IMAP Pilot Info System

In the framework of the Programme of Work and Budget for 2018–2019 of UN Environment/MAP (Decision IG.23/14), INFO/RAC is leading the work on the development of the “Info/MAP platform and platform for the implementation of IMAP fully operative and further developed, connected to MAP components' information systems and other relevant regional knowledge platforms, to facilitate access to knowledge for managers and decision-makers, as well as stakeholders and the general public” (output 1.5.1).

The EU funded EcAp-MED II Project is supporting this output by the development of a Pilot IMAP Compatible Data and Information System (IMAP (Pilot) Info System), that would enable the Contracting Parties to start reporting data as of mid-2019 for selected 10 IMAP Common Indicators and laying down the basis for building a fully operational IMAP Info System, by the end of the initial phase of IMAP, as provided for by Decision IG.22/7.

The criteria used for selecting the 10 Common Indicators as part of the IMAP (Pilot) Info System are:

  1. maturity of Common Indicators as of 2017, in terms of monitoring experiences and best practices;
  2. existing data collection and availability representing all IMAP Clusters;
  3. availability of Common Indicators Guidance Factsheets and/or metadata templates.


The draft IMAP (Pilot) Info System is under development by INFO/RAC in close consultations with UN Environment/MAP Components. The IMAP (Pilot) Info System will be able to receive and process data according to the proposed Metadata Templates (Information Standards) and Data Dictionaries (DSs and DDs) that set the basic information on data reporting within IMAP.

The first drafts of Data Standards and Data Dictionaries for the selected IMAP Common Indicators were reviewed on the basis of the feedback of Contracting Parties during the presentation of the draft system in the 20th Ordinary Meeting of the Contracting Parties and the additional comments by the Regional Meeting on IMAP Implementation: Best Practices, Gaps and Common Challenges (IMAP Best Practices Meeting), Rome, Italy, 10-12 July 2018. Later, Data Standards and Data Dictionaries were further updated on close consultations with UN Environment/MAP components during bilateral consultation in the second semester of 2018.

The developed IMAP compatible Pilot Info System is able to collect data according to the proposed Metadata Templates (Information Standards). The metadata templates are Excel spreadsheets in which every column is representing a field to be filled in by the data providers. The data uploaded using the metadata templates (information standards) will be suitable for the inclusion in the database.

Within the metadata templates there are Data Dictionaries excel spreadsheets in which each field is explained to guide the data provider in the filling in of the Metadata Templates (or Standards). Metadata Templates (Standards) and Data Dictionaries are spreadsheets included in the same Excel file, downloadable from the Pilot info system. For each Common Indicator can be provided one or more Metadata Template and Data dictionary, according to the number of modules available.

While the system is operational, it can be only fully effective, only once the Contracting Parties agree on Metadata templates and Data Dictionaries, after which additional work will be needed to align the changes of standards with the system. Final discussion has been and will be stimulated during the upcoming meetings of the Ecosystem approach Correspondence Group on Monitoring (CORMON)

INFO/RAC has developed draft Metadata Templates (Standards) and Data Dictionaries for each of the 10 selected common indicators, covering all three clusters of IMAP (Biodiversity and non indigenous species (NIS), Pollution and Marine Litter, Coast and Hydrography).

The 10 of the 27 IMAP Common Indicators are: 1, 2, 6, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 22, 23 with the recent additional inclusion of Bathing Water Quality (Common Indicator 21).

The first proposal of the Metadata and Data Dictionaries related to the “10 selected IMAP Common Indicators” has been discussed and updated with the respective UN Environment/MAP Components: with MEDPOL for Pollution and Marine Litter, with SPA/RAC for Biodiversity and NIS as well as with PAP/RAC for Hydrography and Coast.

Starting from the middle of 2019, after the conclusion of the EcAp MED II Project, further modules will be discussed and agreed with the thematic MAP Components for each already selected Common Indicator and for the remaining ones in view of the completion of the IMAP 27 Common Indicator set, according to the available resources specifically allocated.

Apart from the 17 remaining Common Indicators, the selected 10 will also go through a process of enlargement and development. INFO/RAC is currently proposing a series of modules for each Common Indicator covering the main monitoring issues and from July 2019 they will be integrated with new modules that are in discussion or in development.

After the approval of the CORMON meeting, the finalized Metadata Templates (Standards) and related Data Dictionaries will be uploaded in the Pilot and the consequent changes to the data base structure will be provided. Once all the parameters and measure units are defined, the correspondent data flow will be activated (by May 2019).

The testing phase of the Pilot will be realized with the voluntary participation of interested countries, who will be invited to start providing data flows for the selected Common Indicators supported by the Pilot Info System (starting from May 2019). After the testing and reflection of its findings, it is expected to have the IMAP (Pilot) Info System fully operational to receive uploaded data for 10 selected IMAP Common Indicators.

CORMON role is to review the structure of the Metadata Templates and information available in the proposed Data Dictionaries, to assure that all the needed elements for the implementation of the IMAP Common Indicators are in place and they are aligned with IMAP Factsheets.

In the Metadata Templates the mandatory data are represented in black and the NON mandatory ones in red. The possibility to fill in also NON mandatory fields is given to allow Countries that already have monitoring systems collecting a wider kind of data to report also the additional ones.

In this light, Countries are kindly asked to propose additional NOT mandatory fields to add to the Metadata Templates if they have complementary information that can improve the set of data available for each Common Indicator.

As stated by the CORMON Biodiversity and Fisheries (Marseille 12-13 February 2019) Monitoring protocols should guide data standards development that is carried out in parallel with discussions on the agreed common methodologies. Information systems are a major tool to collect and transfer data. Given that the development of indicators, monitoring methods and data standards are progressing in parallel, close and continuous dialogue and collaboration are needed among the bodies responsible for these developments to ensure their proper alignment and coherence.

The Meeting, on request of INFO/RAC, requested the Secretariat to ask the Contracting Parties, through their SPA/BD Focal Points in coordination with INFO/RAC Focal Points, to designate qualified experts that could actively contribute in defining biodiversity and non-indigenous species data standards for the IMAP Pilot Info-System. A on-line network of expert working in close cooperation with INFO/RAC, would be an asset also for the finalization of DSs and DDs for the cluster Pollution & Marine Litter and Coast & Hydrography.

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published on 2019/04/12 10:33:00 GMT+0 last modified 2019-05-11T10:52:40+00:00