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EMODnet Baltic Sea Basin Checkpoint


The overall aim of this project is a) to examine the current data collection, observation, surveying, sampling and data assembly programmes in the Baltic Sea basin, b) assess and demonstrate how they can fit into purpose in the 11 challenge areas in terms of data uncertainty, availability, accessibility and adequacy, and c) deliver the findings to stakeholders through an internet portal with dynamic mapping features and a stakeholder workshop.


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

  • What marine data related to human activities is available for the Baltic Sea region?
  • How can be blue economy and related topics like eutrophication and alien species being supported by data services?
  • How is data from various sources being harmonised?

Implementation Context

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

Aspects / Objectives

The main objective of EMODnet Baltic Sea Checkpoint is to make available information on the geographical position, spatial extent and attributes of a wide array of marine and maritime human activities in this particular sea basin. Attention is given to examine the current data collection, observation, surveying, sampling and data assembly programmes providing, when possible, solutions to meet challenge areas and to overcome typical data issues like uncertainy and availabiltiy. The checkpoint allows users to view, query and download data and metadata from public and private sources 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.


The approach demonstrates whether data (mainly in-situ, including satellite and model when necessary) is fit-for-purpose in 11 challenge areas. Data sourced mainly from EMODnet thematic portals as well as from the Copernicus Marine Environmental Monitoring Service (CMEMS) are under assessment with a focus on availability, accessibility, uncertainty and adequacy of the data to address important challenges relevant to  sustainable Blue Growth in the Baltic Sea.

Main Outputs / Results

A data portal is under development that provide access to marine data in the Baltic Sea across seven thematic areas: windfarm siting; marine protected areas; oil platform leaks; climate change; coastal protection; fishery management; fishing impacts; eutrophication; riverine inputs; bathymetry; and alien species.

A report has been launched to identify sources for the required characteristics for the Baltic Sea in order to address the needs in the predefined challenges. The identified data sources have as far as possible been evaluated with regard to: availability (accessibility, performance) and appropriateness. The requirements from the eleven challenges sums up to a total of 140 different characteristics: 10 in Air, 38 in Water, 31 in Biota/biology, 19 in Seabed and 42 in Human Activities.
Based on the available information in the literature used in this survey it has been attempted– when possible - to judge the availability and appropriateness of the required characteristic.
Main assumptions are so far:

  • Important data respitories in the sea basin are HELCOM/ICES, ICES, EMODnet and CMEMS.
  • Data store at originator institutions are often not very visible, formats requires some efforts to use, the data policy often have some restriction and with some fee involved. This is particularly true for meteorological data.
  • Data available at the big international data portals (HELCOM/ICES, ICES, EMODnet, CMEMS) are generally judges to be easy to find, the data format often is a challenge, the data policy is open and free of charge.
  • The quality of the data cannot always be judged from the literature; but where information has been subtracted only few has been labelled “high or good” quality while the majority is judged to be of “acceptable or poor” quality.


The approach to screen and assess important data respitories is tranferable.

A trend can be noted in that most countries in the Baltic Sea 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: Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia and Lithuania. 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

EMODnet Secretariat

Costs / Funding Source

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

Contact person

EMODnet Secretariat, (secretariat[at]emodnet[dot]ec[dot]europa[dot]eu)

Leading Partner