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Energy, Climate change, Environment

Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) is one of the main tools to deal with current and long-term coastal challenges, including climate change and its impacts (for instance sea-level rise, changes in storm frequency, strength and patterns and increased coastal erosion and flooding). As stressed in 2002 by the European Parliament and Council Recommendation on the implementation of Integrated Coastal Zone Management in Europe, the ICZM requires “strategic, coordinated and concerted action at the local and regional level, guided and supported by an appropriated framework at the national level”. The implementation of the ICZM and of the EU Marine Policy requires a response to the following main need: more high quality, seamless, interoperable and accessible data on coastal areas across Europe especially bathymetry and seabed mapping.

Objectives of EMODnet Coastal Mapping

The main objectives of the EMODnet Coastal Mapping project were to assess the availability of digital coastal maps in the EU, to disseminate this information by EMODnet, to share experience of coastal mapping in the EU, to develop standards for best practices and to propose how a future Joint European Coastal Mapping Programme (JECMAP) could operate.

EMODnet Coastal Mapping development

The project's strategic objective was to develop an innovative analysis of the needs and means in Europe for the acquisition of marine data in coastal areas, as well as concrete propositions for the development of European strategy for marine data acquisition.

To address these objectives, the project developed propositions concerning an infrastructure enabling partners to prepare, update, aggregate and disseminate data produced by them, as well as develop tools to prepare and optimize data, provide high performance services disseminating the prepared layers with respect to INSPIRE recommendations, propose an ergonomic web portal and provide training to potential users. The project also assessed consistency of the existing vertical datum, list and summarize past experiences and best practices, develop and test an algorithm for choosing the most appropriate surveying method and build a technical and economic strategy. Finally, the project developed a method to draw a Joint European Coastal Mapping Programme (JECMaP) in shallow waters for bathymetric data.

EMODnet Coastal Mapping recommendations

In conclusion of the project, since an integrated maritime policy needs an integrated vision, and given coastal areas are a major factor for blue growth, but also highly sensitive from an environmental point of view, strong action must be taken to greatly improve knowledge of these areas.

For that reason, the coastal mapping partnership, representing 13 countries and 160 maritime regions of all EU maritime basins, strongly recommended that a European Strategy with 3 axes and 3 pillar actions be implemented. For the sake of efficiency, the project team also recommends platform sharing and/or organising common campaigns for data acquisition and a systematic requirement that any EU funded project including data acquisition, must respect standards and ensure data capitalisation and promotion of good practice to maximize the benefits of community/crowd sourced data.

Three axes

  • AXIS 1: Set up coordinated programmes for data acquisition at maritime basin scale
  • AXIS 2: Seize opportunities for bathymetric data acquisition in the framework of the EU operational programmes and funds, and ensure that those data are standardised and capitalised
  • AXIS 3: Promote good practices to produce bathymetric data from multiple sources, standardised for re-use by all coastal stakeholders for maritime policies.

 Three pillar actions to support the strategy

  • Establish a European steering committee on Strategy
  • Establish standards and hydrographic practices for all potential contributors acquiring these data
  • Establish a partnership with coastal stakeholders using high resolution bathymetric data in Europe

Improvements in EMODnet Coastal Mapping in development phase II (2013-2016)

EMODnet Coastal Mapping was a new thematic area in EMODnet Phase II, not covered in EMODnet Phase I. The supporting project began in June 2015 and ran until June 2018. The first 18 months comprised the operational phase, having the portal opened after 6 month, the production of the algorithm for choosing the most appropriate method for coastal mapping after 9 months and the proposal for a future programme after 18 months. The second phase was dedicated to the maintenance of the system.