Data collation & mapping

Data on coastal boundaries, geophysical and hydrographical characteristics of the Irish Sea, protected areas, natural resources and human uses were acquired and mapped using GIS ESRI 'ARC' software. Public, private and NGO sector bodies contributed data and some were collated by contractors or used under license.
The Pilot project found that much data is potentially available. However, a lack of consistency in data management, format and supply between the plethora of organisations holding data makes collation and conversion relatively time consuming and expensive. In summary, the Pilot's proposals for improved management of marine data are:
  1. A standard electronic marine and coastal map/chart base should be established, which can be used at a range of scales. 
  2. A national marine information network should be established between institutions and bodies having the capability of managing data in the long-term, each managing and providing access to specific datasets to common standards. The network should provide public access to its data.
  3. Data standards should be developed, where possible jointly with the other countries and with the European Union.
  4. Marine data collected with public funds, or as a consequence of Government or Public agency contracts, should be held electronically to agreed formats and standards, placed in the public domain within specified timescales and added to a national marine information system.
  5. Improved co-ordination of data collection activities needs to be achieved, in order better to meet the needs of society and to make the most efficient use of available resources. This should include much clearer identification of the specific data collection responsibilities of public bodies. In the UK, Defra should take the lead in developing improved co-ordination, including in relation to liaising with neighbouring countries. A greater degree of collaboration between survey organisations should be promoted and encouraged.


A Pilot project data report and data catalogue is available for download ( Lumb et al, 2004). This includes description of the research undertaken to identify the Irish Sea data potentially available and issues arising during the data collection phase of the Pilot project. The process to identify and agree the boundaries for the project is also described.