The Development of Coastal Information Systems: The Role of Networks in Bringing Spatial Analysis into Planning and Management

Part of the Coastal Systems and Continental Margins book series (CSCM, volume 13)


Developers and users of GIS face many challenges in producing successful IT tools. This chapter focuses on the domain of applied technology, and the issue of how to successfully transfer information to users in the coastal zone, where there are complex marine and terrestrial jurisdictions and responsibilities. The worldwide increase in the volume of spatial and environmental data has led governments and organisations to consider the approach of information management. The chapter reports the findings of research in the UK, which has detailed problems such as: “information overload”; commercial, political and environmental sensitivity of data, lack of information policy or good data handling practices; and the difficulties and failures in establishing distributed, inter-organisational information systems.

The solutions presented include metadata, interoperability, harmonisation (standards), semantic webs, information policy, information mapping and partnerships. The chapter concludes by focusing at the regional level, and describes the experience Severn Estuary Partnership, UK, in establishing a GIS Forum to bring together technicians, users and owners of GIS data within a network, and building on this, to work together to provide a framework, to resolve the current lack of co-ordination and harmonisation of GIS data to aid spatial planning on the Severn Estuary. The chapter also presents research findings about the information flows and data transfers between coastal stakeholders involved in coastal partnerships around the UK. Improved understanding of these issues will aid IT developers and coastal planners and managers in maintaining networks of relationships that enable them to have a good understanding of the coast and to support their decision-making.


 Information systems   Integrated coastal management   Metadata  Coastal networks Information transfer 



The Author wishes to acknowledge Mr Steve Knowles and Mr Alun Rogers (Severn Estuary Partnership) and Alex Midlen (Essex Estuaries Initiative) for providing information and comment on GIS development.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Marine and Coastal Environment Research Group, School of Earth and Ocean SciencesCardiff UniversityCardiffUK

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