Find the best seaside vacation spot
Background & context
People have flocked to the seaside for different activities and relaxation for hundreds of years. Whether you like to fish, swim, dive, sail or just see and hear the waves, the seaside has been a popular place for people to spend their vacations.
The Baltic Sea is a very special place with varying conditions from beach weather in the summer to ice roads in the winter. The area also contains interesting geography like the Archipelago Sea between Åland and Finland which is the largest archipelago of the world by the number of islands.
With such a variety of conditions, it can be difficult to find the best location for a summer house or vacation. But no fear, HELCOM, the Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission, collects and curates a wide number of datasets describing the nature, conditions, and activities on the Baltic Sea.
Key issues or questions to answer/investigate
Identify the best location for a seaside vacation. It’s important to remember that vacationers want different things: some might want clear waters to dive while others want conditions suitable for ice fishing. In contrast, nobody wants to be around oil spills or illegal sewage dumps. Also, the planned vacation activities must themselves follow sustainable and responsible principles regarding the environment.
HELCOM offers a wealth of data you can use. All data can be downloaded via HELCOM’s map service. There is also a REST interface and WMS services. For example:
- Eutrophication (excess amount of nutrients) is the biggest problem for the Baltic Sea. Excess amount of nutrients leads to excess algae growth and increases oxygen consumption in water.
- Shapefile of historical monitoring data until 2016, parameter ”Phosphate” is phosphate concentration which is a nutrient used by algae (higher amount of phosphate can produce a higher amount of algae in water)
- Input of nutrients from 40 biggest rivers: Input of nutrients from rivers display the nutrient loading from the largest rivers to the Baltic
Visibility of water (Oceanographic dataset)
- Visibility of water (measured with white Secchi disk descended to water column) is measured to indicate clarity of water. Less visibility can be induced by clay turbidity, particles or algae.
- Shapefile of historical monitoring data until 2016, parameter ”Secchi” is visibility in meters (higher visibility, more clear water)
Algae (Chlorophyll-a, Oceanographic dataset)
- Chlorophyll concentration is used to describe amount of algae in water
- Shapefile of historical monitoring data until 2016, parameter ”Chlorophyl” (higher chlorophyll a concentration, more algae in water)
Fish and commercial fishing information
- Commercial fisheries landings reflect areas where commercially fished stocks are abundant, e.g. Herring abundance (raster dataset), higher value, higher amount of herring
- Fish reproduction areas reflect areas where key fish species reproduce, e.g. Perch and pikeperch recruitment areas
Biodiversity related datasets
- Eelgrass (Zostera) meadows represent a key biotope for many species and can be considered as interesting spot e.g. in recreational diving
- Marine protected areas represent areas of high natural value
- HELCOM MPAs fact sheets
Data on human activities
- Shipping traffic density describe areas of high-intensity shipping (lanes and fairways) and areas of low shipping activity
- Risk of oil spills. e.g. risk of oil spills from groundings
- Urban land use indicate urban areas on land
- Beach litter: Marine litter can be considered as a problem also in the Baltic Sea. Beach litter (macrolitter, large litter objects) in monitored sites
- Bathing sites: data from EEA from EC Bathing water directive data collection
Other relevant datasets
SYKE (Finnish Environment Institute) offers:
- Inspire services: Protected sites, Land cover, especially national CLC2018 raster, Traffic and Waterway Restriction areas etc.
- Velmu Underwater marine biotopes
- RS Water products
- Open interfaces for environmental data
- Land cover with marshes and coastal wetlands
- Nationally valuable landscape areas
SYKE Open information
You can also combine HELCOM’s data with other sources such as:
- Finnish Meteorological Institute’s historical weather data
- Locations of undersea shipwrecks
- Copernicus Land’s Urban Atlas and Imperviousness
- Natura2000 areas/ EEA
- Datasets of the National Board of Antiquities
- Satellite images:
Other possible stakeholders:
- Metsähallitus Parks and Wildlife Finland
- Naturvårdsverket (Sweden)
- Coastal communities
Desired outcome and presentation
Your challenge, should you accept it, is to build a web application or a spatial analysis or some other visual or interactive method of helping people find where to go for a successful vacation!
Offered benefits for the teams
- All teams that submit a response to the challenge will get a HELCOM gift package for the entire team!
- Change to present the work results in the Inspire Helsinki 2019 event (for the finalist teams).
- Free trip to the 2020 INSPIRE Conference for one person of the winning team.
- Set of professional cloud-based spatial data processing and visualisation tools during the Challenge.
Joni Kaitaranta, Florent Nicolas, Manuel Frias
Watch the webinar
Webinar with more info about this challenge was held on Tue Jul 02 at 07:00 UTC