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Introducing Smart Marine Ecosystem-Based Planning (SMEP)—How SMEP Can Drive Marine Spatial Planning Strategy and Its Implementation in Greece



This paper introduces smart marine ecosystem-based planning (SMEP), a marine spatial planning (MSP) strategy for more participatory and responsive marine governance by leveraging “smart” digital services. SMEP denotes an iterative MSP process with planning cycles that incorporate continuous data gathering of spatial–temporal natural phenomena and human activities in coastal and marine areas, with ongoing data mining to locate key patterns and trends, to strive for periodic refinement of the MSP output. SMEP aims to adopt an ecosystem-based approach, taking into account both living and non-living aspects of the marine environment, and making use of all available spatial data at various resolutions. In pursuit of SMEP implementation, the paper examines the current state of the MSP process in Greece and relates its long-term success with the establishment of a marine spatial data infrastructure (MSDI), employing contemporary nautical cartography standards along with hydrospatial data services.

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:

  • What are the existing maritime governance frameworks at international and European scales?
  • What is the Maritime Spatial Planning context in Greece?
  • What opportunities are available with the use of Smart Marine Ecosystem-Based Planning?

Implementation Context:

Despite the economic weight and maritime wealth of its coastal zones, Greece still lacks national spatial planning for the development of maritime activities.

Aspects / Objectives:

This paper aims to introduce Smart Marine Ecosystem-Based Planning and the opportunities offered by smart technologies especially in improving participatory processes and governance for Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP).


This paper is based on scientific literature and existing frameworks for maritime governance and maritime spatial planning at international, European and Greek levels.  

Main Outputs / Results:

The study highlights how Smart Marine Ecosystem-Based Planning and Marine Spatial Data Infrastructure can contribute to providing long-term data on environmental variables and human activities contributing to maritime spatial planning by providing more participatory and responsive marine governance.


This article focuses on Greece, but the approaches introduced could be applied in other cases.

Responsible Entity:

Cartography Laboratory, National Technical University of Athens

Navigation and Sea Sciences Laboratory, Hellenic Naval Academy

Costs / Funding Source:

Cartography Laboratory, National Technical University of Athens and Navigation and Sea Sciences Laboratory, Hellenic Naval Academy. This research received no external funding.

Contact person:

Stilianos Contarinis: (contarinis[at]central[dot]ntua[dot]gr)