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National Marine Plan interactive (NMPi)

On-line interactive mapping to support marine planning, by Martyn Cox

Technological advances since terrestrial planning started some 60 plus years ago have raised expectations as to the accessibility of spatial data. In addition European legislation, the 2007 EU Inspire Directive, requires the sharing of environmental spatial information among public sector organisations and better public access. The Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 introduced national and regional marine planning for Scottish waters. To support the development of marine planning, marine data are now available at your PC - or on your tablet if you are on the move.

Marine Scotland has developed National Marine Plan interactive, (or NMPi mobile) a web based GIS using GeoServer and Open Layers software, to provide spatial data and make it readily available to stakeholders. All the data from Scotland’s Marine Atlas, which brought together a wealth of spatial information about Scotland’s seas for the first time, are now available amongst over 400 data layers and links to associated web pages for further information.

Marine Scotland strives to keep marine stakeholders up to date with data as much as possible and is working with its partners, Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Scottish Natural Heritage, Joint Nature Conservation Committee and Marine Alliance for Science and Technology Scotland to add further suitable data to NMPi. New layers are added when available, e.g. the new Marine Protected Area designations announced in July 2014. NMPi can also act as an archive reference, e.g. storing the maps from the 2013 draft NMP in a separate section.

For regional planning, NMPi is being populated with initial data layers provided from the emerging Scottish marine regions. Layers exist so far for the South West, Clyde, North Coast and Orkney Islands, and Shetland Isles regions. Marine Scotland encourages all regions to submit data that would be relevant for marine planning and suitable for public accessibility.

All NMPi users have access to the data, as switchable layers, through a web interface; and links to associated information and the NMPi Web Map Service (WMS) through their own GIS packages (if required). It is free to register which gives the additional functionality of creating pdf maps for printing / e-mailing; developing bespoke data layers and downloading certain data (subject to a licence agreement).

NMPi is an innovative tool to assist Marine Scotland and the emerging marine planning partnerships in the delivery of national and regional marine planning. It will support policy making as use of the seas changes, whether for sustainable economic growth through a variety of human activities or conservation through the designation of marine protected areas. If you would like to discuss NMPi please contact Martyn Cox.

Below is a screen shot to show what is possible – NMPi focussed on Moray Region showing MPAs, SACs and SPAs, existing renewables infrastructure, hydrocarbon fields and international telecommunications cables.

NMPi Moray Firth Screen Shot