Report on GSDI-EuroSDR “Marine SDI, INSPIRE and the EU Marine Directives” Workshop

Workshop Introduction

On 4 September 2017, the GSDI Association presented a half-day workshop on “Marine SDI, INSPIRE and the EU Marine Directives”, as part of the Marine/Coastal Best Practice Project. The project is supported by funding from EuroSDR, with the added remit to:

  • Analyse the roles of National Mapping and Cadastral Agencies (NMCAs) and Hydrographic Offices (HOs) in Europe in the current implementation of the Maritime Spatial Planning Directive (MSPD) in Europe.
  • Identify the contributions of national Spatial Data Infrastructures (SDIs) and Coastal and Marine SDIs to the current implementation of the MSP Directive in Europe.

eurosdr logo

One of the activities funded by EuroSDR was:

  • A workshop and conference paper at the INSPIRE 2017 Conference, 4-8 September 2017.

Presenters at the workshop were Roger Longhorn, GSDI Secretary-General, and Evangelia Balla, of National Mapping and Cadastre Agency, Greece, and PCC, the Permanent Committee on Cadastre in the European Union. The workshop agenda is below.

Workshop Agenda

  • Introduction to the Agenda and Workshop objectives – R Longhorn
  • Brief introduction to EU Integrated Maritime Policy initiatives – R Longhorn
  • Marine related themes in INSPIRE relevant to Marine SDI – R Longhorn
  • The status of Marine Cadastre developments in Europe – E Balla
  • Introduction to the EU Maritime Spatial Planning Directive (MSPD) - Links to INSPIRE harmonized data themes – R Longhorn
  • Introduction to the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) - Reporting requirements and links to INSPIRE harmonized data themes – R Longhorn
  • Status of INSPIRE harmonized marine-related themes across the EU – R Longhorn
  • Challenges in providing INSPIRE compliant data suitable for implementing MSFD reporting and MSPD plans – R Longhorn
  • Q&A and Discussion period – All

During the first sessions, we introduced the reporting requirements of the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) and the EU Maritime Spatial Planning Directive (MSPD), specifically regarding marine information components of national SDIs and INSPIRE compliant data in the coastal and marine information sectors. Participants agreed that significant challenges exist regarding coastal data sets of importance to MSFD and MSPD, which typically contain data from multiple INSPIRE themes. Issues include some data required for MSFD and MSPD reporting is not included in the current INSPIRE specification. Other relevant data, for which harmonization as per INSPIRE will increase accessibility and interoperability across government departments, is not required to be INSPIRE compliant until 2020 (or perhaps even later, in practice).

Challenges for MSFD and MSP Directive

Between the two marine directives, MSFD has very specific data requirements relating to indicators for achieving Good Environmental Status (GES), i.e. it is quite ‘prescriptive’. On the other hand, MSP, for which initial maritime plans are not required to be completed until 2021, is more ‘descriptive’ of what should be in those plans, with little information provided on the data needed to prepare those plans. Thus, as well as the normal challenges of creating and accessing relevant data, there is the timing challenge caused by the disparity between INSPIRE delivery dates for Annex III data (2020), GES status reporting for MSFD (next due in 2018), and initial MSP plans due in 2021.

In the marine sector, and especially in the coastal zone, an additional challenge is finding efficient ways for organisations, both government and non-government, from many different sectors, to work together in data collection, harmonization, and exchange. Cross-border issues are especially relevant since the marine and coastal environments do not respect national boundaries.

Multi-agency Cooperation

In discussion with various participants, it became apparent that cooperation was still a problem for some jurisdictions, but all were hoping to learn from ‘best practice’ identified elsewhere, for example in respect of the MSFD, for which reporting has been underway for some years. Because so few Members States were yet focusing on the legal reporting requirements of the Maritime Spatial Planning Directive (first plans not due until 2021), there is too little information available to identify ‘best practice’ regarding that Directive. However, a new focus on the concept of Marine Cadastres was welcomed and the state of marine cadastres in Europe was presented by Evangelia Balla.

European Marine Cadastre Development

Participants at the workshop included those working with INSPIRE data and implementation of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive. No one was yet working with implementation of the Maritime Spatial Planning Directive, as the first plans required by that Directive are not due until 2021. However, there was great interest in development of standardised content for a pan-European Marine Cadastre, including from European Commission representatives who attended the workshop. This is being progressed both within Europe (with the European Commission) and at the global level via a position paper on European Marine Cadastre being presented by Roger Longhorn at the forthcoming meeting of the International Hydrographic Organisation (IHO) Marine SDI Working Group, in Brazil, in February 2018.

The presentations from the workshop and the separate paper presentation delivered at the conference by Roger Longhorn can be found on the GSDI Association website at

Presentations and Handouts from the workshop and R Longhorn oral presentation:

Presentation - Marine Cadastre Developments in Europe - E_Balla.pdf
Presentation - Marine SDI Workshop - R Longhorn Sessions.pdf

Handout - INSPIRE Data Themes relevant to Marine SDI.pdf
Handout - Matrix of MSP Directive Activities and INSPIRE Data Themes.pdf
Handout - Marine and MSFD related codes in INSPIRE Registry.pdf
Handout - UK Marine Plan map examples.pdf

Oral Presentation - R_Longhorn 7Sep2017 INSPIRE and Marine Spatial Planning.pdf

Report - Joint GSDI EuroSDR Workshop on Marine-Coastal SDI Best Practice.pdf

Workshop Notes (PDF).