Glossary version August 2011
For references, see PDF file.




People from wider society, non-governmental organisations, user groups, regulatory agencies, corporate interests, etc who interact with each other in governance processes

Antagonistic institution

An institution that is an obstacle to or poses challenges to the achievement of a particular goal/objective.

Arc Marine

Arc Marine is a geo-database model tailored specifically for the marine GIS community.



A numerical value that gives a measure of the performance of a computer product in a specific test.

Benefit Transfer (BT)

BT refers to the use of valuation evidence from completed studies at other locations to derive a value for a new location.

Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)

CBD, established in 1992, is the most comprehensive and significant international instrument addressing the threats to marine and coastal biodiversity, and protecting, understanding and using marine resources sustainably.


"… Member States shall … determine, for the marine waters, a set of characteristics for good environmental status, on the basis of the qualitative descriptors listed …".

Choice Modelling (CM)

CM is an valuation tool that relies on the identification of attributes or characteristics that people value in the environment. Choices are then constructed with different levels of these attributes associated with different monetary values.




Contingent Valuation (CV)

The basic principle behind CV is a questionnaire survey that asks a sample of the population what their Willingness to Pay is for the provision of an environmental good or service.

Cost of Illness / Human Capital

This is a dose response method which is specifically linked to human health or mortality.


"distinctive technical features that are closely linked to qualitative descriptors".

Criteria and methodological standards

“to ensure consistency and to allow for comparison between marine regions or subregions of the extent to which good environmental status is being achieved.”

Data integration

Data integration involves combining data residing in different sources and providing users with a unified view of these data.

Data quality

Indications of the degree to which data satisfies stated or implied needs. This includes information about lineage, completeness, currency, logical consistency and accuracy of the data.


Qualitative descriptors for determining good environmental status : 1) Biological diversity, 2) Non-indigenous species, 3) Commercial fish, 4) Foodwebs, 5) Eutrophication, 6) Sea floor integrity, 7) Hydrography, 8) Contaminants, 9) Contaminants in food, 10) Marine litter, 11) Energy including noise.

Digital terrain model (DTM)

a method of transforming elevation data into a contoured surface of a 3D display.


Particular SMA institutions  that actively discourage people from choosing to behave in a manner that provides for certain policy outcomes, particularly conflict management & ecosystem restoration, to be fulfilled through collective actions.

EcoQOs (Ecological Quality Objectives)

“can take the form of targets (values where there is a commitment to attain them), limits (values where there is a commitment to avoid breaching them) or indicators (values which highlight a change in the ecosystem and can trigger research to explain what is happening).”

Ecosystem approach

A strategy for the integrated management of land, water and living resources that promotes conservation and sustainable use in an equitable way.

Ecosystem approach to management

The Ecosystem Approach to Marine Management involves an integrated management of human activities based on knowledge of ecosystem dynamics to achieve sustainability of ecosystem goods and services and maintenance of ecosystem integrity.

Ecosystem Based Management

Ecosystem based management is an environmental management approach that recognizes the full array of interactions within an ecosystem, including humans, rather than considering single issues, species, or ecosystem services in isolation.

Ecosystem Based Marine Spatial Management

Ecosystem based marine spatial management (EB-MSM) is an approach that recognizes the full array of interactions within an ecosystem, including humans, rather than considering single issues, species, or ecosystem services in isolation.

Ecosystem Valuation


End user committee

A committee consisting of a representative range of stakeholders.

environmental target

"a qualitative or quantitative statement on the desired condition of the different components of, and pressures and impacts on, marine waters in respect of each marine region or subregion."


A feature is an abstraction of a real world phenomenon. A geographic feature is a feature associated with a location relative to the Earth.


The Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) is a distributed system of systems built on current international cooperation efforts among existing Earth observing and data management systems.


Geographic Information System (GIS)

A geographic information system (GIS) is a computer-based tool for mapping and analyzing things that exist and events that happen on earth. GIS technology integrates common database operations such as query and statistical analysis with the unique visualization and geographic analysis benefits offered by maps.

GIS Web Service

GIS Web services are a constantly emerging technology that allows many divers Web based applications to interact in order to exchange geospatial data and GIS software.


Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) is a joint initiative of the European Commission and European Space Agency, which aims at achieving an autonomous and operational Earth observation capacity.


Geography Markup Language (GML) is an XML grammar for expressing geographical features. GML serves as a modeling language for geographic systems as well as an open interchange format for geographic transactions on the Internet.


Purpose, aim, or the anticipated result which guides action.

Good environmental status

"the environmental status of marine waters where these provide ecologically diverse and dynamic oceans and seas which are clean, healthy and productive within their intrinsic conditions, and the use of the marine environment is at a level that is sustainable, thus safeguarding the potential for uses and activities by current and future generations."


The involvement of a wide range of institutions and actors in the production of policy outcomes….. involving coordination through networks and partnerships.


Steering human behaviour through combinations of people, state and market incentives in order to achieve strategic objectives.



Governance approach

A style of governing involving a particular combination of incentives, and/or a particular allocation of authority and responsibilities between different actors, eg communities, governments and business corporations.

Governance analysis

Qualitative research to explore different perspectives amongst different stakeholders on the validity, legitimacy and effectiveness of different governance approaches for achieving strategic objectives through MSP in the context of specific case studies, employing a standard set of themes.



Progress in relation to operational objectives will be measured using indicators and associated reference points and directions. An indicator is a measure, or a collection of measures, that describes the condition of an ecosystem or one of its critical components; in socio-economic objectives, indicators can be a desired outcome, f.ex. the amount of kilowatt produced by a wind park.


Particular SMA institutions that are instrumentally designed to encourage people to choose to behave in a manner that provides for certain policy outcomes, particularly conflict management & ecosystem restoration, to be fulfilled.


Infrastructure for Spatial Information in Europe.

INSPIRE Directive

The INSPIRE directive aims to create a European Union (EU) spatial data infrastructure. This will enable the sharing of environmental spatial information among public sector organisations and better facilitate public access to spatial information across Europe.


a geoportal provide the means to search for spatial data sets and spatial data services, and subject to access restrictions, view and download spatial data sets from the EU Member States within the framework of the Infrastructure for Spatial Information in the European Community (INSPIRE) Directive.


Very broad term covering a wide range of agreements, interactions, etc, which remain relatively stable or predictable over a certain period of time, including: Mutually agreed modes of cooperative  behaviour (norms), Interactions through markets: local – distant,  Government policies and programmes and Legal instruments and related obligations.


the ability of two or more autonomous, heterogeneous, distributed digital entities (e.g. system, applications, procedures, registries, services or data set) to communicate and interact or be used together despite their differences in language, context, format or content. These entities should be able to interact with one another in meaningful ways without special effort by the user, the data producer or consumer, be it human or machine.

ISO 19115

ISO 19115 "Geographic Information – Metadata" is a standard of the International Organization for Standardization. It defines the schema required for describing geographic information and services. It provides information about the identification, the extent, the quality, the spatial and temporal schema, spatial reference, and distribution of digital geographic data.

ISO 19139

ISO-19139 “Geographic information - Metadata - XML schema implementation” is a standard of the International Organization for Standardization. It provides a XML implementation of ISO-19115 metadata standard.

ISO 19119

ISO 19119 “Service” is a standard of the International Organization for Standardization. It identifies and defines of the architecture patterns for service interfaces used for geographic information and definition of the relationships to the Open Environment mode, presents a geographic services taxonomy and a list of example geographic services placed in the services taxonomy. It also prescribes how to create a platform-neutral service specification, how to derive conformant platform-specific service specifications, and provides guidelines for the selection and specification of geographic services from both platform-neutral and platform-specific perspectives.


A logical separation of mapped data usually representing a theme, such as roads, political boundaries, etc. Layers are all registered to one another by means of a common coordinate system.

Limit reference points

“the limit beyond which the state of a fishery and/or a resource is not considered desirable”

Marine protected area (MPA)

Any area of the intertidal or subtidal terrain, together with its overlying water and associated flora, fauna, historical and cultural features, which has been reserved by law or other effective means to protect part or all of the enclosed environment.

Marine spatial planning (MSP)

Marine spatial planning (MSP) is a public process of analyzing and allocating the spatial and temporal distribution of human activities in marine areas to achieve ecological, economic, and social objectives that are usually specified through a political process.

Management measures


Metadata is structured information that describes, explains, locates, or otherwise makes it easier to retrieve, use, or manage an information resource. Metadata is often called data about data or information about information.



The Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) is a high level document and requires further development and specification (‘operationalisation’) before it can be applied to specific regions.

Ocean zoning (OZ)

An important set of regulatory measures to implement comprehensive marine spatial management plans usually through a zoning map or maps and regulations for some or all areas of a marine region. Ocean zoning is an effective tool of MSP.


The Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc.® (OGC) is a non-profit, international, voluntary consensus standards organization that is leading the development of standards for geospatial and location based services.


Web Map Service (WMS) is a standard protocol for serving geo-referenced map images over the Internet that are generated by a map server using data from a GIS database.


Web Feature Service (WFS) is a interface standard provides an interface allowing requests for geographical features across the web using platform-independent calls.


Web Coverage Service (WCS) defines the interfaces for accessing multi-dimensional geospatial. WCS Supports the networked interchange of geospatial data as "coverages" containing values or properties of geographic locations.


Catalog Service for Web (CSW) is an interface standard that supports the ability to publish and search collections of descriptive information (metadata) about geospatial data, services and related resources. Providers of resources use catalogues to register metadata that conform to the provider's choice of an information model; such models include descriptions of spatial references and thematic information. Client applications can then search for geospatial data and services in very efficient ways.


The OpenGIS® Web Processing Service (WPS) Interface Standard provides rules for standardizing how inputs and outputs (requests and responses) for geospatial processing services, such as polygon overlay.


An ontology is an explicit specification of a conceptualization.

Operational objective

a short-term goal, defining a clear, often measurable, outcome of a process (SMART objectives).


A Web site that provides a view into a universe of content and activity through a variety of links to other sites, communication and collaboration tools, and special features geared toward the community served by the portal.

Production function

The production function refers to the impact that a change in the ecosystem has on the value of produced goods.


Human pressures exerted by human activities.

Protected area

A clearly defined geographical space, recognized, dedicated and managed, through legal or other effective means, to achieve the long-term conservation of nature with associated ecosystem services and cultural values.


A set of semantic and syntactic rules that determine the behavior of entities that interact.


A RBMP consists of a general description of the river basin district, a summary of all significant pressures and anthropogenic impacts, mapping of the protected areas, maps of the monitoring networks for the water bodies, including protected areas, a list of environmental objectives for the water use, a summary of all measures and programs of measures adopted, a list of the competent authorities, and a summary of public information and consultations measures.

Replacement cost

Replacement cost and variants such as relocation cost (sometimes called shadow project) are based on the concept that the cost of replacement of a damaged environment is somehow a measure of the value of that environment.

Revealed preference techniques

Revealed preference techniques are valuation tools which examine existing behaviour.


Stakeholders relevant to the MESMA project are divided into the following categories:

Stakeholder (operational)

Operational stakeholders: groups whose core activities and economic performance is closely related to exploiting or using marine resources or marine areas, ie engaged in or related to fishing, mariculture, marine renewables, aggregates, oil/gas, etc industries;

Stakeholder (indirect)

Indirect stakeholders: members of the public who passively interact, eg through aesthetic appreciation, with the marine area in question or have an indirect stake in it (hold existence values, bequest values, etc);

Stakeholder (policy)

Policy stakeholders: responsible authorities or bodies who have to put forward the legal framework and policies related to strategic objectives for marine areas, eg national governments, EC, international bodies;

Stakeholder (regulatory)

Regulatory stakeholders: bodies or agencies that manage marine or coastal areas, eg management bodies of MPAs, fisheries regulatory and enforcement authorities;

Stakeholder (science & advocacy)

Science & advocacy stakeholders: engaged in research and/or advocacy, eg environmental NGOs, universities.


SeaDataNet is an infrastructure, which interconnects the National Oceanographic Data Centers and marine data focal points from 35 countries around European seas.

Sea use management

Sea use management promotes sustainable development (based on achieving a balance of environmental, socio and economic objectives), uses a strategic, integrated and forward-looking framework, applies an ecosystem-approach to management, identifies and safeguards important components of marine ecosystems and uses MSP to minimise conflicts on the use of space.

Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI)

- SDI is a framework of spatial data, metadata, users and tools that are interactively connected in order to use spatial data in an efficient and flexible way.

 - SDI is a framework of policies, institutional arrangements, technologies, data and people which enables the sharing and effective usage of geographic information.

Spatially managed areas/SMA

Areas where a marine spatial planning framework is in place or is being developed in order to conserve structure, function and processes of the constituent marine ecosystems through the management of the cumulative pressures of different sectoral activities inside or outside the area concerned, and including the threats posed by climate change and geohazards.

Stated preference techniques

Stated preference techniques directly ask the opinion of stakeholders.

Synergistic institution

An institution that is conducive to or supportive of the achievement of a particular goal/objective.

Target reference points

a quantitative limit to aim for.


TEV consists of the sum of all market values (e.g. fish catch) and non market values (e.g aesthetic value) in a particular environment.

Thematic map

a type of map or chart especially designed to show a particular theme connected with a specific geographic area.

Travel Cost Method

The TCM is based on the assumption that people will be willing to incur travel costs in order to experience environmental quality.


UNCLOS is a comprehensive regime of law and order for the world's oceans and seas, governing all uses of the oceans and their resources.


use-values where activity takes place in the marine environment (e.g. recreation) and non-use values where values are experienced passively (e.g. existence value).

Web-based GIS or WebGIS

Web-based GIS (Web-based geographic information system or simply WebGIS) is a distributed geographic information system across a computer network to integrate, disseminate and communicate geographic data visually on the Web. Web-based GIS refers to use of Internet technologies to distribute and delivery geospatial information in a variety of forms, including maps, images, datasets, spatial analysis operations and reports.

Web mapping

Web mapping is the process of designing, implementing, generating and delivering maps on the Web.

Web Service

A software system designed to support interoperable machine-to-machine interaction over a network. It has an interface described in a machine-processable format (specifically Web Services Description Language WSDL). Other systems interact with the web service in a manner prescribed by its description using SOAP messages, typically conveyed using HTTP with an XML serialization in conjunction with other web-related standards.

Web Standards

General term for standards and technologies used on the web, or more specifically standards for best practice in developing websites.

Water Framework Directive (WFD)

Water Framework Directive (WFD) entered into force in December 2000. The WFD is a legislative framework that rationalises and updates existing water legislation by setting common EU wide objectives for water (inland surface waters, transitional waters, coastal waters and groundwater) and introduces an integrated and coordinated approach to water management in Europe.


Extensible Markup Language (XML) is a W3C-recommended general-purpose markup used for describing many different kinds of data.