The African Coastal and Marine Atlas (www.africanmarineatlas.net) was initiated as a continental-scale online resource of public-domain geospatial data. The project was designed to identify, collect and organize data sets into an atlas of biophysical themes, including: basemaps, geosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, biosphere and the human and built environment.
A second aim was to provide training to increase the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and spatial data products for the dissemination of appropriate, timely and relevant information. The inventory of data sets in the atlas is also a useful indicator of gaps, either in the knowledge base or the availability of the data in the public domain. The Coastal and Marine Atlases currently have more than 3,500 maps for different features from the coastal areas of 20 countries.
Five regional atlases have also been developed for the Large Marine Ecosystem regions as follows: Agulhas and Somali Current, Benguela Current, Canary Current, Guinea Current, and the Mediterranean and Red Sea regions. The national and regional atlases can be accessed at: www.africanmarineatlas.org , while the related metadata is available at: http://geonetwork.iode.org/geonetworkAMA/. The initial continental maps and data sets can be accessed at: http://omap.africanmarineatlas.org
What is AMA?
The purpose of the African Marine Atlas (AMA) is to identify, collect and organize available geospatial datasets into an atlas of environmental themes for Africa, under the sponsorship of the ODINAFRICA Project of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission's (IOC) International Oceanographic Data and Information Exchange (IODE) Programme. The African Marine Atlas will include and involve a number of other geo-spatial data projects on and around the African continent.
At the present time, the majority of the data layers in the African Marine Atlas are continental-scale, but the structure of this interface already allows for the inclusions of national- and local-scale layers. All the African Marine Atlas datasets, images and grids use the standard GIS mapping convention of signed decimal degrees, with longitudes ranging from -180 to +180 (i.e. not 0 to 360). No data are projected, and as far as can be determined all data products are provided in "geographic coordinates" using the WGS84 Datum, in absence of other information. Seasonal references in the datasets refer to the northern (boreal) seasons (i.e. winter ranges from January to March), unless otherwise stated.
How to use the African Marine Atlas data?
The African Marine Atlas is comprised of easily downloadable data on various key themes relevant to the marine and coastal environment of Africa. The download data sets can be used in many geographical information systems, including the most common commercial and public domain systems. AMA also contains dataset descriptions and links to the original publisher and/or current source of the data, and links to pertinent metadata records, when available. This atlas is intended both to provide necessary datasets directly to concerned scientists, and to set the stage for the development of decision-makers' toolkits that rely on geospatial information
CONTINENT-SCALE DATA LAYERS - These layers cover the complete the Atlas area of interest, defined by the latitude zone from +40 degrees in the north to -50 degrees in the south; and from -30 degrees in the west to +80 degrees in the east. You can go directly to the image and datasets galleries by clicking on links in the menu at the left.
NATIONAL- AND LOCAL-SCALE DATA LAYERS - These layers cover specific States (or perhaps small groups of States) along the coast of Africa. This part of the Atlas is still being collected and organized. Many of the specific themes that will be included here will only be provided as "virtual" datasets (see below)
VIRTUAL DATA LAYERS - These layers are not provided here as datasets that you can download. They are provided as links to online web map servers (WMS), web feature servers (WFS) or web coverage servers (WCS) that provide dynamically produced images (or in some cases their antecedent GIS data) to include in your maps. If you use these themes, then you can combine them with datasets provided here, using methods we will outline in this section.