ICAN is a project of UNESCO IOC´s IODE Programme, and ICAN members seek to play a leadership role in forging international collaborations of value to the participating nations, thereby optimizing regional governance in coastal zone management and marine spatial planning.


We live on a blue planet, with oceans and seas covering more than 70 per cent of the Earth’s surface. Oceans feed us, regulate our climate, and generate most of the oxygen we breathe. Some 37 per cent of the world's population lives within 100 km of the coast. (UNEP)


CWAs are "...collections of digital maps and datasets with supplementary tables, illustrations, & information that systematically illustrate the coast, oftentimes with cartographic & decision support tools, all of which are accessible via the Internet."  O'Dea et al., 2007


Membership in ICAN is open to all interested parties who agree to the mission & objectives of ICAN, including those with an operational coastal web atlas, as well as those hoping to design and build a coastal web atlas in the future.
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The 7th IODE International Coastal Atlas Network Project Workshop (ICAN 7) was held at the Protea Hotel Breakwater Lodge in Cape Town, South Africa from 19-20 April 2015, in advance of CoastGIS 2015. The theme of ICAN 7 was Coastal Web Atlases - Supporting Ecosystem Based Management. 

The objective of ICAN7 covered the following items: 

  • Exploring the opportunities for CWAs to support the objectives of managing and protecting LMEs
  • Discussing the challenges of atlas development and usage in the African Coastal Atlas community
  • A session on “Interoperability for Dummies” which aims to demystify coastal atlas interoperability and highlight the benefits of interoperability
  • A small “workshop within a workshop” for atlas technical developers on how to become a new node in the ICAN interoperability demonstrator, using the updated cookbooks
  • A small "workshop within a workshop" on data accessibility, self-assessment and interacting with users, including a progress update on the user handbook
  • Review of communication activities within ICAN
  • Face-to-face meeting of the ICAN Steering Group

Key achievements since ICAN6

Since March 2013, ICAN is an official Project of the International Oceanographic Data & Information Exchange (IODE) programme of UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC). This workshop will provide an opportunity to discuss how coastal web atlases (CWA) can assist in implementing ecosystem based management approaches. 

This is particularly pertinent as the African continent is surrounded by five Large Marine Ecosystems (LMEs) (the Agulhas and Somali Current, the Benguela Current, the Canary Current, the Mediterranean Current, the Guinea Current) all requiring sustainable management and protection.  As this is the first time the workshop is being held in Africa, it is a great opportunity to hear about developments from the ODINAFRICA Coastal and Marine Atlas community.

This workshop follows the successful ICAN6 workshop: “Expanding Participation in Coastal Web Atlas Development and Use”, held at the University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, in 2013; as well as five previous workshops held in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2011.

Session 1: ICAN in Africa 

  • The African Coastal and Marine Data Portal - Kenya Chapter (Harrison Ong’anda)
  • GIS-based coastal sensitivity map for Tanzania (Christopher  Muhando, Yves Barthélemy and Matthew D. Richmond)
  • The African Coastal & Marine Atlas in the BCLME region: challenges and opportunities (Anja Kreiner)


Session 2: Atlas development from around the world 

  • Maps, Marshes, and Management with the North Carolina Coastal Atlas (Thomas Allen)
  • SantosWebAtlas: Geoportal of Baixada Santista, Brazil (Silvia Sartor)
  • Coastal Atlases in support of Integrated Coastal Area Management in the Southeast Pacific countries (Steve Erique)


Session 3: Interoperability for Dummies 

  • Interoperability for Dummies (Tanya Haddad and Yassine Lassoued)


Session 4: Workshop within a workshop 

  • Connecting Atlases – Implementing Semantic Interoperability (facilitated by Tanya Haddad and Yassine Lassoued)
  • Data accessibility, self-assessment and interacting with Users (facilitated by Andy Sherin and Kathrin Kopke  )


Session 5: Communication in ICAN and Summary 

  • Communication activities in the ICAN Community (Andy Sherin)


Session 6: Atlases, Marine Spatial Planning and Large Marine Ecosystems 

  • Indigeo : a Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) dedicated to scientific research and observation of the coastal environment (Mathias Rouan)
  • Prospective environmental modeling and interoperability of spatial data infrastructures to support maritime strategic planning – Use cases in the Indian Ocean (E. Lagabrielle, D. David, P. Degenne, V. Heurteaux)
  • Priority Technical Developments for ICAN  (Tanya Haddad, 30 mins)  


Session 7: Conclusions and ICAN7 wrap-up 

  • Meet the ICAN co-chairs (ICAN co-chairs)
  • Review of SG and other Committee membership (ICAN SG)
  • Key Actions and Work Items for ICAN 
  • ICAN 8 Potential Location and Dates

  For our Coasts

Newsletter, Vol, 8, Nr 1 - Now Available!

We are now entering our 8th year publishing the ICAN newsletter. Many thanks to our Editor Andy Sherin!

Please consider preparing an article for the next newsletter that will likely be published in the fall of this year.
Happy New Year!

Photos from CoastGIS 2018

Our friends from CoastGIS 2018 have posted a wonderful gallery of photos, including the recent ICAN mini-workshop:

See how many ICAN members you can spot!