Baltic Sea Region Maritime Spatial Planning Data Expert Sub-group

Successful implementation of MSP depends on good quality data and information, as this has already widely acknowledged at the Baltic Sea Region policy and project level. Data quality, accessibility and availability are crucial when considering transboundary context where consistent use of data is an important prerequisite for creating a coherent network of maritime spatial plans.

In order to achieve the goal of the Regional Baltic MSP Roadmap (to draw up and apply maritime spatial plans throughout the Baltic Sea Region by 2020 which are coherent across borders and apply the ecosystem approach), VASAB and HELCOM has established the Baltic Sea Region MSP Data Expert Sub-group (MSP Data Expert sub-group) as a sub-group to the joint HELCOM-VASAB MSP Working Group.

Aim of BSR MSP Data Expert sub-group

The aim of BSR MSP Data Expert sub-group is to support data, information and evidence availability for MSP processes with regard to cross-border / trans-boundary planning issues to ensure comparability of maritime spatial plans in the Baltic Sea Region. The BSR MSP Data Expert sub-group facilitates the work of the HELCOM-VASAB MSP WG, as well as helps with implementation of the Regional Baltic MSP Roadmap 2013-2020.

The Chair of the BSR MSP Data Expert sub-group: Ms. Natalia Zając, Ministry of Infrastructure (Poland).

Documents of the Baltic Sea Region MSP Data Expert Sub-group meetings are available HERE

Terms of Reference for a Baltic Sea Region MSP Data Expert Sub-group (BSR MSP Data ESG)


BSR MSP Data Expert sub-group work

BSR MSP Data Focal points

To facilitate the process of data exchange MSP Data group compiled the list of National Focal Points indicating persons who are the main contacts of national MSP data issues.

These focal points should be considered as a first-stop when looking for MSP data or information with regards to the transboundary coordination and consultations in the BSR. The list is complemented with links to the relevant MSP GIS data services / applications.

National MSP Focal Points

‘Glossary’ of possible sea uses

Countries are different, they have own views of MSP and also specific types of sea uses are applied. In order to support the transboundary consultations and cooperation, BSR MSP Data group has compiled a ‘Glossary’ of most important sea uses from planners’ perspective (“sea use code list”), indicating the possible sea use themes in national languages.

Proposed code list values for the possible sea uses with translation in national languages

Visualization of the MSP in the BSR

In order to provide a general overview of the MSP process in the Baltic Sea Region countries, the BSR MSP Data group has accomplished its first attempt to visualize the status of the maritime spatial plans in the BSR. The visualization is publicly available on the HELCOM Map and Data Service: HERE

Guidelines on transboundary MSP output data structure

The Guidelines on transboundary MSP output data structure (elaborated by the BSR MSP Data Expert subgroup and adopted by the VASAB CPSD/BSR in its 80th meeting on 22-23 January 2019) set out technical requirements (data specification) for the interoperability and harmonization of spatial data sets corresponding to the transboundary/cross-border maritime spatial planning output data (MSP output data).

The Guidelines prescribe how the GIS data, presenting MSP output data, could be structured in convenient and flexible way, so they can be comprehensible to stakeholders from other countries. In this regard the Guidelines aim to ensure the coherence of the maritime spatial plans and data availability across the Baltic Sea region, as well as support transboundary consultations.

The Guidelines indicates next steps that needs to be taken towards a common Baltic MSP web-map where MSP output data of all BSR countries will be displayed in a harmonized way.

Guidelines on transboundary MSP output data structure

First report

The MSP Data group has been working since autumn 2015 and has been supported by Interreg BSR technical assistance project ”Horizontal Action ”Spatial Planning” Support 2” (HASPS 2). In order to document the progress, MSP Data group has prepared a First Report of its work.

The document defines the general structure of MSP data, provides information about currently available data sets which are agreed as most relevant in transboundary cooperation and consultations, identifies the list of data and information gaps and challenges, as well as indicates the further steps and vision of MSP data management in the Baltic Sea Region.

In case you have any comment or suggestion on the MSP Data Expert group outcomes, please, send your feedback to

MSP Data Group First Report

Annexes to the First Report