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Coast to coast

By [email protected] - 23rd April 2015 - 14:18

Hydrography has been included in the ‘framework’ or ‘reference’ data for most national SDI specifications, from the earliest days. However, even this term did not always relate to off-shore hydrography of the sort that is in the remit of national hydrographic offices, which was typically maintained to support safe navigation at sea or in coastal and harbour regions. For years, the frustrating experiences of those charged with integrated coastal zone management (ICZM) highlighted the need for better and easier integration of land-based and at least near-shore marine information than is possible even today. National studies and pan-European programmes focusing on marine spatial planning, marine economic development, biodiversity, marine/coastal environmental monitoring, and related themes of importance and value to society have helped bring greater attention to the needs of coastal and marine stakeholder communities. With more than 40% of the world’s population living within 100km of a coastline, those whose lives could be affected by decisions impacting on coastal and marine development represent a significant portion of humanity!â©

In our GSDI World Conferences, papers and presentations have been appearing for a number of years either directly or indirectly related to coastal and marine SDI issues: for example, in marshland and wetland management, earth observation, remote sensing development, near-shore aquaculture, and disaster management and mitigation. All GSDI conference proceedings are open access and can be found at the conference websites dating back to the very first conference held in Bonn, Germany, in 1996 (seeâ©

Related standardsâ©

Integrating land and sea data was the focus of several papers at the GSDI 13 World Conference in Quebec in 2012, such as ‘Spatially enabled land-marine interface: Towards a seamless platform’ by Sheelan Vaez and GSDI past-president Abbas Rajabifard. David Harper also presented ‘GeoConnections: Canada’s Arctic SDI with Marine Cadastre Initiative’ and Christian Rüh et al presented ‘A framework for evaluation of marine spatial data infrastructures to assist the development of the marine spatial data infrastructure in Germany (MDI-DE)’ that is still very relevant today. In all, five marine SDI papers were presented at the 2012 conference, and we expect far more to appear at the GSDI 15 World Conference to be held in Taiwan, given its extensive coastal realm.â©

We try also to capture relevant published literature in the GIKnet Spatial Documents Depot ( for knowledge development and to aid in capacity building initiatives, such as Marine/Coastal SDI training workshops. GSDI also now participates in the International Hydrographic Organisation’s Marine SDI Working Group (MSDIWG) as an external advisory body and will continue to contribute to the work of the MSDIWG in 2015-2016. We hope that such work will help the different marine communities to understand the challenges of adopting marine information standards that enable development of innovative and interoperable information services to benefit researchers, government agencies, businesses and citizens. An equally important objective is to make the non-marine stakeholder communities and near-coast data holders understand the need for closer harmonisation of metadata, data and services interoperability with the marine community, to benefit all.â©

Roger Longhorn is secretary-general of the GSDI Association, expert contributor to the IHO MSDI WG and former editor of GeoConnexion International

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