In the coastal zone there are many operators whose activities involve the use of coastal data. Many of these operators experience difficulty in obtaining the data they require, often not because it is unavailable but because it is inaccessible, hard to locate, of unknown quality or presented in an inappropriate format. There is also the problem of duplication of effort, and thus costs, due to a lack of mechanism for data exchange. This publication looks at such issues and the current situation in the UK, and suggests policies and mechanisms that can be used to maximize the use and exchange of coastal data. It provides a guide to best practice aimed at improving the management of data by those who operate in the coastal zone. The report is divided into two sections. Part one introduces information and data provision requirements for coastal management and the issues mentioned above, and provides a framework and set of best practice guidelines that can be adopted to maximize data exchange and reuse. Part two is aimed mainly at the data collector or data manager. It details current practice and the factors that restrict better exchange and use of data, analyses technologies for wider data use and better exchange systems, and develops the principles of good data management by discussing what can be achieved now and in the future. The publication also provides an invaluable list of organisations able to provide data, as well as useful Internet sites and list-servers.
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