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Availability and harmonisation of marine environmental data


This practice shows which data and meta-data were gathered in the BALANCE data portal. It includes guidelines for data harmonisation.


Application in MSP:
Type of Issue:
Type of practice:
Stage of MSP cycle:
Cross-border / trans-national aspect:
Coherence with other processes:
Key words:

Questions this practice may help answer

  • How to develop a data platform for a project with a lot of international spatial data?
  • How can spatial data of different sources be harmonized?

Implementation Context

The BALANCE project involved a large number of organizations from countries surrounding the Baltic Sea. Many of them contributed to the project with existing resources of spatial information (e.g. datasets, reports, map services, documents) from their geographic and thematic areas of interest, or produced new datasets within the BALANCE project. Given the complexity of the information flow in a project like BALANCE, a single point of access to spatial information was identified as an important part of the BALANCE project. This was realized through a GIS Data Portal

Aspects / Objectives

  • Create a platform for the data on which the subsequent derivation of marine landscape classification and mapping will be based
  • Harmonise the data available, i.e. ensuring that different types of data from different sources and countries can be used together.


  • Develop and describes the platform, a portal for marine metadata relating to the Baltic Sea aimed for communicating data between Balance partners and end users.
  • Outline spatial referencing and data exchange formats as well as categories for the data and links to associated existing standards for data collection and management.
  • Develop Guidelines for harmonising geological data and data used in marine habitat mapping and modelling are annexed.
  • Continuously develop, adjust and revise the portal

Main Outputs / Results

The data portal has been developed, however not running any more.
The BALANCE Portal consists of the following key components:

This image shows the key components of the Balance Data Portal

The GIS Portal offers end user functionality (e.g., searching metadata, sorting results, customizing views, browsing metadata records by categories), administrator functionality (e.g., record administration, advanced searches, and sorting) and publisher functionality (e.g., ability to enter metadata, upload documents, and remove previously published documents).


In projects with a lot of international partners and resources of spatial information, the set up of a data portal is an efficient way for data communication and dissemination.  This practice can therefore form an inspiration for similar projects. However, due to the fast development of new online possibilities, the transferability of the data portal developed in 2005 is rather low.

Costs / Funding Source

The BALANCE project is part-financed by the EU BSR INTERREG IIIB Neighbourhood Programme and partly by the involved partners.

Responsible Entity

Geological Survey of Sweden

Box 670

SE-751 28


Phone: +46-18-179000

e-mail: (sgu[at]sgu[dot]se)