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The ICZM process must be supported with a range of methods, tools and techniques. These  instruments will give the people who are doing ICZM the information they need and helps them taking decisions. Some of these instruments are useful during all stages, others are advantageous in specific stages only. An overview is given in the figure below. We distinguish the following broad classes of useful methods, tools and techniques:
  • policy analysis
  • data management/GIS
  • data collection/Remote Sensing
  • evaluation and assessment techniques
  • policy tools

Policy analysis

Policy analysis is a methodology to assist policymakers in searching for a solution for complex problems involving social issues and non comparable values.  It is applied during the first stages of the starting up of an ICZM program (Initiation - Planning). The Policy Analysis methodology describes the search for a solution in a number of steps starting with a problem analysis and ending with ranking alternative developments for a specific project. More information on Policy Analysis can be found in the CoastLearn module.

During the period 2007-2009 is completed Dutch-Bulgarian project PPA06/BG/7/3 "Development of a vision and strategy for Integrated Coastal Zone Management in Bulgaria" ("My Coast" project). The project aims to bring out the main objectives and guidelines for achieving integrated management. The project ends with the following results:

  • Black sea coast visions for Dobrich, Strandja, Burgas and Varna
  • 3 management plans:  Regional ICZM Spatial Scheme for Dobrich; Masterplan Start up Vision for Burgas and a projects identification for Strandja.
  • Recommendation on Integrated Maritime Spatial Planning for Varna in the framework of the Maritime Framework Directive (the pilot in Varna was not developed into a management plan due to lack of co-operation from the main stakeholders).

In practice, the main objective of the project was not realized - a Strategy for ICZM of the Black Sea coast is not elaborated, and it’s not established a governance structure for implementing the strategy.

Data Management/GIS

The database is the backbone of ICZM.  Often, the database is the medium through which managers and scientists communicate. Scientists put their data in the system (e.g., time series) and the database expert retrieves it in the format the manager understands (e.g., graphs and maps).  It is the place were different types of information come together, especially information from nature sciences and economy

The design of the database must be carefully planned to suite the needs of an ICZM program. Central questions for the design are: What basic and applied types of data are needed?, and how can the information derived from these data be presented in its most useful form? For spatial planning purposes, including coastal zone management, it may be useful to organize the information in geographical units corresponding to the reality. Within each unit, four basic types of information can be defined: social, economical, spatial and environmental

As much information involved in ICZM (but not all) is spatial, i.e., has x and y co-ordinates attached to it, a Geographical Information System (GIS) will be an integral part of the database management system.  A GIS is a computer program especially designed to store, process and display spatial data.  Basically, they come in two types, raster and vector based systems. The raster systems have the advantage that they can handle remotely sensed data very well. Read more on GIS in the CoastLearn module

Because GIS tend to become more and more user-friendly and easily output nice graphs and maps, users should be aware of the axiom: "rubbish in, rubbish out". This means that the quality of the output of a database depends on the quality of the input. For example, with only three measuring points a nice detailed interpolated map could be constructed suggesting a dense and accurate sampling network. Thus, standards for data quality must be formulated and stored with the data itself

Sandy beach – Romanian Black Sea Coast (photo C. Coman)

Data Collection/Remote Sensing

Remote sensing, i.e., observing from a distance, is a technique applied to gather large amounts of spatial data over large areas. A remote sensing system consists of a sensor which is sensitive to reflected light or sound waves and a computer which regularly reads the response of the sensors and stores it. The sensor is mounted to a fixed frame or a moving object so that it has a view of the area of interest. Examples are a digital camera mounted to a pole to monitor the morphology of the beach (ARGUS), an aeroplane based laser system to measure the altitude of the surface (LIDAR), or an array of sensors mounted to a satellite in an orbit around the earth to monitor land-use (Thematic Mapper). Also underwater applications exist, like the multibeam sounder to make bathymetric maps. The following data types may be collected with a remote sensing system: altitude, bathymetry, morphology, land use and vegetation cover. These data might help to monitor processes like cliff erosion, land use changes, urban development and the change of natural vegetation patterns. The NASA has a useful learner on the internet