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Natural England and MEDIN, Challenges and Achievements. Ian Saunders Lead Adviser, Geographic Information and Analysis Services Team. About Natural England. Statutory advisor on the natural environment. Independent Non-Departmental Public Body (NDPB).

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Natural England and MEDIN, Challenges and Achievements


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    1. Natural England and MEDIN, Challenges and Achievements Ian Saunders Lead Adviser, Geographic Information and Analysis Services Team

    2. About Natural England • Statutory advisor on the natural environment. • Independent Non-Departmental Public Body (NDPB). • Purpose: “to ensure that the natural environment is conserved, enhanced and managed for the benefit of current and future generations, thereby contributing to sustainable development”. • Marine remit for England’s territorial waters (out to 12nm). • ~2000 staff of which ~120 engaged in marine work. • Members of UK Marine Monitoring Assessment Strategy.

    3. Overview to Natural England’s Marine Programme • Advice to Industries & Regulators: Ports, Marinas, Shipping, Aggregates, Fisheries, Energy (inc. renewable, oil and gas), Biodiversity, Seascapes. • Management advice for existing MPAs: (SACs, SPAs, SSSIs) • Proposals for new SACs and SPAs • Marine & Coastal Access Act: • Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs), • Marine spatial planning, • Inshore Fisheries Conservation Authorities • Monitoring: MPAs and habitats & species across wider marine environment.

    4. MEDIN and Natural England – the history When Natural England was created in 2006 there was a shift in the ways of working, IT systems, office locations and work programmes from English Nature The increase in workload on the maritime staff being generated from casework and protected site identification meant that understanding and archiving data within Natural England fell by the wayside Knowledge of using programmes such as MapInfo, Marine Recorder and the importance of filing was lost or fell off the bottom of peoples to do lists At the same time MEDIN were evolving but without the knowledge or understanding of data and metadata Natural England were unable to engage fully with MEDIN

    5. Natural England – the problems • Dispersed office locations, teams stretched across 10+ offices • Regional and national marine teams • Each office location had its own hard and electronic storage facilities, some bigger than others • At the time there was no established cataloguing or archiving procedure set up so staff put data and reports in local storage • As offices were closed and staff moved on the knowledge of what was stored where was lost • There was an awareness of MEDIN and the DACs in Natural England but the knowledge and engagement were not

    6. Natural England – the solutions • AUDIT • It was clear that as offices were closing that data needed to be properly archived internally as well as externally • To make the task achievable we used a modified MESH metadata template, this is not MEDIN metadata compliant however • At the time guidance wasn’t available from MEDIN as to how to create MEDIN metadata, only the standard was published • 10 staff over 20+ office locations were searched and data logged

    7. Natural England – the solutions

    8. Engaging with MEDIN • Whilst the audit was underway MEDIN started to publish more user friendly tools and guidance to enable users to create metadata both locally and online • At the same time a dedicated team in MEDIN were set up to help users with metadata queries • MEDIN were able to take in Natural England’s MESH metadata and upload it to the MEDIN metadata portal, enabling NE to see where the gaps were • The new online metadata portal makes it easier to generate metadata for new datasets • DASSH working with the SNCBs to better handle data entered into Marine Recorder

    9. Engaging with MEDIN – the Marine Conservation Zones project • As part of the identification process for the Marine Conservation Zones the four Regional Project teams gathered new data to support their recommendations • To ensure data is not lost at the end of the Regional Projects, NE, JNCC, Defra and the Regional Projects have sought support from MEDIN to ensure full metadata is created for all the datasets, and where allowed, pass the data to the relevant Data Archiving Centres • Having a complete archive of all the datasets used and publically accessible enable stakeholders to better understand the recommendations to Government in 2012 and will allow the datasets to be used again in further research

    10. Natural England – where next? • Delivery of data from the Regional Projects to DASSH • Programme to complete Natural England’s metadata listings to enable data to be lodged with DASSH, UKHO and BGS, and then lodge the data itself • Full utilisation of the services provided by MEDIN to enable others to access our data • Engaging with Defra and the UKHO to fulfil our obligations under INSPIRE • Move towards a more clear and open Data Licensing policy • More use of the MEDIN portal for data mining • Increasing the knowledge of the services provided by MEDIN within Natural England