Marine Cartography - Working Group

Marine Cartography

6103.1 - Maritime Zones Delimitation – Problems and Solutions

Thursday, July 6
8:30 AM - 8:50 AM
Location: Virginia A

The delimitation of maritime zones and boundaries foreseen by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) is a factor of economic growth, effective management of the coastal and ocean environment and the cornerstone for maritime spatial planning. Maritime boundaries form the outermost limits of coastal states and their accurate delineation and cartographic portrayal is a matter of national priority. Although UNCLOS is a legal document, its implementation –at first place- is purely technical and requires –amongst others- theoretical and applied background on geodesy, cartography and geographic information systems for those involved.
According to UNCLOS provisions, the reference where from the maritime zones are measured, are the baselines demarcating land territory and internal waters from the sea as they are portrayed on large-scale charts officially recognized by the coastal states involved. This requirement in itself poses a number of questions as to how a base line is defined with respect to the configuration of the coast line, and the position of the coast line itself and whether there are special types of baselines like bay-closing lines and the way they are delineated.
Upon completion of the definition of the reference lines, the delineation of the maritime zones and boundaries should be implemented. The variety of the zones stipulated by UNCLOS and their respective distances from the reference lines but mainly the multitude of geographic configurations of the adjacent states involved, raise a number of problems that must be addressed. These problems relate to the reference surface that must be used for the delineation, the methodology that should be followed and its accuracy and finally the cartographic characteristics of the chart (projection, scale…) the resulting lines/zones/boundaries will be portrayed on.
Until recently the delimitation process was done manually or semi-manually on paper charts. Given that digital technology and its geographic applications enable those involved to utilize their functionality, it is obvious that the solutions to the above mentioned problems should be carried out in a digital environment. This in general will: a. speed up the process, b. give accurate results and c. lead to the building of a worldwide coverage database of maritime zones and boundaries that is an additional requirement at the level of the United Nations. The evaluation of the existing commercial software solutions shows that the delineation of bay-closing lines and the delimitation of maritime zones and boundaries constitute complicated and time consuming tasks that require the constant user intervention in a number of stages.
This paper will identify the problems inherent in the maritime delimitation and will present solutions that will facilitate the cartographer’s work and lead to unquestionable results. Furthermore, it will become evident that the role of the cartographer and the GIS expert is critical for the successful implementation of maritime delimitation.

Lysandros Tsoulos

Professor of Cartography
National Technical University of Athens

Lysandros Tsoulos is professor of Cartography at the Department of Surveying Engineering - National Technical University of Athens [NTUA] (1992-2016). He holds a degree in Surveying engineering from the University of Thessalonica (1972) and a Ph.D. in Cartography from the NTUA (1989). In 1975 he joined the Hellenic Navy Hydrographic Service [HNHS] where he worked for 17 years (Directorate of Cartography and the HNHS Computing Center). In 1992 he was elected member of the faculty at the School of Surveying Engineering - NTUA. Until September 2016 he was director of the NTUA Geomatics Center and the Cartography Laboratory. He has coordinated and managed a number of National and EU research projects. He is the author/co-author of 170 research papers on Digital Mapping and Geographic Information Science published in journals or presented in Conferences. His research interests include cartographic design, composition and generalization, expert systems in cartography, GIS, digital atlases, data and map quality issues and spatial data standards. He teaches Cartography and GIS courses at undergraduate and graduate levels and supervises a number of Masters and Ph.D. theses/dissertations. He is reviewer of papers submitted to international scientific journals and project-research proposals. He is member of the council of the Hellenic Cartographic Society and member of national and international scientific committees [International Board of Standards of Competence for Hydrographic Surveyors and Nautical Cartographers, Technical Chamber of Greece, etc.].


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Christos Kastrisios

Geospatial Policy and International Affairs Office
Hellenic Navy Hydrographic Service

Lieutenant Commander in the Hellenic Navy. He has served on board submarines and, since 2008, at the Hellenic Navy Hydrographic Service in various posts, including that of the deputy director of Hydrography Division and the Head of the Geospatial Policy and International Affairs Office. He is member of IHO working groups and national and international geospatial societies. He holds a Master’s degree in GIS from the University of Maryland, College Park. Since 2014, he pursues his PhD in Cartography at the National Technical University of Athens and lectures at undergraduate and graduate level.


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Ron Furness

Regional Representative Nautical Cartographer
IIC Technologies Inc.

Presently represents IIC Technologies in Australia and SW Pacific. His long career in nautical cartography commenced in 1960 at the UKHO. From 1965 he worked in the Australian Hydrographic Office from where he ‘retired’ in 2002. He has been a long-serving member of the FIG/IHO/ICA International Board on Standards of Competence for Hydrographic Surveyors and Nautical Cartographers. He has served as the Chair of the then ICA Commission on Marine Cartography. His interest in bringing nautical cartography to the fore within ICA has seen him take on the position of Chair of the present ICA Working Group on Marine Cartography.


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6103.1 - Maritime Zones Delimitation – Problems and Solutions


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