Best practice in data and information management for MSP


Recommendations for types of data to use in MSP, geographic coverage, mechanisms for collection & dissemination

June 2011
Application in MSP: 
Unknown effect
Offshore renewable energy production
Type of Issue: 
Type of practice: 
Stage of MSP cycle: 
Vision and aims
Analyse spatial aspects
Cross-border / trans-national aspect: 
Coherence with other processes: 
Renewable Energy Directive
Trans-European Transport Network

Questions this practice may help answer

  • What are the best practices of EU member states on data and information management in MSP?
  • How can I organize data and information management better in my MSP?

Implementation Context

The Seanergy 2020 project has developed a set of seven criteria to evaluate the different MSP regimes across the 17 EU Member States. These criteria are: 1) policy and legal framework; 2) data and information management; 3) permitting and licensing; 4) consultation 5) sector conflict management; 6) cross-border cooperation; 7) implementation of MSP. Based on these criteria, a series of national reports were commissioned to establish the current status of MSP within each EU Member States. These reports go into detail on the specific arrangements within the different countries and provide details on national legalisation, data management, permitting arrangements, consultation mechanisms, methods for managing sector-conflict and cross-border cooperation. In this practice the report on data and information management for MSP will be elaborated.

Aspects / Objectives

What have been best practices in data and information management for MSPs?


A series of national reports were commissioned to establish the current status of MSP within each EU Member States. In these report the focus for data and information management was on the following areas:

  • Availability
  • Geographic Coverage
  • Mechanisms for Collection & Dissemination: i) Coordination/Integration; ii) Data format & accessibility; & iii) Ongoing data collection and monitoring.

Main Outputs / Results

The report provides a summary of the findings. Characteristics of best practice in Data and Information Management are:

  • Comprehensive ecological, socio-economic and geo-technical data is available throughout the territorial sea and EEZ
  • Data collection is coordinated by an overarching strategy to avoid duplication of effort and to ensure that formats are compatible. Different institutions are designated „owners‟ of certain data types. This will need to take into account the range of different institutions that are likely to be responsible both for different data types but also for different scales e.g. the coastal zone, river estuaries, territorial sea and EEZ.
  • There is a central institution that coordinates data collection and integration into a GIS format useful for planning
  • Institutions that act as „owners‟ for certain data types are required by law to regularly update data (at specified intervals) and report this to the central coordination institution.
  • Data are publically available in a GIS format
  • Data are effectively used within the MSP process both in developing maritime spatial plans and assessing the merits of potential developments

In order to achieve this ideal throughout the member states there are a number of steps that can be taken:

  • Capitalise on the INSPIRE directive to improve the collection and dissemination of maritime spatial data, but ensure efforts are in addition to current spatial maritime data and not parallel to these;
  • Continue to use EU regional projects to push for progress in MSP and particularly data and information management, but ensure that coordination efforts are mainstreamed into national policy and legislation. EU Regional projects addressing Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) or Integrated Maritime Spatial Planning (IMSP) appear to provide a coordination role for data and information management in a number of countries. Such a role either needs to continue at the regional level or effectively mainstreamed at the national level.
  • Encourage the use of legislation to make one centralised institution responsible for collating all data relevant for MSP with other institutions legally bound to provide regularly updated data.


The recommendations do not refer to a specific geographical area or institutional context and are therefore highly transferable among the EU member states.

Costs / Funding Source

The practice was elaborated under the Seanergy 2020 Project co-financed by Intelligent Energy Europe. Direct costs of its elaboration are unknown.

Responsible Entity

European Wind Energy Association

Contact Person

Dorina Iuga

European Wind Energy Association