Environment Systems and Decisions

, Volume 34, Issue 1, pp 138-149

First online:

Design of a standardized geo-database for risk monitoring of potentially polluting marine sites

  • Giuseppe MasettiAffiliated withCenter for Coastal and Ocean Mapping Email author 
  • , Brian CalderAffiliated withCenter for Coastal and Ocean Mapping

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An increasing availability of geospatial marine data provides an opportunity for hydrographic agencies to contribute to the identification of potentially polluting marine sites (PPMS). This new acronym has been created not only to refer to shipwrecks of modern vessels, but also for other types of marine sites such as dumping areas, pipelines, etc. Independent of the specific type, a PPMS represents a potential source of pollution for the marine environment. Although several type-specific databases are available worldwide (from local to global scale), there is an evident lack of uniformity (e.g., different aims of data collection). A common approach description of these sites at local single-site level may permit aggregation for multi-scale decisions, e.g., for remediation and incident response. To adequately manage these sites, a standardized PPMS geospatial database (GeoDB) application has been designed to collect relevant information suitable for site inventory and geo-spatial analysis. In particular, benefits in structuring the data in conformance with the Universal Hydrographic Data Model (IHO S-100) and encoding using the Geographic Markup Language (GML) are presented. A possible practical storage solution is proposed using a GML-enabled spatial relational database management system. Finally, a Web GIS deployment is illustrated, being the simplest way to communicate to the public the collected information, with the related possibility of using the data as a Web Map Service in almost any GIS, allowing for better development and integration with other available datasets. The adoption of the PPMS GeoDB product specification as part of the IHO S-100 series would represent an innovative and important contribution from the hydrographic community to reduce, or at least better manage, environmental and economic risks related to PPMSs.


Risk monitoring Spatial standard Marine environment Shipwreck Marine hazards Pollution