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Content archived on 2024-05-24

The Virtual European Coastal and Marine Data Warehouse -CoastBase- An open system architecture for integrated, distributed coastal and marine information search and access


Coastal areas are important for a wide variety of human and natural uses. Authorities need sound information concerning these uses and the interactions between actors developing and implementing policy for integrated coastal zone management. At different policy levels within Europe, the need for tailor-made information, which is essential for sustainable marine and coastal management, has been recognised. The search and access to aggregated and interpreted information is essential, but is costly and time consuming. Mechanisms for accessing information on the European coastal zone are lacking, notably in the area of maintenance of metadata/data links to search and access data, as well as tools for filling information gaps within organisations and for facilitating information sharing. Coastbase will develop an automatically updated electronic system architecture providing multilingual search and access facilities to distributed information sources and a European coastal database "CoastBase", holding European level products as indicators, maps and reports. Different innovative technical modules will be built to convert the content, check on quality, secure user access and aggregate the information. An essential aspect of Coastbase is the design and implementation of a Communication and Feedback mechanism among European authorities. This will automatically provide information sources with details of resulting products coming from their information and allow them to comment on the data handling, enhancing the European involvement of authorities at local up to European level.

To develop a Virtual European Coastal and Marine Data Warehouse, using innovative techniques to improve marine and coastal environmental assessments and policy making, as well as to ensure effective, continuing pan-European co-operation on information flow.

Specific objectives include:
Improve information search and exchange capabilities at different aggregation levels by development of one virtual interface (CoastBase) connecting different information sources.
Establish communication and feedback mechanisms to enhance capacity of local and regional authorities to learn from how other bodies use and apply their data.
Provide authorities, research institutes, universities, private sector and public with easy internet access to CoastBase.
Achieve broad acceptance and Europe-wide participation through user friendliness and a multilingual architecture.
Achieve accessibility that permits interconnectivity of meta-databases and ability to query meta- and real data, while maintaining access control with the information sources.

Work description:
The work involves development of technological architecture, establishment of communication and feedback mechanisms, development of user interfaces for those using and providing aggregated information on the CoastBase Server.
Main elements are information search and access, aggregation and interpretation at European Level. The technical architecture development draws on recent technological developments. Development of a broad supported architecture, involving organisations at all European levels. Realising innovative architecture that provides search facilities (multilingual catalogue, index and geographical) and access to the CoastBase-server and connected information sources. A generic system will be developed to connect and automatically update local metadata and CoastBase metadata into one CDS (Catalogue of Data Sources)-based virtual frame. This allows dynamic querying of real information. Separate modules will be developed that provides automatic feedback of the information source, permitting information custodians to check and recommend improvements to information handling. Through 8 workpackages over a 2-year period, the Consortium will scope Coastbase information needs and functionality; prepare and implement a system design; test and improve the system in co-operation with the end-users; make the system publicly available. CoastBase consists of a working conceptual system architecture linking representative information sources. Europe-wide collaboration is fundamental, information is to be accessed at local, regional and national organisations. The CoastBase-server provides the virtual "door" to information sources through interfaces for querying and displaying results. Information will be accessed either by:
1) Dispersed information sources via metadata and data links;
2) European level aggregated Marine and Coastal in formation from the CoastBase-server itself via an internet accesible Database

A virtual, multilingual, multi-platform, internet-accessible architecture for searching and querying distributed coastal and marine information sources, supporting aggregation, quality control, security, access authorisation and conversions systems.
CoastBase-server holding aggregated European level information.
A virtual unified CoastBase search system for dispersed sources and CoastBase-server.
A feedback module for information custodians to check and comment on information handling of information from local up to European level. CostBase provides a system and related working structure enhancing on several levels European coastal management and information sharing.

Call for proposal

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Participants (10)