Work Programme for Setting Standards

Action 2 of the MESH Project concentrated on the production of the MESH Guide to Habitat Mapping in order to help standardise future habitat mapping initiatives. The work programme followed is set out below.
 

2.1 Review current mapping standards and protocols

Review current mapping standards and protocols, leading to an expert workshop, gathering mapping specialists from Europe and internationally (e.g. from ICES), to review the capabilities and performance of existing techniques and technologies. The workshop will identify which parts of the integrated mapping process currently have adequate standards and where substantial effort is required on specific techniques or mapping strategies. It will prioritise areas where further development of standards and protocols is required.
 

2.2 Standards and protocols for intertidal and shallow subtidal (optical) mapping techniques (optical and acoustic)

Formulate a strategy for surveying over different spatial scales.
Establish standards and protocols for relevant remote sensing techniques (satellite & aerial sensing and imagery)
Determine minimum requirements for ground-truthing the remote sensing techniques (e.g. by intertidal and diver surveys).
Establish standards and protocols for the ground-truthing techniques which may themselves be valid mapping techniques at the smaller spatial scale.
Develop guidelines for data management.
 

2.3 Standards and protocols for deepersub-tidal (acoustic) mapping techniques (acoustic, optical and sediment/faunal sampling techniques relevant to deeper waters)

Formulate a strategy for surveying over different spatial scales.
Establish standards and protocols for relevant remote sensing techniques (acoustic imagery and sensing)
Determine minimum requirements for ground-truthing the remote sensing techniques (e.g. by video and faunal and floral sampling).
Establish standards and protocols for the ground-truthing techniques, which may themselves be valid mapping techniques at the smaller spatial scale.
Develop guidelines for data management.
 

2.4 Standardised interpretation of habitat mapping data

Define procedures for the analysis of:
Remote-sensed optical data (including LiDAR, satellite, aerial data) (Ifremer)
Remote-sensed acoustic data (including old and new side-scan data (BGS), AGDS (Envision), multibeam (Marine Institute))
Video data (DARD)
Benthic sample data (CEFAS)
Development will need reanalysis of certain datasets to derive consistency in resultant habitat types.
 

2.5 Synergies, intercompatibility and inter-calibration of techniques

Determine compatibilities between remote sensing techniques that can detect the same habitat type (e.g. seagrass beds sensed by both aerial photography and sonar). Establish standards and protocols for inter-calibrating such techniques to provide a complementary approach to interpretation and ground-truthing.
Identify synergies and cross-correlation between mapping techniques, enhancing their scope and utility for marine habitat mapping.
 

2.6 Update habitat classification schemes

Update the EUNIS classification based on its practical application within the NWE area, taking particular account of the habitat classes identified from remote sensing techniques.
 

2.7 Confidence rating for habitat data

Develop an approach to rating the accuracy and precision of the maps, hopefully allowing an assessment of the confidence with which an end-user can make decisions based on the map's information
 

2.8 Data exchange formats

For each sensing/sampling technique, to establish a standardised format that will be used when exchanging (or archiving) data.
 

2.9 Presentation techniques for habitat mapping

Develop standardised techniques for presenting habitat data in Geographic Information Systems, appropriate to a range of scales.
 

2.10 Guidance framework for habitat mapping

Compile the 'concrete results/outcomes' of the actions detailed above and augment these with further guidance and explanation to provide a guidance framework for habitat mapping, including mapping strategies (balances between techniques, cost, aims, habitat type and complexity, and area to be covered to result in final mapping strategy).
This may include a resource package of utilities (software, decision trees, pro-formas, data sets etc) to encourage and facilitate adoption of the recommended standards and protocols.
 
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