Catalogue of Coastal Information Sources
This is the first attempt by JNCC to produce a complete
catalogue of coastal habitat datasets in the UK. The objective
was to obtain details of as many datasets as possible, regardless
of their format or geographical scale. Coverage is restricted
to the five main coastal habitats: sand dunes, vegetated shingle,
maritime cliffs and slopes, saltmarsh and machair, with the
greatest effort directed to saltmarsh and sand dunes. Datasets
covering predominantly unvegetated coastal habitats such as
intertidal mudflats/sandflats, or rocky shores dominated by
seaweeds are not included. The catalogue therefore
includes resources ranging from paper maps/reports to fully
The catalogue has been compiled over a nine month period from
April to December 2005 by JNCC’s Habitats Advisers, principally Dr
Susan Watt. The main starting point for this catalogue was an
inventory of Coastal Datasets produced by English Nature (now known
as Natural England). This was supplemented by information supplied
by other Country Agencies and also the Environment Agency. We also
obtained details from the list of coastal datasets produced for the
UK Coastal and Marine Resource Atlas (CMRA). Some of the CMRA
datasets are available via Defra’s “Magic
” website . Another objective
of the coastal pilot was to bring together as many of the
electronic data sources as possible, primarily from the Country
Agencies. On receipt of these datasets, an appropriate entry in the
catalogue was made (if not already present), and details in the
catalogue were updated to reflect the actual content of the data
rather than the assumed content.
The resultant Coastal Datasets Catalogue contains over 350
entries and is available to download as an Excel spreadsheet.
Please note that you will need to contact the data
provider if you would like to obtain access to these datasets or
require further details.
The catalogue records the following details for each data
Catalogue Fields (High Level)
The 5 main coastal habitats sand dunes, shingle, cliffs,
saltmarsh and machair. Where possible, information on the
specific habitats included in the survey or dataset was
This refers to the habitat classification scheme used, where
known. Choices are NVC, Annex I, BAP priority, IHS or other.
The site or area the survey/dataset covers
Does the data refer to extent, condition or is it a repeated
survey (does it show change)
Start and end dates for the survey, if known.
The type of data, where known, e.g. plant community data,
spatial data, paper map.
Location details of dataset
Does JNCC hold a copy, other location of the resource.
A detailed listing of the fields, with explanatory notes, is
found in the spreadsheet itself (in the sheet called “explanation
of column headings”).
The Catalogue is not complete in terms of the amount of detail
that is available for a given dataset, for example we do not know
if 70% of the saltmarsh surveys listed have digital spatial
data or not.
The Catalogue can be searched using filters in each column, so
for example we could search for NVC sand dune surveys in England
after 1980. Some summary information is included in the
spreadsheets. This can be found in the sheets
- Summary tables for sand dunes
- Summary tables for salt marsh
We have also attempted to estimate the spatial extent of each
of the catalogue entries in terms of 10 km squares. From this we
can produce various maps of Great Britain, showing the distribution
of catalogue entries in a certain category, e.g. all sand dune
surveys since 2000.
The spreadsheet includes an easy to use facility enablling
users to generate 10km square distribution maps based on their own
chosen parameters. Click on the sheet called “maps” and follow the
instructions. The data used for generating these maps is shown
directly below the map and can easily be imported into a GIS if
We have collected a series of illustrative maps into
a power point presentation presented in a format that
facilitates comparison between maps. Some interpretitive commentry
is shown besides each of the maps. This document is bundled in with
the excel data catalogue which can be downloaded from this
The Catalogue therefore will have diverse uses, and it
attempts to fill a fundamental gap in coastal data management that
becomes more significant with increased need for efficient access
to information, for example reporting on Favourable Conservation Status
Feedback and updating process.
As has been previously mentioned, we are aware that this
catalogue is not complete. If you are aware of a scheme that has
not been included, or are able to fill in some of the missing
information for an entry on the spreadsheet, please
contact the Surveillance team at JNCC.
Although we will be able to respond to feedback from users of
the catalogue, JNCC is unlikely to be able to keep track of all
future information sources for coastal habitats. We do not
currently have any plans to, for example, update this catalogue on
an annual basis.
It is more likely that JNCC will focus on tracking a subset of
the schemes and information sources that contribute to our
knowledge of coastal habitats and how they are changing. We
might therefore concentrate on schemes that cover a large
geographical area and/or schemes that are set up to detect change.
This is likely to be much wider than coastal habitats and cover all
types of terrestrial habitats and species surveillance schemes.
This is part of the implementation of a UK Strategy for
Surveillance, Research and Reporting.