Frequently Asked Questions

General instructions for using the Interactive Map can be found here.
Information provided through the Interactive Map
Symbols and display of the Interactive Map
Technical issues with the Interactive Map

Information provided through the Interactive Map

What does offshore mean?

Offshore is a legal definition to describe all of the UK's waters between 12 and 200 nautical miles and the seabed of the UK Continental Shelf. It is within this area of UK waters that JNCC has the responsibility to provide advice to Government on nature conservation. A more detailed definition of the UK offshore area is provided here.


Why is there more information on the offshore sites than the inshore sites?
JNCC are responsible for providing advice on nature conservation in UK offshore waters. This includes making recommendations to Government on where MPAs in UK offshore waters should be located. Therefore we have information that we have used to underpin our site recommendations and the documentation supporting the recommendations is available to view. For sites in inshore waters the four country conservation agencies (Countryside Council for Wales, Natural England, Northern Ireland Environment Agency and Scottish Natural Heritage) hold this information. However, in our UK co-ordination role, JNCC have some information on all of the European sites (SACs and SPAs) throughout the UK and this is displayed.


Why are not all SACs and SPAs that appear by the coast displayed?

The Interactive Map displays only SACs and SPAs with marine components. ‘SACs with a marine component’ are defined on the basis of presence of Habitats Directive Annex I and/or Annex II interest features associated with the marine environment.  ‘SPAs with a marine component’ are those SPAs with qualifying Birds Directive Annex I species or regularly occurring migratory species that are dependent on the marine environment for all or part of their lifecycle, where these species are found in association with intertidal or subtidal habitats. Further information on SACs and SPAs with marine components is available.


Why are OSPAR MPAs displayed as a seperate category when all OSPAR MPAs are underpinned by another type of designation?

All OSPAR MPAs are underpinned by another designation such as an SAC or SPA. However, not all of the sites have been classified as OSPAR MPAs as they have to be put forward by the country conservation agencies after being assessed against the OSPAR guidelines.Therefore the OSPAR MPAs are displayed as a separate layer to allow users to see which sites have so far been recommended to OSPAR to be included in the OSPAR MPA network.


Why are the OSPAR area calculations for some sites different to the SAC area figures?

OSPAR MPAs can only include marine areas i.e. those areas below Highest Astronomical Tide (HAT), whereas the SACs with marine components can be sites that have both marine and terrestrial features. Therefore, before the SACs with marine components are sent to OSPAR to be included within the list of OSPAR MPAs the shapefile is clipped to HAT and the new areas calculated for just the marine area of the site. This can lead to differences in the area calculations for the OSPAR MPAs and the SACs.


Back to top


Symbols and display of the Interactive Map

Why do the boundaries of the inshore Marine Protected Areas not match up exactly with the coastline?

The inshore site boundaries have been delineated using Ordnance Survey coastline data, which are only available under licence. The Bing background mapping uses different coastline data and therefore the two coastlines do not match up in all locations.


What do the different symbols mean in the layers I am viewing?

If you click on the “Key” tab then you will see a key that outlines what all of the different symbols in the map relate to.


When I add layers from other portals what do the sliding bars that are displayed beside the layer do?

When you add layers from other portals the sliding bars allow you to change the transparency of the layer.


How can I display layers from the Interactive Map on my desktop GIS application or a web mapping portal that I manage?

All the layers are available through an Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) Web Map Service (WMS). More information on how to do this is available on the Help page. Many of the layers can also be downloaded by clicking on the green arrow symbol (Download GIS layer icon), if a green arrow does not appear next to the layer then it is not available for download.


Back to top


Technical issues with using the Interactive Map

Why does the Interactive Map run slowly on my computer?

The time it takes for layers to load on your computer will depend on the speed of the internet connection. Apart from this, the Interactive Map works better on some internet browsers than others. For example, some issues have been encountered with Internet Explorer version 7, while earlier versions have not been tested. We recommend using the most up-to-date version of Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer or Safari.


Why can I not see the full extent of the layers when I zoom to the full extent (full extent)?

The extents of the layers were configured using a particular screen resolution. If your screen resolution is lower than this or if your browser window is not maximised, you may need to zoom out to view the full extent.

When I put some of the layers on I then can't switch them off, why is this?
If layers are clicked on and off too quickly in succession, sometimes the Interactive Map ‘freezes’ with the layers turned on. To rectify the situation you will need to refresh the page (press F5).
Why can't I query point layers?

If you are using Internet Explorer 7 or earlier, this may be due to a bug that causes the right click map query to retrieve information from a position 10 pixels to the left of the mouse click. If this is the case, try using a more recent version of Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome or Safari.


Why can't I type place names into the "Search" function?

The Search function can only be used to move swiftly to a specific Marine Protected Area. To zoom to other locations within the map you will need to use the zoom in and zoom out tools.


Back to top



If you have any further questions that are not answered by either this page or our help page then please .
| JNCC - Adviser to Government on Nature Conservation | Site Map | Search | Legal | Feedback | List Access Keys |