Developing intensity data layers for the RYA Coastal Atlas

Helping RYA update and maintain standards for representing recreational boating activity in UK waters

The UK Coastal Atlas of Recreational Boating is an online GIS dataset of recreational boating activity around the UK, comprising spatial data including indicators of intensity of use and general boating areas, as well as the locations of clubs, training centres and marinas.

An important tool for the Royal Yachting Association (RYA), the Atlas aids the representation of recreational boating interests. It is used to help identify and protect areas of importance to recreational boaters, to inform responses to development proposals and in discussions about navigational safety.

The RYA commissioned ABPmer to update the digital map of Recreational Boating Intensity held in the Atlas. We developed maps of creational boating activity and intensity between 2015 and 2019, to update and maintain standards for representing recreational boating activity in UK waters in planning and licensing applications.

To develop the maps, we used the MMO AIS data product, which is processed by ABPmer using data provided by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. The anonymised data has 13 attributes including:

  • Transit start and finish date and time
  • Ship type group
  • Ship length, width and draught
  • Transit length
  • Position density

We also explored how additional data could be incorporated into the Atlas, to help the RYA expand the capabilities of the Atlas so it is of wider benefit to those operating in the marine environment.

The maps will support the latest update to the Atlas, available from the end of 2021.

ABPmer’s data and GIS specialists are experienced marine data handlers, developing bespoke GIS mapping and data management tools for governing bodies, the public sector and marine and coastal operators.