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.
Join us!

¡Únete a nosotros!

Benefits of participating in ICAN include:

  • Your coastal web atlas (CWA) can be part of and interoperable with a larger universe of resources that is needed for effective marine spatial planning, resource management, and emergency planning.

  • Communication channel for CWAs in your own region to enhance collaborative study or spatial planning within a region or nation, where you may already have a mandate, with increased benefit of linking internationally.

  • Learn how your CWA can become a framework for discussion of critical resource management and scientific issues in your region.

  • Guidance and best practices for your own local CWA development. You have access to a community of experts in the IT, GIS, data management and coastal and marine governance domains.

  • Assistance in finding maps, datasets, and related informational resources.

  • Potential to exchange and reuse software and technical solutions developed using Open Source solutions.

  • Linkage to broader communities such as SeaDataNet and similar “cyberinfrastructures”, along with their accompanying tools, solutions, and best practices.

  • Great publicity for your individual CWA via the outreach efforts of ICAN. This can help with promoting your CWA with decision makers.

  • Possibility to leverage funding for collaborative projects among ICAN participants

  • Participate in teaching and learning activities organised by ICAN or other organisations in the CWA domain.

A major focus within ICAN is also on the benefits of semantic interoperability, and the benefits not only to users, but to data providers.

See this excellent presentation on the benefits of interoperability by Cyndy Chandler of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), which was given at a 2008 Marine Metadata Interoperability (MMI) workshop. [1.8 Mb pdf]

Draft ICAN Benefits of Coastal Web Atlas Interoperability statement (*.doc) that was discussed at ICAN 4, Trieste, Italy, November 2009.

Para nuestras Costas

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!