic Web zur Unterstützung von Wissensgemeinschaften. München: Oldenbourg Wissenschaftsverlag.

  • Grütter, R., Bettina Bauer-Messmer, B., & Hägeli, M. (2008). Extending an Ontology-based Search with a Formalism for Spatial Reasoning. In, Proceedings of the 23rd Annual ACM Symposium on Applied Computing (ACM SAC 2008), Fortaleza, Ceara, Brazil, March 16-20, 2008 (pp. 2266–2270). New York: ACM.



  • Frehner, M., Brändli, M. (2006): Virtual database: Spatial analysis in a Web-based data management system for distributed ecological data.  Environmental Modelling & Software. Volume 21, Issue 11, November 2006, Pages 1544-1554.


  • Frehner, M., Haegi, S., Brändli, M. (2005):Spatial analysis in Web-based systems. Proceedings of the 18th International Conference Informatics for Environmental Protection, September 7-9 2005, Brno (Czech Republic).


  • Frehner, M., Brändli, M., Schenker, J., 2004. The Virtual Database. A Tool for Integrated Data Processing in a Distributed Environment. Proceedings EnviroInfo 2004, Genf.

  • Brändli, M., Frehner, M. (2004): Die Virtuelle Datenbank - Ein Werkzeug für die integrierte Datenverarbeitung räumlich verteilter Datenbestände. Zeitschrift für Agrarinformatik. Heft 4, Oktober - Dezember 2004, 12. Jahrgang. Gesellschaft für Informatik in der Land-, Forst- und Ernährungswirtschaft (GIL).

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  • Baltensweiler A., 2003. Using the Java Connector to Publish Heterogeneous Data. - In: 23nd Annual ESRI International User Conference, 2003 San Diego, USA. 5 p.


  • Baltensweiler A., 2002. Accessing spatial data and metadata using ArcIMS and the open source language PHP. - In: 22nd Annual ESRI International User Conference, 2002 San Diego, California, July 8-12, 2002. 5 p.


  • Baltensweiler A., 2001. Eine prozessorientierte Datenbank und ihre Schnittstellen. Tagungsband der Informationstechnologie-Veranstaltung der forstlichen Landes-, Versuchs- und Forschungsanstalten Deutschlands. Materialien LWF, Nummer 6.

  • Brändli, M. und C. Ginzler 2001. Prozessorientierte Strukturierung von Metadaten in einem WebGIS. Angewandte Geographische Informationsverarbeitung XIII, Bei-träge zum AGIT-Symposium, Salzburg 2001, S. 52-61 


  • Brändli, M. 2000. Effective compilation and browsing of geographical metadata using common interoperability tools. Working Paper No. 20, GIS Work Session UN/ ECE, Conference of European Statisticians, 10.-12. April, Neuchatel, CH 

  • Brändli, M. 2000. A process-oriented approach for representing lineage information of spatial data. 3rd AGILE conference, Helsinki/Espoo, Finnland, 25. - 27. Mai. 

  • Baumberger, N. und M. Hägeli 2000. Using metadata in multistep preprocessing and longterm monitoring. Working Paper No. 15, GIS Work Session UN/ECE, Conference of European Statisticians, 10.-12. April, Neuchatel, Schweiz, 8 S. 

  • Steinmeier, C., Brändli M. und Schenker J., 2000. Projekt DNL: Datenzentrum Natur und Landschaft - eine Datenbank für die Bundesinventare im Bereich Natur und Landschaft. N+L-INSIDE, Konferenz der Beauftragten für Natur- und Landschaftsschutz (KBNL) und BUWAL/N+L, S. 11-12. 

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  • Steinmeier, C., 1999. Development of a dynamic user-interface to SDE-data for non-GIS specialists. Conference Program, 14th ESRI European User Conference, Munich, November 15-17.