Introduction and Overview
Baltic Sea Region GIS, Maps and Statistical Database

This Baltic Sea Region GIS, map and statistical database is a result of the Baltic Drainage Basin Project (BDBP). The BDBP was a multi-disciplinary research project under the EU 1991-1994 Environment Research Programme. The GIS database, mainly focusing upon land cover/land use and population, was developed as a joint effort between the Beijer Institute, Stockholm; the Department of Systems Ecology, Stockholm University; and UNEP/GRID-Arendal.  The database was used for analytical purposes during the BDBP. Following this, the GIS database was further refined and prepared for public dissemination. Concurrently, a number of maps in conventional graphical formats were prepared and included. The GIS and Maps database was first released in August 1995. Later, a number of statistical tables, also derived from the GIS database, were included. To give an understanding of the ways in which the GIS database has been used, within the BDBP and elsewhere, we have provided a list of documents that describe the database and its usage.

Time has shown that this database has become a most popular and pertinent environmental information resource about the transboundary Baltic Sea Region. Currently, the home page alone is being accessed close to 1,000 times each week. Besides professionals in the Baltic environmental community, many secondary- and college-level students and teachers are taking advantage of this resource.

For the remainder of this introductory page, a brief overview of the GIS data sets is given; these are the basis for the maps and statistics.

We welcome you to the database - and look forward to
hearing from you about your experiences in using it!

Available Data Sets

Administrative Units

The Administrative Units layer is a data set of county-level administrative regions, and in some cases, municipality-level administrative regions for all countries fully or partially located within the Baltic Sea drainage basin. Data was compiled and digitised from multiple sources with paper map scales ranging from 1:200,000 to 1:3,000,000. In addition, urban, rural, and total population statistics are provided for each administrative unit.

Arable Lands & Pasture Lands

Agricultural information is divided into two categories: Arable Lands and Pasture Lands. Each category exists as an independent data layer. If users are interested in calculating total agricultural land, simply add the two data layers, which were both generated using IDRISI software. The minimum resolution is a 10 km x 10 km square unit. The values associated with each unit are either percent total arable land or percent total pasture land within unit boundaries (i.e., a raster cell or a vector polygon).

Land and Ocean (Coastline)

The Land and Ocean (Coastline) data set was generated simply to provide users with an additional database layer that will enable them to extract additional information when used in conjunction with other data sets. The Land and Ocean (Coastline) data set is a subset of the PONET, Political and Oceans, data layer produced by ESRI and is part of the DCW database. Users can obtain detailed (1:1,000,000) coastline data for the Baltic Sea region.

Land Cover

The Land Cover data layer consists of six classes: Forest, Open Land, Open Water, Urban Land, Glacier, and Unknown Land, which is either Forest or Open Land. The Land Cover data set was generated from the Digital Chart of the World (DCW) with a scale of 1:1,000,000 and from the European Space Agency Remote Sensing Forest Map of Europe with a 1 km resolution. Most processing was done using IDRISI; the finest resolution that can be obtained is a 1 km x 1 km unit. PC ARC/INFO users can only obtain 5 km x 5 km resolution data due to a limitation on the number of arcs per polygon.

Population Density

The Population Density data set was derived by combining urban and rural population statistics with the Administrative Units and Land Cover IDRISI data sets, generated for the Baltic Sea Drainage Basin Project. Population statistics were collected at the smallest adminstrative unit possible: municipality. The final resolution provided is a 5 km x 5 km unit. Final statistics represent the number of inhabitants per square kilometer.

Sub-watershed Drainage Basins

The Sub-watershed Drainage Basins data set was generated from digitising 3 paper maps, each with an approximate scale of 1:5,000,000. There are a total of 81 sub-basins in total forming the seven major watersheds that define the Baltic Sea drainage area: Bothnian Bay, Bothnian Sea, Gulf of Finland, Gulf of Riga, Baltic Proper, Danish Straits, and the Kattegat. Also associated with each sub-basin are N and P loading estimates, percent land cover values, as well as urban, rural, and total population statistics.

Wetland Distribution

Wetland Distribution for the Baltic Sea region was derived from the association of regional wetland area statistics with locations represented in the DCW Land Cover data layer. Due to the quality of input statistics, we could only provide a final Wetland Distribution data layer with a resolution of 50 km by 50 km units. The values associated with each unit are percent total wetland area within unit boundaries (i.e., a raster cell or a vector polygon). We hope that people recognise the need for better wetlands information for the Baltic Sea regional area.

Last revised 10-Dec-97 by Sindre Langaas