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Georeference Interactions Database


"GeoReference Interactions Database" is a web-based flexible database connected with a number of tools (stress level and conflict score analyses) to analyse marine activities and interactions (conflicts and synergies). GRID has a dedicated GIS application to analyse spatial distribution of present and future activities and interactions.

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 can the main conflicts be characterized (spatial and temporal scales)?

Implementation Context

This tool has been presented and tested in the context of the COEXIST project, which ran from 2010 to 2013. It provides a comprehensive assessment of the conflicts and synergies between fisheries, aquaculture and other activities in the coastal zone in six COEXIST case study areas.

The GRID tool is evaluated in the “Guidance of Better Integration of Aquaculture, Fisheries, and other Activities in the Coastal Zone” and is presented in the Deliverable D3.9 “GeoReference Interactions Database” of the COEXIST project. 

Aspects / Objectives

Different software can be used either for mapping interactions (e.g. ArcGis, MapInfo) or to generate matrices of interaction, but no one of them allows to combine both analysis in a single environment.
While it is quite easy to describe the interaction between two activities developed in a specific area, sometimes it is more complicated to quantify it, visualize the interaction in terms of interested area, and even to consider more than two activities all together to summarize interactions between them.

GRID was developed in order to try to solve the above problems allowing to combine different activities which take place in a marine coastal area, visualize their eventual interactions and quantify them.
The aim was to provide stakeholders involved in marine spatial planning with a decision support and managing tool. For these reasons particular attention was given on sharing data between different players involved in the process.

The Version GRID 1.2 allows to perform the following types of analyses considering different possible scenarios:

  • calculation of conflict scores
  • generation of Matrices of interactions
  • plot of maps
  • evaluation of spatial interactions existing in a specific marine coastal area
  • calculation of asymmetric spatial overlaps
  • calculation of stress levels. 


GRID comes from different development tools. First of all, MySQL relational database management system allows storing information and attributes of activities, and to fix interactions between them and spatial data regarding their extent. In addition, MySQL RDBMS was used to store and apply rules for interaction score calculation and to store some spatial analysis results.

A second tool that represents, together with MySQL, a core component of GRID is Manifold GIS map server. This component was employed to manage all the functions developed within the GIS module of GRID.
The figure below shows the relations between the different modules and tools of GRID. 

This tool has been tested and implemented in several case studies of the COEXIST project: the Adriatic Coast case study involving Italy and the Coastal North Sea case study. Main

main Outputs / Results

One of the first standardised tool which was implemented in GRID was the visualization of the interaction matrix which reflects the level and type of interactions (conflicts and synergies) between activities.
These matrices are produced with the help of experts’ knowledge and comprise qualitative levels of conflicts ranging from “no” to “high”. GRID tried to implement a good practice for the identification of interactions and their quantification. Therefore, a set of criteria should be applied to define a conflict and to quantify it in order to be represented on a matrix.

When activities and conflicts are settled, matrices can be visualized. The GRID graphic user interface allows the users to select sectors of activities, and to filter interactions to be shown in the matrix as well as to select a field of interaction (e.g. space or resources).

A specific GIS module was inserted in the GRID application to produce maps and to analyze spatial interactions.
The GIS module of GRID was developed in order to perform two main tasks:

1)  producing maps with activities to visualize their spatial distribution and spatial extensions within the area of interest;

2)  performing spatial analysis to evaluate interactions between activities that stand in a specific area. 


The Guidance of Better Integration of Aquaculture, Fisheries, and other Activities in the Coastal Zone and the Deliverable D3.9 present a spatial management tool and this introduction to and evaluation of the “GRID” tool is therefore highly transferable. Thanks to those documents, each stakeholder is able to judge if this tool could be relevant in his specific case.

Contact Person

Gianna Fabi

CNR ISMAR (g[dot]fabi[at]ismar[dot]cnr[dot]it)

+39 071 2078825

Responsible Entity


Costs / Funding Source

Costs: unknown

Funding Source: European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7 2007-2013)