Extensive High-Resolution Baltic Sea Habitat Mapping


The EU Water Framework Directive (Directive 2000/60/EC) and Marine Strategy Framework Directive (Directive 2008/56/EC) require evaluation of seafloor sediments and habitats every three to six years. So far, this has been a challenging task, especially for shallow water areas of the Baltic Sea, which are hardly accessible by boat. Thus, activities have been limited to local mapping surveys by zodiac or divers in the past. As a matter of fact, these methods are highly time-consuming and expensive and only possible under certain weather conditions. An assessment of the entire shallow water areas of the Schleswig-Holstein coast would take more time than the six years in between two scheduled surveys. Same applies for the eulittoral to sublittoral zone transition of the North Sea.

In 2017, EOMAP has been contracted by the State Office for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (LLUR) of Schleswig-Holstein to map the shallow water areas based on satellite data. Recent and historical very-high resolution data has been used as well as up-to-date imagery taken by the European Sentinel-2 mission. Based on EOMAP’s algorithms for data pre-processing and physical inversion of the water column and seafloor reflectance, an entire area of approx. 1000 sq km of the Schleswig-Holstein coast have been mapped.

So far, this is the only area-wide, very-high resolution dataset of the area. It serves as a starting point for successive, specific on-site surveys and as a planning guide for environmental impact assessments.



State Office for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (LLUR) of Schleswig-Holstein

Project Type

Habitat Mapping


Habitat Mapping, Baltic Sea, EU Water Framework Directive, EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive