Data Availability and Standards


General information relating to offshore seabed surveys JNCC has undertaken can be found on the ‘Completed Offshore Surveys’ page of this website.

Once survey data have been analysed and products quality assured they are made publically available under Open Government Licence1 where possible2. This is achieved by publishing reports and interactive maps on our website, and by publically archiving data with accredited organisations.

The Marine Environmental Data and Information Network (MEDIN)3 promote improved access to and sharing of marine data. MEDIN is an open partnership and its partners represent government departments, research institutions and private companies. Working with these partners, MEDIN has set up a network of accredited Data Archive Centres (DACs) to provide secure long-term storage of and access to marine data.

The potential of DACs lies in their ability to provide data at a limited cost and thus enable survey planners to maximise future work by avoiding data collection repetition. This allows organisations to adhere to the ‘collect once, use many times’ principle. JNCC is a user of and contributor to the MEDIN approved DACs.

DACs accredited by MEDIN include: 

• BGS (Seabed and sub-seabed geology):
• UKHO (Bathymetry data):
• DASSH (Benthic flora, fauna and habitats):

Biological specimens collected on survey, such as those collected from the seabed by grab devices, are made available to museums and other researchers once they have been analysed. These collections of biological specimens are called Taxonomic Sample Reference Collections. 


As marine survey data are collected by many different organisations using many different techniques, it is essential that data collection and processing are standardised where possible, to ensure dataset compatibility and comparability. It is important to “future-proof” these processes to ensure changing techniques and technologies do not render data collected unusable.

JNCC has been highly involved in developing and orchestrating data standards across the marine community, particularly with regard to producing the Marine Monitoring Handbook (MMH), involvement in the Mapping European Seabed Habitats project (MESH) and the National Marine Biological Analytical Quality Control Scheme (NMBAQC), use of Marine Recorder, and contributing data to the MEDIN DACs (see above) and the National Biodiversity Network (NBN).


Specimens found in seabed grab samples are made available to museums and other researchers as Sample Reference Collections once they have been analysed (left) © JNCC 2013. Example image of a seabed Taxonomic Sample Reference Collection (left) © JNCC 2014.



 2JNCC holds seabed survey data primarily gathered through collaborative projects with external partners; data are made    available where permissions allow.


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