La membresía de ICAN está abierta a todas las partes interesadas que aceptan la misión y los objetivos de ICAN, incluidos aquellos que tienen un Atlas web costero operativo, así como aquellos que esperan diseñar y construir un Atlas web.
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ICAN es un proyecto del Programa IODE de la COI de la UNESCO, y los miembros de ICAN buscan desempeñar un papel de liderazgo en la creación de colaboraciones internacionales de valor para las naciones participantes, optimizando así la gobernanza regional en la gestión de zonas costeras y la planificación espacial marina.


Los atlas son "...colecciones de mapas digitales y conjuntos de datos con tablas complementarias, ilustraciones e información que ilustran sistemáticamente la costa, a menudo con herramientas cartográficas y de apoyo a la toma de decisiones, todas las cuales son accesibles a través de Internet.."  O'Dea et al., 2007


Vivimos en un planeta azul, con océanos y mares que cubren más del 70% de la superficie de la Tierra. Los océanos nos alimentan, regulan nuestro clima y generan la mayor parte del oxígeno que respiramos. Aproximadamente el 37% de la población mundial vive a menos de 100 km de la costa. (UNEP)

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HELCOM map and data service updated – enhanced system for making available assessment data products and underlying data

Joni Kaitaranta and Andžej Miloš, HELCOM Secretariat


HELCOM (Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission - Helsinki Commission) is the governing body of the Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area, known as the Helsinki Convention. The Contracting Parties are Denmark, Estonia, the European Union, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia and Sweden. HELCOM works to protect the Baltic Sea from all sources of pollutions through intergovernmental cooperation. HELCOM is a regional sea convention (RSC) for the Baltic Sea and policy maker for the Baltic Sea area by developing common environmental objectives and actions. One of HELCOM’s task is to act as an environmental focal point providing information which requires GIS web mapping tool for providing information and data used in assessment carried out by HELCOM.

HELCOM Map and Data service (HELCOM MADS) was designed to fulfill that requirement and first version was developed in 2010. During 2016 a project was launched where resources were made available to completely renew and update the tool that was reaching the end of its life-span. 

Requirements and use cases

Fundamental requirement for tools used in making available data stems from HELCOM Monitoring and Assessment Strategy, which contains attachment of Data and Information Strategy. The strategy sets out following guiding principle: The HELCOM data and information activities should facilitate access of the general public to environmental information. This includes requirements for various thematic datasets ranging from in-situ monitoring of eutrophication, biodiversity and hazardous substances related data to more aggregated data products on status of marine environment, nutrient loading and trends and overview of maritime traffic related activities.

HELCOM Contracting Parties that are also EU Member State have obligation stemming from Marine Strategy Frame Work Directive (MSFD). The Directive requires coherence and coordination within regions and makes possible reference to assessments/data that is done by Regional Sea Conventions. This sets requirements in relation to data products being made available on regional level and according to INSPIRE Directive.

Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) requires also regional coordination and coherence of plans across the region and between neighboring countries. According to the MSP Directive, plans should be harmonized across the region and this requires regional level work and agreement on data harmonization. Spatial data should be also spatially very accurate and up-to-date to be useful in the planning process.

According to HELCOM data and information strategy, the target group for information and data products should be also general public / decision makers. This sets a requirement on complexity of information and terms used for displaying results. This purpose sets a requirement to be able to pinpoint to a specific aggregated and simplified map product in the service.

Technical solutions

HELCOM MADS is based on two user interfaces, which are seamlessly interlinked:

Each dataset has a unique ID, which is used to link a record in the metadata catalogue with a dataset in the map viewer. Linkage is done by including ID in the map viewer and metadata catalogue URL. At anytime user can switch between two systems: to view dataset in the map viewer or read metadata and download dataset in the metadata catalogue (Fig. 1).

Figure 1. Visualization of a dataset in the map viewer (left hand side) and metadata record in metadata catalogue (right)

Map and Data service viewer is based on datasets stored in file Geodatabases and published in ArcGIS Server (10.6.1). The Map viewer user interface is developed by HELCOM Secretariat using ArcGIS API for Javascript. The source code for the map viewer part can be found at GitHub under GNU General Public License v3.0:

The main features of map viewer (Figure 2) are:

  • Searchable table of contents
  • Linkage between to metadata catalogue, accessing datasets and features via URL
  • feature identification
  • Attribute table widget
  • Widget to add WMS services (from predefined list and custom)
  • Ability to query features with URL parameters

HELCOM Metadata catalogue is an application of Geonetwork and utilizing INSPIRE compatible metadata template with GEMET thesauri. The metadata catalogue contains following features:

  • Search feature for metadata records titles and content
  • Downloadable content of each metadata record


Figure 2. Screenshot of HELCOM Map and Data service map viewer. On the left hand side searchable table of contents, at the bottom extendable attribute table widget and right hand side legend widget

ICAN supports ACMA migration to GeoNode

The African Coastal and Marine Atlas (ACMA) editorial team supported by Greg Reed from IODE, Tanya Haddad, ICAN Technical team, and Carlos Oliveros from the Caribbean Marine Atlas, held a meeting in November 2017 to discuss the migration of ACMA to a new content management system using the open source software GeoNode. As this new system would be more functional and sustainable for marine spatial planning than the existing ACMA, the Marine Spatial Management and Governance Project (MARISMA) supported the development of GeoNode for the Benguela Current Convention and its member states (Angola, Namibia and South Africa), using the data layers from ACMA as baseline and additional relevant national/regional spatial data.

From 12 to 16 March 2018 MARISMA together with IOC/Africa hosted a GeoNode workshop in Swakopmund, Namibia. The objective of the workshop was to start with the migration of the African Coastal and Marine Atlas to the new GeoNode platform. Greg Reed and Tanya Haddad joined participants from Angola, Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, Madagascar, Namibia, Nigeria and Tunisia to provide training and advice. After installing GeoNode on all laptops, the first two days were spent on training and customizing the look and feel of GeoNode. During the remaining three days participants uploaded and standardized their country and region layers.

The Ecosystem Advisory Committee of the Benguela Current Convention (BCC) has approved the request to host GeoNode by the BCC Secretariat for the member states. In 2019 the data and information of the Current Status Report, compiled by the Namibian MSP National Working Group and MARISMA as well as relevant data and information compiled by the Angolan MSP Working Group will be uploaded and made available online.

Photos: top; Group photo of workshop participants; above; Workshop participants hard at work with Photo credit: Anja Kreiner

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!