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MSP Data and Assessment Tools

Main issues

Member States across all European sea basins are encountering similar issues with respect to MSP data needs. These issues stem from the differences in the scope of activities, maritime uses, sea basins and the type of planning that is being carried out in the specific Member States. Common data gaps include socio-economic data for different uses and socio-cultural information. By and large, data and information gaps are less about missing data than about how to aggregate and interpret data in order to acquire the information needed by a planner. Challenges for Member States lie in developing second generation maritime spatial plans, which often require more analytical information and strategic evidence. Underlying this is the need for spatial evaluation tools for assessment, impact and conflict analysis purposes.

Additionally, transnational MSP data needs are different than national MSP data needs. While the scope and level of detail of data needed is typically much simpler at international level, ensuring its coherence and harmonisation across borders remains a challenge. Pan-European initiatives, such as the EMODnet data portal and sea basin checkpoints have the potential to support transboundary MSP data exchange needs by providing access to a range of harmonised data sets across European Sea Basins and testing the availability and adequacy of existing data sets to meet commercial and policy challenges.

The MSP Data Study (2017), conducted by the EU MSP Platform for the European Commission, presents an overview of the data and knowledge needed by Member States to make MSP decisions, taking into account variations in planning scales and the differing points in the MSP cycle. The study examines current and future MSP data and knowledge issues from various perspectives (i.e. from the perspectives of Member States, sea basin(s) as well as projects and other relevant initiatives) in order to identify:

•  What data is available for MSP purposes and what data is actually used for MSP;

•  Commonalities in MSP projects and Member State experiences;

•  The potential for EMODnet sea basin portals to help coordination of MSP at a regional level and options for realising marine spatial data infrastructures to implement MSP;

•  Potential revisions to be made concerning INSPIRE specifications for MSP purposes.

The full study can be downloaded here.

Please note that this section of the EU MSP Platform website is not currently being updated with new information. However, the resources throughout our website remain relevant to our mission of sharing knowledge and experiences on MSP in the EU.

Frequently Asked Questions

BASEMAPS – HELCOM transboundary MSP portal

Baltic LINes

The Baltic LINes project (2016-2019) aimed to increase transnational coherence of shipping routes and energy corridors in Maritime Spatial Plans (MSP). In order to achieve this, up-to-date georeferenced transnational data from its...

  • Apr 2019

Tools4MSP Geoplatform

ADRIPLAN and Ritmare

The Tools4MSP Geoplatform (former ADRIPLAN Portal) is a community-based, open source portal based on GeoNode, a web-based Content Management System (CMS) for developing geospatial information systems (GIS) and for deploying spatial data infrastructure (SDI).
  • Oct 2015

Adriatic Atlas to support ICZM and MSP


The "Adriatic Atlas to support ICZM and MSP" is the first Web Atlas for the Adriatic Sea that was developed, within the Shape project, through a cross-border approach (involving Italy...

  • Jan 2014

MISIS Black Sea, Marine Atlas


MISIS Black Sea Marine Atlas is a GIS application that provides user-friendly information to decision-makers on to the open public and facilitates the monitoring of Black Sea waters.

  • Apr 2014

Pegaso Spatial Data Infrastructure


PEGASO Spatial data Infrastructure (SDI) is a distributed data sharing infrastructure made up of GeoNodes composed of three main components: a Map Viewer, a Data Catalogue and a Map Atlas...

  • Dec 2014

Ireland’s Digital Ocean


Ireland’s Digital Ocean is a portal to data which has been collected in and around Ireland’s maritime zone. The Integrated Digital Ocean is a platform to access a diverse range...

  • Dec 2017

Med-Biodiversity Community Platform


The Med-Biodiversity Community Platform is a digital community that brings together researchers, managers, public authorities and environmental institutions in 11 thematic projects under the umbrella of 1 horizontal initiative from...

  • Nov 2018

Confidence Assessment Tools


The MESH project aimed to promote harmonised production and use of marine habitat maps covering the North West European seas by adapting and enhancing previous achievements in this area. It...

  • Jan 0207

BaltSeaPlan Web Application / BoundaryGIS


The web application for MSP developed in the framework of the BaltSeaPlan project and based on Boundary-GIS Geoportal is a supporting tool which should facilitate stakeholder involvement. The application allows...

  • Jan 2011

MESH - Survey Scoping Tool


The MESH (Mapping European Seabed Habitats) project aimed to promote harmonised production and use of marine habitat maps covering the North Western European seas by adapting and enhancing previous achievements...

  • Jan 0207

Data management guidance document


As part of SIMNORAT and SIMWESTMED, data portals were developed for sharing transboundary MSP knowledge for the Northern Atlantic and Western Mediterranean, respectively. The portals were designed as demonstrator of a tool...

  • Dec 2018