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!

ICAN - Best Practice Guide to Engage your Coastal Web Atlas User Community

ICAN have compiled this best practice user interaction guide because successful interactions with potential Coastal Web Atlas (CWA) users during the development of any CWA are as vital for the success of the resource as the continued interaction with existing audiences to ensure longevity and continued use. This hand book is conceived as a practical “cookbook” and was compiled by gathering information from ten atlas developers as well as extracting relevant information from ICAN workshop reports. The information has been summarised and analysed leading to two sets of recommendations, one focused on the development of new atlases and the other focused on how to maintain interactions with audiences of already developed atlases. We hope that the handbook will allow both new and established CWA developers and hosts to benefit from best practice examples as well as learn from experienced challenges, in order to increase capacity to successfully interact with user communities and target audiences, while managing coastal and marine data and information in a user friendly way. The final product is a resource that hopes to complement and link to a variety of OceanTeacher activities, support IODE training in courses, thereby being of value to all who manage and present marine data and information.

Now available as IOC Manuals and Guides No. 75:

ICAN 6 in Beautiful British Columbia

Ned Dwyer & Kathrin Kopke

The 6th ICAN workshop, entitled Expanding Participation in Coastal Web Atlas Development and Use was hosted by the University of Victoria, Canada on 16-17 June 2013.

Participants in ICAN 6

Dr. Rosaline Canessa and her team in the Department of Geography welcomed over 30 ICAN workshop participants to the beautiful UVic campus, offering traditional British Columbia hospitality during our stay. It was great to meet friends and colleagues who have been contributing to ICAN for a number of years and it was extremely encouraging to see new faces and make new connections over the two days.

In addition to establishing formally the IODE ICAN Project Steering Group and developing and consolidating elements of the work plan for 2013 to 2015, the workshop was conducted under a number of thematic sessions. 

  • Coastal Atlas Training Needs and Opportunities
  • Building Synergies with IOC projects & related Initiatives \
  • Atlas Stories and Progress in expanding the network (focus on Eastern Pacific)
  • Adding your Atlas to the International Web Atlas Portal
  • Data Integration Platforms (including volunteered geographical information)

In the vibrant discussion that took place in the formal sessions as well as in some of Victoria’s many restaurants and bars; it became clear that the skills and expertise of ICAN members are of great relevance in the development of coastal information systems. Taking advantage of such capacity and knowledge to not only progress ICAN objectives but also assist other relevant IOC initiatives including the Integrated Coastal Area Management programme and reaching out to activities outside of IOC such as those of the Coastal Zone Community of Practice of GEO have emerged as ICAN priorities in the coming months and years. The participation of  Hans-Peter Plag of CZCP resulted in an invitation for ICAN to participate in the next meeting of the CZCP that was held in College Park, Maryland on 27-28 August 2013.

All the workshop presentations can be found at  and a full workshop report will be published later in 2013.

Para nuestras Costas

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!