Data and information­­ exchange

A key element of MSP is high quality maritime spatial data and information, and the infrastructure to support its exchange and use. This task aims to support access to and use of maritime spatial data, both biotic and abiotic.

This action will examine the data and information requirements for MSP, specifically the challenges around transboundary working, and will also look at existing infrastructure arrangements and how these might be optimised.

Marine Spatial Data Infrastructure (MSDI)

A MSDI which meets the requirements of internationally recognised quality protocols and needs of all stakeholders and end-users, will be critical to this action. A well-structured and managed MSDI allows information and data to be shared and exchanged and therefore supports transboundary cooperation as well as national efforts linked to MSP.

The associated tools are critical to enable access to data and information as a basis for dialogue with the public and all interested parties, as well as providing support for decision-making. For the purposes of this action the project will make use of existing spatial data infrastructures and not invest in the development of a project-specific time-bound output. EMODNet is an important data source. During the project it will become clear which data would be relevant to add to EMODNet. This information will be shared with EMODNet in order to expand the data made available through this portal.


The following activities will be undertaken:

  1. Assess the data needs for MSP and identify to what extent these can be currently met and where gaps need to be addressed. See for the results this report (pdf, 2.9 MB) and its annex (pdf, 82 kB).
  2. Identify barriers such as a lack of data, or data that might not be publicly available or shared.
  3. Begin to address gaps with respect to missing data and information: a link shall be established with complementary initiatives and projects to provide guidance for future interaction and collaboration.
  4. Investigate the steps needed to make MSDIs accessible (such as documents and portals translation). Interoperable data and web services will allow end-users to construct on-demand charts. MSDI interoperability will be used to display on a cross-border basis such information as maritime boundaries, regulated areas and maritime activities.
  5. Assessment of data semantics and their implications for MSP. For example, the meaning of a term may vary according to the country (e.g. the chart datum). Differences should be assessed and a programme established to address identified gaps and challenges. This work will take into account the relevant work of other projects (e.g. COVADIS - Commission of validation for spatial data – which is an inter-ministerial commission whose role is to standardize most frequently used geographical data, national programme such as Litto3D in France, and the EU Coastal Mapping project), and the requirements of the INSPIRE Directive. An exercise to harmonize metadata will also be undertaken.
  6. Consider a decision support tool which could enable planners to take into account several activities, possible constraints and scenarios when implementing MSP.
  7. Organize a training workshop to help stakeholders become familiar with the spatial analysis functions developed within the MSDI and allow users to produce their own thematic charts from the various data layers produced by all the partners that will be aggregated during the lifespan of the project. Progress with regard to interoperability may allow users to transfer this knowledge into their portals and existing data centres.