Triangle of Sustainability

Figure 1: Triangle of Sustainability show is a way to interact with large amounts of Linked Spatiotemporal Data to support understanding of the ecological, social and economical dimensions of sustainable development.

The Triangle of Sustainability (in German “Dreieck der Nachhaltigkeit”) by  Thomas Bartoscheck and Tomi Kauppinen and their big team from the Institute for Geoinformatics at the University of Münster is a project which was awarded 8000€ and a second place  in Wissenschaft interaktiv 2012, June 2–6, 2012, Lübeck, Germany.


The Triangle of Sustainability is an interactive show to explore observations about deforestation of rainforests and related phenomena such as road networks, political situation, and market prices of agricultural products on maps and timelines.  The Triangle thus connects three important aspects–ecological, economical and social–of sustainability. By doing this the Triangle serves as a show of what is achievable by  interconnecting different scientific assets via the Linked Science approach. The goal is to raise the awareness, and understanding of different factors of sustainability. The Triangle thus serves as an example of how the research field of Geoinformatics, and more generally Geographic Information Science can serve the society in these tasks.

For example, Figure 1 shows how populations of Brazilian states are  depicted by the height of the pillars, and accumulated deforestation rate is indicated with colors: with green the least amount, and with red the highest amount of observed change. In Figure 2 the deforestation rates are plotted with color (darker color means more deforestation), and height of the pillars indicate the GDP of the given municipality in the Brazilian Amazon.

Figure 2: Comparing GDP vs. deforestation rates.

Figure 3: Triangle of Sustainability show

The resulting information can be explored on three screens (see the figure 3 above). The interaction is made extremely simple yet powerful, no additional tools are required for the participants. All the spatial and temporal information can be zoomed and panned simply by making gestures using hands.

The two videos below gives the idea of how the interaction works.

The technological basis is built on the power of Linked Data techniques for interconnecting these very heterogenous data about different environmental and social phenomena. The data used by the show is the Linked Brazilian Amazon Rainforest published at

For more information about the project and for citing the work please check the following papers:


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