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BASEMAPS – HELCOM transboundary MSP portal


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 original sources was needed. In cooperation with Aalborg University, HELCOM is led the development of the first Marine Spatial Data Infrastructure (MSDI) prototype in the Baltic Sea called BASEMAPS. 

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

Questions this practice may help answer:

  • How does a decentralised data system work?
  • What are the available spatial data from the Baltic Sea countries?

Implementation Context:

The Baltic LINes project (2016-2019) aims at increasing transnational coherence of shipping routes and energy corridors in Maritime Spatial Plans (MSP). This is essential to prevent cross-border mismatches, to secure transnational connectivity and to assure efficient use of Baltic Sea space. 

Getting up-to-date georeferenced transnational data from the original sources is crucial to achieve this objective. 

The prototype will be the first step towards a more efficient way to access MSP data from the original databases via compliant online standard services and formats. HELCOM will develop further the prototype after the project has ended in April 2019. 

Aspects / Objectives:

In a decentralized system, data is stored and maintained in its original location. This data is then published using standard protocols like Web Map Services (WMS) or Web Feature Services (WFS). A web based tool accesses the data from its original databases, therefore getting the most up-to-date datasets. 

For example, If two neighbouring countries publish data on cables the user could see both datasets from the original source, being sure that it is the latest official information available. 

One of the main challenges is to get data via WMS and, even more challenging, via WFS. It will take time until all data providers will publish data through standard services. Therefore, BASEMAPS is using a system to access both centralized (from HELCOM, for example) and decentralized data. 


Graph presenting how BASEMAPS works



Main Outputs / Results:

The BASEMAPS tool can be found here:


A short animation about the benefits of using BASEMAPS can be watched HERE

A BASEMAPS user guide can be found HERE

A flyer presenting BASEMAPS can be downloaded HERE



 BASEMAPS is currently only focusing on the Baltic Sea but this technology could be easily transferred to the other sea basins. 

Responsible Entity: 


Aalborg University

Costs / Funding Source:

Baltic LINes is a project cofinanced by the Baltic Sea Region Interreg Programme (2016-2019)


Manuel Frias Vega

HELCOM (manuel[dot]friasvega[at]helcom[dot]fi)


Joni Kaitaranta

HELCOM (joni[dot]kaitaranta[at]helcom[dot]fi)