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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ICAN 6 - Expanding Participation in Coastal Web Atlas Development and Use, Victoria, Canada, June 2013

ICAN 6: Expanding Participation in Coastal Web Atlas Development and Use, Victoria, Canada, 16-17 June 2013

Submitted by mida on 16 June 2013 - 6:51am

The 6th International Coastal Atlas Network Workshop (ICAN 6) will be held at the University of Victoria, Canada from 16-17 June 2013, in advance of CoastGIS 2013. The theme of this year’s workshop is Expanding Participation in Coastal Web Atlas Development and Use .


ICAN Registrants


Since March 2013 ICAN is an official Project of the International Oceanographic Data & Information Exchange (IODE) programme of UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC). The workshop will provide an opportunity to discuss how the ICAN community will share its knowledge and aid capacity building among IOC member states in relation to coastal and marine atlases. Moreover, ICAN has seen its membership grow in the last two years and currently has extensive membership along the North and South American Pacific coasts. We look forward to hearing about atlas developments in these regions.

Key activities at the ICAN-6 workshop will include:

  • exploring the opportunities for ICAN in an IODE context and how to build synergies with other IOC projects;
  • discussion of coastal atlas training needs and how ICAN members can contribute;
  • Atlas Stories – presentations from Atlas developers and users from North and South American Pacific coasts and beyond;
  • an Atlas Showcase providing an opportunity for atlas developers to present their atlases
  • a small “workshop within a workshop” for atlas technical developers on how to become a new node in the ICAN interoperability demonstrator, version 3;
  • a small “workshop within a workshop” focussing on Volunteered Geographical Information (VGI) and its implications for coastal atlases;
  • development of an ICAN work plan for the period 2013-2015.

This workshop follows on 2011’s successful workshop ICAN 5: Coastal Atlases as Engines for Coastal & Marine Spatial Planning, held at IODE headquarters in Oostende, Belgium, in September 2011, as well as four previous workshops held in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 in Cork, Ireland, Oregon, USA, Copenhagen, Denmark and Trieste, Italy respectively.

A range of accommodation options are available. More information at:

ICAN 6 is co-organized by Ned Dwyer and Kathrin Kopke of the Coastal and Marine Research Centre, Ireland, Prof. Dawn Wright of Esri, USA, Roger Longhorn of EUCC, Belgium and Rosaline Canessa of University of Victoria. The ICAN 6 workshop is sponsored in part by ESRI, with additional support from IODE, and the University of Victoria.


Organizers and Sponsors

UCC Logo RGB detailed cmrc UVICGeog EUCC Logo esri-logo

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ICAN 5: Coastal Atlases as Engines for Coastal & Marine Spatial Planning, Oostende, Belgium, August, 2011

Submitted by Dawn on 23 April 2012 - 3:27am

The 5th International Coastal Atlas Workshop (ICAN 5) was held at UNESCO IOC IODE headquarters, 31 August to 2 September 2011, Oostende, Belgium, in advance of CoastGIS 2011. The theme was Coastal Atlases as Engines for Coastal & Marine Spatial Planning.

This workshop followed on 2009’s successful workshop ICAN 4: “Formalizing the Network, Engaging the Mediterranean, held at the International Centre for Theoretical Physics, UNESCO University, Trieste, Italy, in November 2009, as well as three previous workshops held in 2006, 2007 and 2008 in Cork, Ireland, Oregon, USA and Copenhagen, Denmark respectively. The ICAN 5 workshop was sponsored in part by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), with additional support from IODE, the Coordination Centre for ICZM, Belgium, the Coastal and Marine Research Centre (CMRC), Ireland, the EU funded projects NETMAR and C-Scope and the Coastal and Marine Union (EUCC).

ICAN 5 focused on coastal web atlases as engines that support and drive the coastal/marine spatial planning (CMSP) process, primarily in northern and southern Europe, the US, the Caribbean, and Africa. Participants shared progress on national and regional-level efforts to improve and build atlases in support of new national and regional CMSP directives. Participants in the meeting:

  • Explored the current and future potential of coastal web atlases (CWAs) for coastal and marine spatial planning.
  • Heard updates on recent relevant initiatives and meetings at which ICAN members presented and participated.
  • Experienced a small “workshop within a workshop” on atlas use and evaluation and how atlases can be used effectively in ICZM and MSP.
  • Experienced a small “workshop within a workshop” for atlas administrators on how to become a new node in the ICAN interoperability prototype.
  • Presented and discussed progress of the EU FP7 funded NETMAR project and how its technical advances can support ICAN goals in regard to interoperability of distributed web atlases (including controlled vocabularies and semantic web methodologies).
  • Reviewed and refined the governance structures and development of an action plan for future ICAN activities.

The workshop was also an occasion to launch the latest version of De KustAtlas, Belgium’s CWA, and to celebrate the publication of the new ICAN book Coastal Informatics: Web Atlas Design and Implementation.

A number of rooms were blocked at Hotel Bero in Oostende.

There was no registration fee for this ICAN event, but those interested in participating and assisting with the logistics of organising the event, made provisional registration via the IODE web site by Friday, June 3, 2011.

ICAN 5 was co-organized by Prof. Dawn Wright of Oregon State University, USA, Dr. Ned Dwyer of the Coastal and Marine Research Centre, Ireland, Kathy Belpaeme of the Co-ordination Centre for Integrated Coastal Zone Management, Belgium, and Roger Longhorn of Compass Informatics Ltd. and IODE, Belgium

Reaching the ICAN 5 Workshop

Information on European Electrical Power and Computer Connections

ICAN 5 Program | ICAN 5 Participants


Organizers and Sponsors

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jaune.thumbnailgarland logologokustatlas

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  For our Coasts

Vol, 8, Nr 2 - Now Available!

We are now entering our 9th 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 spring 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!