Sea2Land Navigator – a tool that is being designed to assist MSP planners

Baltic Environmental Forum is part of an Interreg Baltic Sea Region project Baltic Sea2Land for over a year now. The project focuses on Sustainable Blue Economy related challenges which have to be reviewed on multiple planning scales – from conflicts between locals and tourists to finding solutions for a coordinated transnational MSP approach in the Baltic Sea region. The main solution that the project will produce is the Sea2Land Navigator – a digital tool that will assist MSP and coastal planners in their daily challenges. Why planners and other specialists who work with topics like land-sea interactions, maritime or coastal planning might find the Sea2Land Navigator relevant when dealing with various planning challenges? Find out by reading this article! 

The challenging task of navigating the complexities of MSP 

Meet Maria, a planner tasked with developing a maritime spatial plan that will manage the uses of her country’s sea area. She is thrilled because Maritime spatial planning (MSP) has a huge beneficial potential for enhancing the environment, economy, and society. She wonders if it is possible to optimize the use of the sea for endeavors such as wind farms, aquaculture, or nature protection in a sustainable manner. 

The answer is a resounding yes, but it is far from simple. Among the myriad challenges she faces, one is to balance the interests of the several sectors involved. Do they have common or contradictory objectives? Additionally, there is the issue of how to involve all stakeholders. How can she identify and engage them in the process? Also, how to find the relevant datasets and documents that are scattered all over the Internet? She believes it would be useful to have a tool to address these challenges. Because maintaining the status quo is not an option. The problems are so complex that she needs guidance. After all, she’s aware that the consequences of poor maritime and coastal planning can be detrimental to the environment, economic development, and society. 

Luckily, Baltic Sea2Land is working on a solution that will allow planners like Maria to solve those problems: the Sea2Land Navigator.  

Meet the Sea2Land Navigator, a tool designed to assist planners! 


The Sea2Land Navigator will help Maria answering questions related to multi-level governance and land-sea interactions, for example: 

  • How to frame the planning problems and think critically about it? 
  • Where are the right stakeholders for my plan and how to engage them? 
  • What data and information are already available and where can I find it (local, regional, national and international level)? 

The Sea2Land Navigator is an online interactive tool currently under development, set to be released at the end of the project. It comprises three main components: 


The Multi-Level Governance Tool:  

The Multi-Level Governance Tool (MLG) Tool is one of three Navigator platform puzzle pieces. This feature will assist planners like Maria in addressing her planning questions. On its own, it is designed to Navigate planners through the complex mission of cross-sector, cross-level collaboration in maritime and coastal planning. The MLG Tool gives advice and suggestions for planning activities that open the planning process to diverse and thoughtful stakeholder participation at every step of the planning process. We believe that stakeholders ranging from international level institutions to local communities hold unique perspectives, ideas, and information. At the same time, we also know how resource intensive it can be to hear out everyone. Therefore, the tool will include various ideas how to invite these stakeholders to share their valuable insights and then to employ their inputs  in a balanced and thoughtful manner. Also, the MLG Tool can be used by a single planner or by a whole team to decide what to do next, how to do it and why it should be done in a specific way! 

The Data Hub:  

Data is the backbone of almost every maritime and coastal spatial planning task. However, locating the necessary datasets that are already available often turns out to be a challenging task — so many data holders and webpages out there!  

The Data Hub will serve as a repository of data, including geographical and economic data among others to assist acquiring the required data, starting from local to regional, national and even international levels. The Data Hub will be linked to the MLG Tool as we believe it is crucial to place any MLG Tool user in the right spatial and data context by allowing them to view relevant maps and statistics.  

 The Knowledge Hub:  

Finally, the third puzzle piece of the Sea2Land Navigator — the Knowledge Hub — will host a variety of documents, best practices and methods related to MSP. This feature will help planners like Maria in such tasks as exploring practical methods that might be useful for her tasks, broadening knowledge on MSP related issues, as well as aid the task of locating the relevant documents easier. The Knowledge hub will be linked with the MLG Tool. The MLG Tool will offer hints and links as to what studies, methods and tools, documents or valuable practices planners should further explore in the Knowledge Hub.  

In summary, the Navigator promises to be an indispensable decision-making tool for Maria and all planners grappling with complex maritime and coastal planning challenges, offering effective solutions to their complex planning issues.

Follow Baltic Sea2Land updates on project’s website!