Extensive High-Resolution Baltic Sea Habitat Mapping


The EU Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC) and Marine Strategy Framework Directive (2008/56/EC) require evaluation of seafloor sediments and habitats every three to six years. Until now this has been a challenging task, especially for shallow areas of the Baltic Sea along the coast of Schleswig-Holstein, where access by ship is difficult and surveys have been limited to local mapping from inflatable boats or by divers. These methods are highly time-consuming and expensive and only possible under certain weather conditions. An assessment of the entire shallow water area of the Schleswig-Holstein coast by these means would take six years – longer than the interval between scheduled surveys. The same applies for the transition between the intertidal and sublittoral zones of the North Sea.

In 2017 EOMAP was 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 Space Agency’s Sentinel-2 mission. Based on EOMAP’s algorithms for data pre-processing and physical inversion of the water column and seafloor reflectance, the entire area of the Schleswig-Holstein coast, approximately 1000 km2, has been mapped.

So far, this is the only very-high resolution dataset of the whole 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