Facilitating land-sea interface through seamless SDI
Based on the issues and challenges demonstrated in the above figure and having said that, the development of a framework such as a seamless SDI would aim to aid in facilitating decision making in order to respond to these complexities a number of institutional, technical and policy issues would need to be overcome in order to facilitate the management of land sea interface.
The coastal zone is difficult to manage due to the fact that it is governed by a complex array of legislative and institutional arrangements from local to global scales. A coastal state may be a party to many international conventions (i.e. RAMSAR, MARPOL, and London Convention) in addition to developing its own national, and even state or local regulations. Activities and resources are usually managed in a sectoral and ad-hoc approach with legislations or policies created when the need arises and specific to only one area of interest (Strain et al. 2004). Furthermore, there is currently some confusion about the management of the land-sea interface, an example being in Australia where local governments manage land to High Water Mark (HWM), and state governments manage the marine environment from the Low Water Mark (LWM). This means that there are no overlapping arrangements in place to enable efficient coastal zone management. There is also a strip of land between the two boundaries which is not within a management jurisdiction at all (Binns & Williamson 2003).
There are also a large number of stakeholders with rights, interests, or responsibilities for management in the coastal zone. Binns (2004) states that there is often little cooperation or collaboration between these groups responsible for managing the same area offshore. To add to the complexity these rights and interests can often be overlapping and sometimes conflicting or competing for space.
In any jurisdictions groups typically collect and maintain data to support their own specific disciplines or programs, with little or no consideration given to collecting, processing or managing data for use by other users. As such, available data are often inadequate for clear, rational decision making which is both environmentally and economically sound (Gillespie et al. 2000). The result is that organisations working in the same country or in the same discipline collect similar data in different ways, engage in much duplication of effort, suffer from insufficient or inappropriate standards, or are insufficiently aware of methods that should be used, or of the availability of existing data.
Results of a GIS pilot study undertaken on Port Philip Bay, Victoria summarised coastal management issues as consisting of: overlapping coastal interests; data gaps between terrestrial and marine environments; resolution differences and scale variations in coastal demarcation, spatial relationship between conflicting interests over the coastal zone; and representation inconsistencies due to data errors (Loton, 2006).SDI must be based on ‘interoperability’ (seamless databases and systems). International standards organisations are addressing the development of standards for both land-based and marine-based spatial data and technologies. S-57 (Special Publication No. 57) cartographic standard developed and maintained by the International Hydrographic Organisation (IHO) International Hydrographic Bureau (IHB) in Monaco (IHO 1996).