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The German Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH) has developed a geodata infrastructure  called GeoSeaPortal to accommodate the increasing demand for marine information and geodata. The GeoSeaPortal provides a central and interdisciplinary access point to geoinformation and georeferenced measurement data of the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency. The central component is a geo-object-relational database, in which data from different information and data systems are harmonized and provided for internal as well as external users.

Application in MSP:
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Questions this practice may help answer

  • What are some of the data available for regional MSP?
  • How are physical and natural aspects/ conditions of the German Sea geographically distributed in the German Seas? 
  • How are marine uses geographically distributed in the German Seas (offshore wind farm, shipping routes, pipe line and cables, oil and gas platforms, fishing areas)

Implementation Context

On the occasion of INTERGEO Hamburg (a fair for Geodesy, Geoinformation and Planning), the German Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH) has activated its comprehensively updated GeoSeaPortal. The online platform (website) provides a quick and easy access towards detailed geodata for the sea and coasts, based on international standards by ISO (International Organisation for Standardization) and OGC (Open Geospatial Consortium).

The marine data provided by the portal are fundamental data on physical and natural aspects as well as marine uses, such as shipping, marine environmental protection and construction projects such as offshore wind farms which are all necessary for MSP. 

Furthermore, the GeoSeaPortal provided by BSH is an important part of the national geodata basis. Via the national geodata portal (GDI-DE = Geodata Infrastructure – Germany), information and services from GeoSeaPortal also flow into the European initiative “Infrastructure for Spatial Information in Europe” (INSPIRE).

Aspects / Objectives

  • Harmonizing data from different sources and scientific fields.
  • Providing a convenient access to data for internal and external use.
  • Enabling the creation of maps, to present spatial data in an easy to access and read format.


The central component of the GeoSeaPortal is a geo-object-relational database, in which data from different information and data systems are harmonized according to the data-warehouse principle. Data is offered in a targeted redundant way for internal and external users. An automatic update of data in the central data base is ensured and performed using ETL-tools (extract, transform, load). The update takes place in periodical intervals, depending on the refresh rate of the respective data. Depending on the data, the update is carried out automatically on a weekly, daily or even hourly base. This way, the BSH ensures permanent actuality of data of its GeoSeaPortal.

Main Outputs / Results

The central element of the GeoSeaPortal is a web based geodata portal. The embedded metadata research system enables the user to retrieve all geodata, provided by BSH. Geographically representable technical data is provided in form of web map services. The data can be visualized in form of maps using the map client of the GeoSeaPortal. Additionally, the geographical information can be transformed into other map-viewer via URL (Uniform Resource Locator) and thus be embedded in other applications.


The GeoSeaPortal focuses primarily on data from the German seas. The website can be used in German and English language. However, the used approach is very well transferable to other regions.

Responsible Entity

Bundesamt für Seeschifffahrt und Hydrographie 

Bernhard-Nocht-Str. 78 

D-20359 Hamburg

Contact person

Johannes Melles 

Tel.: +49 (0)40 3190 –3420 

E-mail: (johannes[dot]melles[at]bsh[dot]de)