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Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI)

An SDI is a coordinated series of agreements on technology, standards and specifications, policies, human resources and related activities, necessary to acquire, process, distribute, use, maintain, and preserve spatial data on a local, regional, national and international level. (Kuhn, 2005 (updated))

There are many SDI initiatives and concepts around the world, but because INSPIRE is an important driver in the creation of a National SDI and Marine SDI (also abbreviated as MSDI), we will focus on this European SDI concept.

Further information about global SDI initiatives can be found here: GSDI


The motivation for the development of a SDI are numerous, for instance

  • make standardised geospatial data easier, faster and everywhere available for the user,
  • improve the service for the customer and develop an increasing customer base due to the availability of the spatial data,
  • provide a better political and economic decision making and situational awareness,
  • offer customer-driven data (models) and
  • increase the level of automation on the application side.

Elements of a SDI

SDI is a framework covering the following five key elements:

Figure 2: Elements of a SDI


The INSPIRE (Infrastructure for Spatial Information in Europe) directive of the European Parliament and of the Council sets the legal frames for establishment and actions of the Spatial Data Information infrastructure in Europe.
The common principles of INSPIRE are:

  1. Data should be collected once and maintained at the level where this can be done most effectively.
  2. It must be possible to combine seamlessly spatial data from different sources across the EU and share it between many users and applications.
  3. It must be possible for spatial data collected at one level of government to be shared between all levels of government.
  4. Spatial data needed for good governance should be available on conditions that are not restricting its extensive use.
  5. It should be easy to discover which spatial data is available, to evaluate its fitness for purpose and to know which conditions apply for its use.

Further information about the INSPIRE directive can be found here: European Commission > INSPIRE

Standards and Specifications

"Standardisation makes an SDI work through the hierarchy. Standards touch every activity. Standards include specifications, formal standards, and documented practices" (Nebert, 2013).

Figure 3: Example for a SDI Hierarchy

Standards define technical data management in order to allow interoperability of data and services. For example, it is important to use the ISO 19115 (Standard for geographic information metadata) to ensure interoperability between SDI, GIS, Remote Sensing and other processing systems and services.

There are two developer and publisher of geospatial standards. One is the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) with the TC211 (Technical committee covering the areas of digital geographic information and geomatics), the other one is the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC).

The OGC and ISO/TC211 were established almost simultaneously in the early 1990s. ISO/TC 211 work is closely related to the efforts of the OGC. ISO/TC 211 have numerous liaisons with other organizations e.g. Defence Geospatial Information Working Group (DGIWG) and International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) that often results in identical or nearly identical standards often being adopted by both organizations.

Examples for international spatial standards:

  • ISO: e.g. Metadata 19115, XML Schema Implementation 19139
  • OGC: e.g. SFS , KML, SLD
  • W3C: e.g. HTML, XML, SOAP, WSDL
  • INSPIRE: Data Specifications based on ISO 19100 series:
    • Data Specification on Elevation (EL)
    • Data Specification on Hydrography (HY)
    • Data Specification on Oceanographic Geographical Features (OF)
    • Data Specification on Sea Regions (SR)
    • Data Specification on Transport Networks (TN)
    • More Data Specifications see under Data
  • IHO: S-100 framework based on ISO 19100 series with the product specification:
    • S-101: ENC Product Specification (Draft)
    • S-102: Bathymetric Surface Product Specification (Published)
    • S-104: Tidal Information for Surface Navigation (Under Development)
    • S-111: Surface Currents (Working Draft)
    • S-112: Dynamic Water Level Data (Working Draf)
    • S-124: Navigational Warnings (Under Development)
    • Further S-100 based Product Specifications can be found here.

Further information about Standardisation can be found here ISO/TC211, and here OGC.

Metadata and Data


The INSPIRE directive defines metadata as information describing spatial data sets and spatial data services and making it possible to discover, inventory and use them.
The ISO Standards for geospatial metadata are:

  • ISO 19115 and ISO 19139 (XML representation of ISO 19115)
    Mandatory metadata elements:
    • Metadata on metadata
    • Identification
    • Classification of spatial data and services
    • Keyword
    • Geographical location
    • Temporal reference
    • Quality & Validity
    • Conformity
    • Constraints related to access and use
    • Responsible party
  • ISO 19119 describes metadata for geospatial services. This services couples metadata and spatial data together. (see Technology)

Further information about the INSPIRE metadata can be found here: European Commission > INSPIRE > Metadata

Metadata Profile

ISO 19115 is an international standard, and defines almost 400 metadata elements, with most of these listed as "optional". This means, that the standard is often specified for regional or national use or for specific purposes (e.g. bathymetry). This is called profiling and the result is called “community profile”. A profile is a subset of a standard and/or addition or detailing of it.

Figure 4: Metadata Profile

Further details on the metadata profile can be found at Case study 2: BDM/IS Metadata Profile.

Spatial Data and 'Water' Themes

The INSPIRE Directive addresses 34 spatial data themes needed for environmental applications. These themes are subdivided in the three annexes of the directive.

A data theme (also data specifications or data product specification) is a detailed technical description which defines a geospatial data product and is based on the concept of the ISO 19131 standard. This standard specifies requirements for the specification of geographic data products, based upon the concepts of other ISO 19100 International Standards. It describes all features, attributes and relationships of a given application and their mapping to a dataset. It also includes general information for data identification, data content, structure, reference system, data quality aspects, data capture, maintenance, delivery and metadata.

Further information about data product specifications can be found here: ISO 19131

Although INSPIRE has a focus on supporting the implementation and evaluation of European environmental policies, reflected in many of the themes, INSPIRE takes a wide view on the necessary data.

Starting with reference data themes (e.g. addresses or cadastral parcels) to environmental themes (e.g. soil or species distribution), it also covers data themes with objects that may have an impact on the environment (e.g.production and industrial facilities) and that may be impacted (e.g. human health and safety or population distribution).

  • Annex I Themes:
    • Coordinate reference systems
    • Geographical grid systems
    • Geographical names
    • Administrative units
    • Addresses
    • Cadastral parcels
    • Transport networks (TN)
    • Hydrography (HY)
    • Protected sites
  • Annex II Themes:
    • Elevation (EL)
    • Land cover
    • Orthoimagery
    • Geology
  • Annex III Themes:
    • Statistical units
    • Buildings
    • Soil
    • Land use
    • Human health and safety
    • Utility and governmental services
    • Environmental monitoring Facilities
    • Production and industrial facilities
    • Agricultural and aquaculture facilities
    • Population distribution and demography
    • Area management/restriction/regulation zones & reporting units
    • Natural risk zones
    • Atmospheric conditions
    • Meteorological geographical features
    • Oceanographic geographical features (OF)
    • Sea regions (SR)
    • Bio-geographical regions
    • Habitats and biotopes
    • Species distribution
    • Energy resources
    • Mineral resources

(Themes especially important for a Marine SDI are written in italic, according to C. Rüh, R. Bill)

Three of the data themes are dealing directly with 'water' spatial objects (highlighted in orange), the other themes are themes with a relationship to marine and maritime data.

Figure 5: Relationship between INSIRE data themes with a reference to marine and maritime data

1) INSPIRE themes that have identified O&M as integrally relevant for their thematic domain and are includeing elements of the O&M into their data specification.
2) INSPIRE themes that have been identified to which observation information is relevant, but not at the core of the data specification.

Generally spoken should data themes not be considered in isolation from other INSPIRE themes.

Sea Regions (SR), one of the INSPIRE 'water' themes, is a 2D geometry of an area that is covered by an ocean, sea or similar salt water body and is defined as marine areas or lines of common physical and/or chemical characteristics.

The other INSPIRE 'water' theme is the Oceanographic Geographical Features (OF or Ocean Feature) theme. An ocean feature describes the physical and chemical characteristics of a sea region, known as 'SeaArea' in the SR-model.

The Hydrography (HY) theme describes geographically all inland surface waters (e.g. lakes and rivers) and coastal seas (coastal and transitional waters) that should be considered as defined in the European Water Framework Directive (WDF).

Further information about the INSPIRE data themes can be found here: European Commission > INSPIRE > Data Specifications


The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) proposed in the geospatial domain an architecture for sharing of geographic data and functionality over the internet.

This architecture is based on a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) because SOA is designed to implement a key feature of an SDI, the interoperability and supports thereby the sharing of data and functionality over the internet by Web services.

The OGC OpenGIS Web Services (OWS) are based on the ISO 19100 series and include following services and standards listed by categories:

Category Service/Standard
Discovery Catalogue Service (Metadata-WS)
View/Access Web Map Service (WMS, SLD, WMTS)
Download Web Feature Service (WFS, WCS)
Processing/Transformation Web Processing Service (WPS)
Real-time sensor data and sensor data time series Sensor Observation Service (SOS)
Exchange Geography Markup Language (GML)

The basic hard- and software components of a SDI architecture are shown in figure 5. They consist of:

  • Software client to display, query, and analyse spatial data (browser, desktop GIS)
  • Catalogue services for discovering, browsing, and querying the resources
  • Spatial data services allowing the delivery of data via Internet
  • Processing services such as datum and projection transformations
  • Data repository for storing the data, e. g. in a spatial database
  • Client or desktop GIS software to create and update spatial data

Figure 6: A possible SDI architecture

An important technical issue in a SDI is the coupling of Metadata and Spatial Data via Services.

To realize this use cases of the publish-find-bind pattern in SDIs, metadata on resources are accessible through catalogue services providing search interfaces on metadata documents describing datasets, dataset series or services;

Resources are described by metadata following the model defined in ISO 19115/19119 (Geographic information - Metadata/Geographic information - Services) and made available for search and retrieval through an OGC Catalog Service for the Web (CSW) compliant interfaces. Results are then returned in XML encoding as defined in ISO 19139 (Geographic information - Metadata - XML schema implementation).

Figure 7 shows the functionality of the publish-find-bind pattern:

A Service Provider register his web-based services to a registry and publish (publish) the associated metadata in a Service Broker, e.g. a Metadatainformationssystem from a geoportal.
A Service Consumer is now able to discover (find) specific services via a CSW service (Catalogue Service for the Web) to use (bind) it with e.g. a Web Map Service.

Figure 7: How the publish-find-bind pattern works

One possible coupling is based on the service metadata element 'operatesOn' and the data metadata element 'MD_Identifier/Code' which match a URL/identifier in the View Service (WMS) Capabilities. In the Capabilities document of the View Service the 'MetadataURL' refers directly to the spatial data resource in the different layers.


A local, regional, national or global working SDI requires governance by coordinating public bodies and willingness for cooperation by the participating producers and providers of data and services.

More over, according to IHO, it is important to get to know SDI, how to develop and deliver it, know the standards of data and metadata, have knowledge of the required Information and Communication Technology (ICT) services, database design and GIS software, and to do team work in line with the SDI goals.

Public and private sector are in general the main sectors affected and the focus is often on environment information. SDI key stakeholders are related to government, industry, tourism, resources, transportation, science and the general public.

Model-Driven Engineering

The ISO 19100 series of geographic standards is using the Model-Driven Engineering (MDE) approach for the creation and use of geospatial standards and specifications.

The MDE is a technology developed by the Object Management Group (OMG) for the conceptual modelling of complex features in order to implement future applications.

A model is an description of a real world phenomenon. But any description of the reality is always an abstraction, always partial, and always just one of many possible views. (ISO TC 211 2005a)

This possibilities of descriptions lead to a multiplication of information related to the same geographic/spatial location. In short, the three approches that lead to a multiplication of geographic data are:

  • multiple-thematic viewes
  • multiple-temporal representations
  • multiple-scale (resolution) representations

According to the MDE terminology, a system is represented by a model. A meta-model however gives a standard formal specification for a set of features shared by several models. It defines the model components and provides users with a guideline and types to build their own models. These models must confirm to their meta-models.

Figure 1 illustrates the four-layer meta-model architecture from the Object Management Group (OMG) on which the ISO 19100 concepts is based on. In general, it provides a meta-meta model at the top layer, called the M3 Level. This meta-meta-model is the basis for meta-model definitions. The Meta-Object Facility (MOF) is used to define object-oriented meta-models (as UML for example) as well as non-object-oriented meta-models (e.g. Web Service meta-model). The M2 Level represents these Meta-models and describes the elements of the M1 Level. It conforms to the Level M3 meta-meta-model. These M2-models describe elements of the M1 Level user-model. The last level is the Level M0. It is used to describe real-world objects that are modelled by the M1-Level.

In short: A model at one layer is used to specify models in the layer below.

Applied to the IHO S-100 framework, this means:
The General Feature Model (GFM) from Part 3 (ISO 19109) conforms to the MOF (M3 Level) of the OMG and is the meta-model (M2 Level) for an application model ‘Sector Light’ (M1 Level). The GFM (M2 Level) describes the elements of the application model (M1 Level) and the application model describes the real world object sector light (M0 Level).

ISO 19100 is using the UML notation for all elements in the series and for the meta-models.

Figure 1: ISO 19100 standards integration into the MDE concept

Further information about the Object Management Group and UML can be found here: OMG > UML.

Benefits of standardisation with ISO 19100

In the following, the most important benefits of standardisation with the ISO 19100 series of geographic information standards will be explained:

  • Reduction in development costs and time for the provider by a high level of automation and for the consumer (user) by using standardised interfaces
  • Improving the quality through standardised specifications
  • Increasing productivity and efficiency by improved processes and communications
  • Facilitate the interchangeability of data products and services
  • Ensuring the discoverability and availability of geoinformation in distributed computing environments
  • Separation of data and their implementation
  • Separation of data and their associated metadata
  • Achieving data interoperability for the production of added value products
    • National and international
    • Within a domain, but also in interdisciplinary contexts
  • Central administration of daten models and documentations
  • Automatic generation of the logical and physical schemes
  • Precise requirements for tenders
  • Common language for all participants due to interdisciplinary defined "vocabulary"


Interoperability of metadata, spatial data and services is one of the core concepts and crucial element of INSPIRE, S-100 and SDI in general, but also a main challenge in providing usable spatial data infrastructures to local, national and international stakeholder communities to deal with cross-border issues, ranging from water management to spatial planning, land use, nature conservation and navigation.

In accordance with INSPIRE interoperability means the possibility for spatial dataset to be combined, and for services to interact, without repetitive manual intervention, in such a way that the result is coherent and the added value of the datasets and services is enhanced.

To overcome the heterogeneity of data structures and systems, there are two ways:

Transformation of spatial data
Data will be transformed by specific software to produce a standardised presentation of the data. The transformation can be performed online via web-based services and offline via a download service. In the offline method an interoperable data set is generated and stored.
In both cases the original data with their semantics and structure are preserved to fulfil the original user requirements for which they have been created.

Harmonisation of spatial data
According to the INSPIRE definition data harmonisation is:

The process of developing a common set of data product specifications in a way that allows the provision of access to spatial data through spatial data services in a representation that allows for combining it with other harmonised data in a coherent way.

The process of harmonisation adjusts the semantics and structure of the metadata and data and removes the remaining inconsistencies that cannot be solved by available technology. Both interoperability arrangements and harmonisation requires a wide-ranging standardisation of the data and services.

Standards in the geospatial domain are mainly national and international organised. The Technical Committee (TC) 211 of the ISO and the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) define the basis for the creation of coherent geospatial data and information across domains. For general information about standardisation and the relationship between S-100, and other spatial data, see chapter Standards and Specifications.

The figure below shows the main components to realise cross-sector data interoperability.

Figure 8: The main components of data interoperability

Further information about interoperability and how to integrate multi-sourced spatial data can be found here: Data Integration

SDI in a Marine Environment

A Marine Spatial Data Infrastructure (Marine SDI or MSDI) is a component of a national SDI that encompasses information about marine and coastal areas and their use in its broadest sense.

A Marine SDI will help us to work across disciplines and industries to solve the most complex problems we face to day. The British non-profit organization International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO) points out some of these problems in their 'State of the Ocean Report', published in 2013.

Among other things the following observations and tendencies are described:

  • Increased temperatures in the ocean have been detected down to depths of 3000m.
  • Since 1978, summer sea-ice in the Arctic has decreased by over 7% per decade.
  • Carbon dioxide absorption has reduced pH levels in the ocean, increasing its acidity.
  • 75% of the global fish stocks are fully exploited, over-exploited or depleted.
  • Iconic marine species such as sharks and corals are disappearing from the ocean.
  • Ocean 'dead zones' are spreading.

The full report can be found here: IPSO State of the Ocean Report 2013 (PDF: 7414 KB)

The following list shows some activities where marine and maritime data can be useful:

  • Protecting the marine environment against pollution
  • Analysing the oceans and climate change
  • Managing, conserving and developing natural resources
  • Advancing geographic science
  • Planning for and managing emergencies (tsunamis, hurricanes, flooding, any coastal situation)
  • Supporting humanitarian missions
  • Managing maritime transportation
  • Maritime defence and supporting national security

Further information about the "The Marine Dimension" of a SDI can be found here: IHO > Standards & Publications > C-17

Marine SDI Themes

Possible Marine Spatial Data Infrastructure Themes (Fowler, Smith and Stein 2011):

  • Jurisdictional bounderies (e.g. exclusive economic zone (EEZ))
  • Federal georegulations (e.g. coastal management, environment protection)
  • Navigation and infrastructure (e.g. navigation aids, AIS)
  • Human use (e.g. fisheries management, alternative energy development)
  • Marine habitat and biodiversity (e.g. life in the sea and coastal areas)
  • Geology and seafloor (e.g. bathymetry, geophysics as core data)

The Marine SDI Themes are mostly based on hydrographic data, where bathymetric data as a core dataset are probably the most important foundational data for any activity at sea and specially in the coastal areas. But also the Water Column Data, where we can see what is in the water column, Sound Velocity Profiles for oceanographic purposes such as thermocline behaviour and Tides that in combination with other values such as Currents can be used to determine ocean dynamics and coastal erosion and accretion are important data sources.


Beside the lack of required data and marine policy, the missing standardisation and harmonisation of the data is one of the major obstacles to establish a Marine SDI. The International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) overcome among other things this obstacle with the development of the ISO based S-100 framework.

In January 2010 the IHO introduced the Universal Hydrographic Data Model (UHDM) also known as S-100.

The purpose of S-100 is to provide framework architecture for the exchange of hydrographic data, related maritime data and geospatial data from other domains through a repeatable data specification development methodology and through general provisions regarding the data specification process.

S-100 is based on the ISO 19100 series of geographic standards and therefore it makes the S-100 fully compatible with contemporary geospatial data standards (e.g. INSPIRE in the EU, NSDI in the USA, Geoconnections in Canada). This standardisation takes account of the fact of increasing amount of data and the desire for greater integration both of hydrographic and topographic data, but also maritime and marine data.

The figure below illustrates the relationship between IHO S-100 and other GIS data.

Figure 9: Relationship between S-100 and other GIS data

S-100 is by definition not limited to hydrographic data or hydrographic applications such as Marine Limits and Boundaries, (e.g. UNCLOS boundaries) Marine Cadastre/Spatial Planning, Fisheries Management, etc.. Currently, however the IHO S-100 based-standards serve primarily as a basis for the development of future navigation products such as the new Electronic Nautical Chart (ENC) and for the information and communication infrastructures of the e-Navigation (enhanced Navigation) concept.

To fill this gap between navigational and non-navigational marine applications, we can use the 'Water' themes from the INSPIRE directive which are described in general in point Metadata and Data > Data.

The basis of data modelling within the S-100 framework is the on-line registry 'IHO S-100 Geospatial Information Registry'. The main purpose of the registry is to share feature classes between IHO standards and non-IHO standards to avoid conflicts between the product specifications

The on-line registry is one of eleven parts, of which the IHO S-100 standard consists. The following table gives an overview over the parts of S-100 and the associated ISO 19100 standard.

S-100 Part and Title Description
Part 1 - Conceptual Schema Language Provides rules and guidelines for the use of a conceptual schema language. The chosen conceptual schema language is the Unified Modeling Language (UML) (ISO 19103:2005).
Part 2 - Management of IHO Geospatial Information Registers A registry provides the infrastructure for establish, maintain and publish registers of geographic information elements, like geographic features, their attributes, and relationships between these features together with the associated matadata and spatial elements including the complex relationship between multiple registers. Registers allow for the management of diversity (ISO 19135:2005).
Part 2a - Feature Concept Dictionary Registers Specifies a schema for feature concept dictionaries to be established and managed as registers (ISO 19135:2005, ISO/DIS 19126:2009).
Part 3 - General Feature Model and Rules for Application Schema The General Feature Model (GFM) is a meta-model for feature catalogues (ISO 19110:2005), include the definition and description of feature types, attributes, associations and operations (ISO 19109:2005).
Part 4a - Metadata Metadata are data about data and are used to describe spatial data or information. They provides information about the identification, the extent, the quality, the spatial and temporal aspects, the content, the spatial reference, the portrayal, distribution, and other properties of digital geographic data and services (ISO 19115:2005).
ISO 19139 provides the XML implementation schema for ISO 19115.
Part 4b - Metadata for Imagery and Gridded Data Extends the existing geographic metadata standard by defining the schema required for describing imagery and gridded data. It provides information about the properties of the measuring equipment used to acquire the data, the geometry of the measuring process employed by the equipment, and the production process used to digitize the raw data.(ISO 19115:2005)
Part 4c - Metadata – Data Quality Describes the principles how to describe the quality (e.g. Completeness, topological consistency, positional accuracy, temporal consistency, thematic accuracy) of geographic data. It defines components for describing data quality, it specifies components and content structure of a register for data quality measures, it describes general procedures for evaluating the quality of geographic data and it establishes principles for reporting data quality (ISO 19113, ISO 19114, ISO 19138 replaced by ISO 19157:2013).
Part 5 - Feature Catalogue A feature catalogue held the definition and classification of feature object types ISO 19110:2005).
Part 6 - Coordinate Reference Systems Describes the minimum data required to define one-, two- and three-dimensional spatial coordinate reference systems with an extension to merged spatial-temporal reference systems (ISO 19111:2007).
Part 7 - Spatial Schema Specifies conceptual schemas for describing the spatial characteristics of geographic features, and a set of spatial operations consistent with these schemas. It treats vector geometry and topology up to three dimensions. It defines standard spatial operations for use in access, query, management, processing, and data exchange of geographic information for spatial (geometric and topological) objects of up to three topological dimensions embedded in coordinate spaces of up to three axes (ISO 19107:2003).
Part 8 - Imagery and Gridded Data Defines the framework for imagery, gridded and coverage data. This framework defines a content model for the content type imagery and for other specific content types that can be represented as coverage data. These content models are represented as a set of generic UML patterns for application schemas (ISO 19123:2007, ISO 19129:2009).
Part 9 - Portrayal Specifies the portrayal model for defining and organizing symbols and portrayal rules necessary to portray S-100 product features.
Part 10 - Encoding Formats S-100 does not mandate particular encoding formats so it is left to developers of product specifications to decide on suitable encoding standards and to document their chosen format. Encoding standards are:
  • ISO/IEC 8211: Encoding standard currently used to encode S-57 ENC data
  • GML: Geographic Mark-up Language
  • XML: Extensible Mark-up Language
  • GeoTIFF: Extension of the TIFF specification to allow the storage of geo-referencing information.
  • HDF-5: Hierarchical Data Format version 5
  • JPEG2000: Joint Photographic Experts Group - Commonly used method for the compression of photographic images.
Part 10a - ISO/IEC 8211 Encoding Schema Specifies the structure and physical constructs required for the implementation of exchange data sets (ISO/IEC 8211:1994).
Part 11 - Product Specifications Description of all the features, attributes and relationships of a given application and their mapping to a dataset (ISO 19131:2008).
Part 12 - Maintenance Procedures This part specifies procedures to be followed in maintaining and publishing the various parts of S-100.

Further information about S-100 can be found on IHOs website: IHO > ENCs, ECDIS & S-100 > S-100 and the IHO Registry

IHO S-100 and ISO 19152

The current main theme of the IHO S-100 Universal Hydrographic Data Model (UHDM) is safety at sea. However the S-100 UHDM also allows the representation of other aspects of the marine environment. The theme behind of those aspects (such as marine cadastre and maritime limits and boundaries) is legal rights.

The Land Domain Administrative Model (LADM) standardised in the ISO 19152 establishes a structure for handling legal Rights, Responsibilities and Restrictions (RRR) for individuals, groups or other parties.

To address the requirements of non-navigational information in a marine environment, the extension of IHO S-100, especially the S-121 Marine Limits and Boundaries with the LADM is straight forward and a good solution.

Although the title of the ISO 19152 standard says "Land Domain Administrative Model" the scope of the standard explicitly addresses the water: "... including those over water and land, and elements above and below the surface of the earth ...".

Since LADM and IHO S-100 are both built on the ISO 19100, the elements are compatible and can be inherited into IHO standards.

Beside the legal aspect is the IntrinsicNature attribute aN important innovation in the marine data domain. The attribute IntrinsicNature establishes context independence by separating of all objects into the categories Location (point), Limit (curve/line) and Zone (surface/area). This can be extended to Space (volume) in three dimensional which will be applicability for a Marine Cadastre.

Further information about the LADM can be found here: ISO/TC 211 > ISO 19152

Marine Applications

One possibility to structure Marine Applications is the subdividing in navigational and non-navigational marine applications.

Navigational applications and concepts are described elsewhere. Non-navigational applications becomes more and more the focus of innovated developers because of the great potential of harmonised marine data to create new values and intelligence products to support the public service, environment protection and much more.

The figure 10 shows some marine applications together with the core standards on which the applications will be based.

Figure 10: Marine applications together with the core standards

Find below some examples to underline the universal character of the marine and maritime data and the benefits for science, industry and society.

  • Coastal Zone Management - involving managing coastal areas to balance environmental, economic, human health, and human activities;
  • Multipurpose Marine Cadastre - providing authoritative data to meet the needs of the offshore energy and marine planning authorities;
  • Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning - process of analysing and allocating the spatial and temporal distribution of human activities in marine areas. MSP combines different sectors for example fisheries, transportation, energy, recreation and conservation to reduce conflicts across sectors, balance development and conservation interests, increase management effectiveness and efficiency, and address the additional effects of multiple human use of the same marine space;
  • Advanced Fish Habitat Mapping - a useful tool for spatial measurements in the management of fishery resources;
  • Emergency Planning – for the case of, e.g. fire or explosion, medical incidents, natural disasters, business interruptions and the coordination of different activities between maritime authorities (e.g. lifeguards, coastguards, harbour patrol, similar other marine authorities);
  • Marine Limits and Boundaries/Ocean Jurisdictional Mapping – in relation to legal aspects of the marine sphere;

Harmonizing Land and Sea Data

The land-sea interface is one of the most complex areas to manage in the world, because it consists of both the marine and terrestrial environments. A Marine SDI is of particular importance in connection with harmonizing and integrating land and sea data to overcome the technical part of the complexity.

The following list outlines some of the current institutional, policy and technical marine/coastal issues:

  • Institutional:
    • Spatial datasets are collected and managed by different organisations
    • Limited knowledge of marine and coastal environment, boundaries and their associated rights, restrictions and responsibilities
  • Policy:
    • Complex, fragmented regulating framework for marine and coastal management
    • Lack of agreed framework of standards, policies and coordination mechanisms
  • Technical:
    • Differences in scale, quality , coverage and format of spatial data as well as the lack of or poor quality of the associated metadata
    • Different data formats, coordinate reference systems (CRS) and consistency in data
    • Difficulties in achieving the same level of completeness, currency and reliability as terrestrial data
    • Lack of interoperability of different datasets
    • Different technology and tools to capture spatial data in marine and coastal environment

Some of the above-mentioned issues are close to being resolved (see IHO S-100 framework), but there is still work to be done, especially in the institutional area.

Further information about this issue can be found here: Blast Project

Case studies and documents

Document: IHO S-100 Framework "The Essence" v0.6

The IHO S-100 Framework "The Essence" document was written within the scope of the EU project 'EfficienSea2' and provides an overview of the S-100 Edition 2.0.0 framework of the International Hydrographic Organisation (IHO).

IHO S-100 Framework "The Essence" v0.6 (Draft) (PDF: 1055 KB)

Case study 2: BDM/IS ISO 19115 Metadata Profile

The BDM/IS ISO 19115 Metadata Profile has been developed in accordance with the relevant rules of ISO. The BDM/IS Metadata Profile is a subset of the international standard and includes all ISO 19115 core metadata elements and supplementary elements, codelists and vocabularies to describe the bathymetric resources.

Metadata Profile BDMIS 3.1.0 v0.1 (Draft) (PDF: 1367 KB)

Case study 1: BDM/IS as a Part of a SDI

The intensive use of the marine and coastal areas and associated complex questions requires an interdisciplinary analysis of all available marine and coastal data.

The provision of data requires a common infrastructure with standardised rules. This rules offers the INSPIRE directive.

An important component for a Marine-SDI is the BDM/IS which provides bathymetric data as core data with the associated metadata via standardised interfaces.

Architecture Overview, with SDI Components (PDF: 306 KB)

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