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Marine management atlas


A spatial analysis tool that can be used to produce maps that are ideally suited to the needs of each user.

Application in MSP:
Type of practice:
Stage of MSP cycle:
Cross-border / trans-national aspect:
Key words:

Questions this practice may help answer

  • How can mathematical models be used to support marine planning?
  • What information is available online to support planning in Belgian waters?
  • What legislation and policy applies to sectors and interests in Belgium?

Implementation Context

Ensuring integrated and sustainable management of the marine environment in Belgium requires knowledge of the spatial distribution of natural phenomena and human activities. To support the planning process in Belgium, the Management Unit of the North Sea Mathematical Models (MUMM) developed an online spatial analysis tool, using a 'Geographic Information System' (GIS) applied to the Belgian part of the North Sea. This computing system is capable of integrating information identified by geographical references (data entry by digitalisation, scanning, manual input or data transfer), of saving, handling and consulting these data and representing them spatially by creating charts.

The GIS can be used to produce these charts in forms that are suited to the needs of each user. In particular, several charts have been produced to clearly visualise any conflicts between various user groups and the natural resources of the marine environment. Some of these are also used in cases of accidental pollution.

The Data Centre also uses this spatial analysis tool to present and interpret data resulting from monitoring campaigns carried out at sea by MUMM and the various services and institutions with which it cooperates. These charts can be used to assess the general condition and development of the marine ecosystem rapidly and to study various physical and chemical phenomena and processes which occur there.

Aspects / Objectives

  • To develop a spatial tool to support planning in the Belgian part of the North Sea


The online tool presents GIS based on ArcView basic software and its 'Spatial Analyst' extension.

Main Outputs / Results

Online tool at:


This tool focusses specifically on the Belgian part of the North Sea; the approach to developing an online portal may be of interest in other countries, and in particular to those who’s waters border Belgium.

Contact Person

MUMM-Brussels (webmaster[at]odnature[dot]be)

Tel +32 (0)2 773 21 11


Fax +32 (0)2 770 69 72

Responsible Entity

Operational Directorate “Natural Environment” of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences

Costs / Funding Source

Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences