EMODnet Human Activities data portal

Abstract: 

EMODNet Human Activities Portal provides information on the geographical position, spatial extent and attributes of a wide range of marine and maritime human activities throughout Europe. Where possible, portal also provides historical time series to indicate the temporal variation of activities.

EMODNet Human Activities Portal is particularly relevant for MSP as it provides access to an expanding collection of harmonised datasets covering human activities across all European Sea Basins. These range from established activities such as fisheries and shipping to more recent activity such as construction of offshore energy facilities. EMODnet also ensures that the data generated from various initiatives and projects, are safeguarded and made available for re-use beyond their life time. Data from the portal can be useful in scoping phases of the national MSP processes and trans-boundary and cross border planning initiatives.

Sea Basin(s): 
Year: 
2013
Application in MSP: 
Unknown effect
Sectors: 
Fishery
Mineral extraction
Nature protection
Offshore renewable energy production
Oil and gas exploitation
Scientific Research
Submarine cables and pipelines
Type of Issue: 
Coexistence of uses
Cross-border cooperation
Data
Sea-basin cooperation
Type of practice: 
Other
Cross-border / trans-national aspect: 
Yes

Questions this practice may help answer

  • What marine data related to human activities is available throughout EU?
  • How is data from various sources being harmonised?
  • What is the methodology for developing a spatial data portal?

Implementation Context

Data from the portal can be useful in scoping phases of the national MSP processes, and trans-boundary and cross border planning initiatives.

Aspects / Objectives

The main objective of EMODnet Human Activities is to make available information on the geographical position, spatial extent and attributes of a wide array of marine and maritime human activities throughout Europe. Particular attention is given to providing, when possible, historical time series to indicate the temporal variation of activities such as fishing and port traffic. The portal allows users to view, query and download data and metadata from public and private sources, from throughout Europe, via a single entry portal. It provides access to data that has been harmonised into interoperable formats and that includes agreed standards, common baselines or reference conditions and assessments of their accuracy and precision.

Method

Data for the portal is continuously collected from a multitude of public and private data sources at EU, international, national, and local level. The methodology adopted is that, as far as possible, each activity should be covered by a single source that can provide data for all EU sea basins. This makes it possible to obtain complete and already harmonised datasets, thus reducing the risk of data gaps. When it is not possible to have a single source covering an entire activity, national and local sources are surveyed. In addition, as a general rule, EU and other public sources are obliged not to duplicate existing initiatives, to ensure data continuity and reliability, and to provide data with as few restrictions as possible. A continuous dialogue with key stakeholders has been established, in view of enhancing the user experience of the portal. This has led, inter alia, to the development of new data themes that weren’t originally included in this phase.

From the technological perspective, the portal is based on free, open-source technology, using both MapServer and OpenLayers. MapServer is used as the geographic data rendering engine, as it is designed to render vector and raster data using advanced cartographic output. OpenLayers is a map viewing library that provides a JavaScript API which makes it easy to incorporate maps from a variety of sources into a webpage or application and configure map tools. The portal uses MySQL database technology to hold and serve the GIS data.

Main Outputs / Results

EMODNet Human Activities Portal provides information on the geographical position, spatial extent and attributes of a wide range of marine and maritime human activities throughout Europe. Where possible, portal also provides historical time series to indicate the temporal variation of activities.

Transferability

A trend can be noted in that most countries are making efforts to develop evidence strategies for MSP and are considering options for MSP data infrastructures, including the creation of GIS databases to support the MSP process. Specifically, the following countries have in development or are planning to establish GIS MSP portals: Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Portugal and UK (Northern Ireland). Therefore, this practice could be, to a certain extent, transferable to Member States that are making efforts to develop MSP GIS data portals to support their national or transboundary MSP process. However, transboundary MSP data needs are different from national MSP data needs. The scope and level of detail of data needed is much simpler, usually dealing with issues such as where shipping lines or energy corridors cross political boundaries. However, ensuring the coherence and harmonisation of these data across boundaries remains a challenge. EMODNet provides an example on how one such data portal might be developed and look like.

Responsible Entity

Cogea s.r.l. – Business Management Consultants

Costs / Funding Source

European Commission’s Directorate -General for Maritime and Fisheries (DG MARE)

Contact person

Alexandro Pititto

email: apititto@cogea.it

 

 

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